Scott Karn, Brush High School class of 2014, Aerospace Engineer at NASA

Scott Karn in front of a NASA rocket test stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi

Not many people can say that they are living their childhood dreams. Scott Karn, Brush High School Class of 2014, is surely living his.  Karn is part of the Mission Design team for the Gateway lunar space station. Under NASA’s Artemis program, Gateway will serve as an orbiting outpost as part of the agency’s return to the Moon. Working out of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Karn, an aerospace engineer, is looking forward to the proposed 2024 launch of the new space station.  “Gateway will not only be the first lunar space station, but also a capable exploration vehicle in its own right. This will be an unprecedented mission and an important stepping stone in the long road to human exploration of Mars and beyond”, said Karn.

Karn and his colleagues recently published a paper on the project entitled, “Analysis of Cislunar Transfers Departing from a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit Using Solar Electric Propulsion”-a subject so complicated that most lay people have trouble understanding it. Karn credits his teachers at SEL for helping him communicate complicated scientific information in a way that people can understand. “Orbital mechanics can be hard to understand even for the majority of engineers at NASA. Most of my job now is taking the complex mathematics and distilling that into a story that everyone can understand.   Being able to write well and being able to tell a story has been incredibly helpful. Many engineers are great students but can’t communicate effectively. The good communicators are the ones that tend to excel. The entire English and History departments at Brush did an exceptional job at teaching students how to communicate well”, explained Karn.

Karn’s interest in space exploration began in childhood as he watched coverage about the construction of International Space Station.  Participation in the Brush Robotics Club helped support his budding interest.

Karn recalls that Mr. Mikes, his physics teacher at Brush, went through the school’s archives, locating some literature on space exploration published in the 1960s to help foster Karn’s interest in the topic. Karn is a 2018 Case Western Reserve University graduate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering at Case and is scheduled to graduate this December.  “A lot of students at Case graduated from nationally ranked high schools from around the country. I always took a lot of pride in the fact that SEL didn’t just prepare me to keep up with these students, but also outperform them in the classroom. I found that SEL Schools prepared me very well for success at college and beyond. The space exploration business is a human cultural endeavor and having that diverse cultural background that my time at SEL provided, has been helpful. The Gateway project has collaborators from all over the world. The experience I had at SEL, working alongside many diverse groups of people, provided an important foundation”, said Karn.

Karn looks forward to a future continuing to do what he loves best. “Everyday I get to work on problems that have never been solved before and it is very exciting to be a part of the next chapter in human space exploration.”

To read Karn’s recent paper click here.

Short videos on the Artemis program and Gateway can be found here and here.

“A lot of students at Case graduated from nationally ranked high schools from around the country. I always took a lot of pride in the fact that SEL didn’t just prepare me to keep up with these students, but also outperform them in the classroom.”–Scott Karn

Space and Rocket Center near NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama

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