John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Brown Bag Seminar Series to Feature Brittany Zimmerman on Nov. 4th

The fall semester Brown Bag Seminar Series features graduate students providing presentations on their current research and recent internships.  This series continues on Wednesday, November 4th, featuring grad student Brittany Zimmerman presenting Development of Optimized Life Support Structure for Long-Duration Exploratory Space Missions.

This series of presentations will be held in the Space Studies Library at noon.  Lunch will be served.  All funded grad students are expected to attend.

About the topic:  Regeneration of life support commodities (breathable air, drinking water, and food) is the most critical element of any long-duration manned space mission architecture.  In this presentation different scenarios of manned space mission life support will be considered which include the major categories for optimized design. Preliminary analysis will be provided for missions based on the “re-supply”, “physical-chemical regeneration”, “bio-regenerative”, and “bio-regenerative In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)” approaches in order to achieve minimum use of costly re-supply missions, maximum possible efficiency for recycling of primary life support commodities, and maximum possible self-sufficiency to crewmembers on remote outposts. Important limitations will be identified for missions of different durations and levels of technological progress needed for artificial environments.

About the presenter:  Brittany Zimmerman received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Milwaukee School Of Engineering (MSOE) in 2011.  During her time at MSOE she was involved in numerous extracurricular clubs and sports including Crew, Ultimate Frisbee, and the Student Union Board. During each school year, Brittany tutored inner-city elementary students in mathematics, sciences, and reading skills in an afterschool teaching program.  Additionally, she worked as a teaching assistant for an English professor at a neighboring college.  For the summer of 2008, she accepted an internship at Rockwell Automation where she performed material science experiments, data collection, fastener standardizations, and mechanical test reports.  Between 2009 and 2011, Brittany supported customer product selection and design as an Applications Engineer for IEWC.


Following graduation, she took a position as an Aerospace Systems Engineer with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Brittany was part of the Systems and Integration Team for Proline Fusion avionics packages.  She worked on integration of approximately 170 subsystems, brought up test rigs (fully-functioning replicas of Bombardier cockpits) , and emerged as the Physical Interconnect Focal.  Her responsibilities also included design and review of the physical architecture, industry-required testing of both hardware and software, building the network configuration logic, and troubleshooting integration system tests. Furthermore, Brittany was tasked with bringing up a remote integration team in Hyderabad, India which she trained and mentored until assimilated. During her time at Rockwell, Brittany was on the board for the Latino Employee Network and organized cultural events for the community. She also volunteered in STEM educational outreach, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and was a judge in the local science fairs.  Brittany was an active member in the local amateur astronomy club, hosting events to connect the community to space. It was while at Rockwell that Brittany entered the Space Studies Master’s program at UND. After taking three classes remotely and coming on campus for orientation, she realized that she needed to be immersed in the campus environment, and she left Rockwell to pursue her love of space full-time.

Brittany is currently finalizing her thesis topic through literature review in ecology of closed environments and biospherics. On campus she works as a research assistant for Dr. Pablo de León and Dr. Vadim Rygalov helping to develop the greenhouse module for the Inflatable Lunar/Martian Habitat. She serves as vice president of the Dakota Space Studies student group through which she engages students and members of the community in science and space. Brittany is also the Technical Team Lead for the NASA Student Launch Competition for which she helps design and build a rocket to be launched in April 2016 in Huntsville, Alabama.

For information on the Brown Bag Seminar Series, please contact Space Studies faculty member Dr. Vadim Rygalov.