Erika DeBenedictis, 18, of Albuquerque, N.M., with her project developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system.
Debenedictics is talking to the Boeing Company with the hopes of running her software on their equipment, to see how satellites and other spacecraft would react to its station keeping methods. Instead of an astronaut, she now wants to be an aerospace engineer so she can continue her research and make low-energy orbits a reality.
“Nobody is funding low-energy orbits right now, but [scientists] think this is a cool area that hasn’t been figured out yet,” she said. “This is a good time for me to be around.”