Zachary Dixon stands next to recently fired PAC-2 Rocket Motor
Zachary Dixon stands next to a recently fired FMS PATRIOT Advanced Capability-2 Rocket Motor at Redstone Test Center TA-5. Test data was gathered for an FMS customer to determine if the motor was still in usable life mode.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Hundreds of high school and college students spend their summers working on Redstone; it is a great way to earn money and gain experience.

For one of these students, recognized by the University of Tennessee Knoxville as a top graduate in 2010, it was an awesome 2nd summer at AMRDEC that had him jumping.

Zachary Dixon, an Aerospace Engineer who is continuing his education in Mechanical Engineering at UT Knoxville, worked at the AMRDEC in the Reliability and Maintainability Engineering and Systems Assessment Division of the Engineering Directorate.

Dixon's internship was created from a partnership with industry, government organizations and the Reliability and Maintainability Center within the College of Engineering at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Interns are placed with RMC members; AMRDEC is one of the many members.

He definitely felt that his internship with the AMRDEC was a worthwhile effort and highly recommends it to his fellow students.

"Awesome experience; if you chose to take this position, come in ready to work and do not be afraid to ask questions or contribute. I was able to jump into projects almost immediately and have not experienced much down time. The work environment is the best that I have found yet," said Dixon.

While interning with Team ED, Dixon's workload was focused on the lifecycle of missiles.

"This summer, I worked on compiling scoring records and generating a reliability estimate of the missile system for one of the FMS [Foreign Military Sales] customers. I compiled a missile component inventory for the purpose of determining what components were still useable and needed to be kept as spares or test assets and which components had exceeded their useful life and needed to be discarded.

"I have also been able to get involved in some design/system improvement projects for various missile systems," said Dixon.

Part of a missile's lifecycle is being fired. Ultimately, when a Soldier needs a missile to engage a target that missile needs to be ready wherever and whenever it is deployed.

"Also, I had the opportunity to witness rocket motor static firings and see how the sensor readings gathered during the firings were used to determine if the motors were still in their usable life phase," said Dixon.

The internship through RMC and AMRDEC challenged Dixon to do his best and gave him opportunities and a rare insight.

"This internship has provided me with the opportunity improve my ability to jump into a system, new to me, and gain an understanding of its operation to the point that within a relatively short time I have been able to contribute to the operation and actually understand the what and why behind various activities related to the system.

"In short, I believe that this summer really provided me with a glimpse into what my future career will look like and how I should structure my effort early in my career so as to make the most of it," said Dixon.

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Page last updated Thu August 19th, 2010 at 16:40