November 10, 2017 – Lockheed Martin and Colorado School of Mines have partnered in a unique opportunity for software engineering students. The Lockheed Martin Software Academy, which just completed the pilot program, selects a handful of students from Mines who commit to the rigors of an actual position at Lockheed Martin, while getting paid and receiving school credit.
Students spend their spring semester at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton working on Orion, NASA’s first spacecraft designed for long-duration, human-related deep space exploration, in system and software optimization jobs, focusing on EM-2 (Exploration Mission 2), but also working to improve EM-1 (Exploration Mission 1). Upon completion of spring semester working remotely on the Mines campus, students enter the Lockheed Martin’s 12-week summer internship program. At the end of the summer, they produce a report to show the improvements of performance, successes, challenges, and the end results.
After completing the pilot program earlier this year, Mines and Lockheed Martin signed a formal agreement. Lockheed Martin Software Academy seed money covers a Lockheed Martin lab and conference room at the university and Lockheed Martin mentoring for Mines students during the program.
Qualified and well-trained software engineers are in high demand, particularly for the next phase of Orion. Mines can provide a pipeline of this niche skillset to fill these positions. There is tremendous growth in the aerospace industry, particularly with Colorado being second per capita in the nation for aerospace. Almost seven percent of Mines students go into aerospace post-graduation, and Lockheed Martin hopes to benefit from that statistic.
“Lockheed Martin has provided our students with an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in an area that their passions lie in. As faculty, we are excited to see our students’ work put into production and used in real world applications,” said Jeff Paone, faculty advisor for the program and associate professor of computer science at Mines.
Computer science student, Izaak Sulka said, “When I was younger, I always expected that working on a space program would be exciting, although I never really imagined that I could be involved in one. While working on Orion, I’ve learned much more than I thought possible about software and software development. Younger me was right about half the time – it is beyond exciting.”