NASA, like all other organizations, has many departments that function individually to accomplish the overall mission of the organization. Similarly, Cyclone Space Mining has “departments” which focus on different areas of the NASA Robotic Mining Competition (RMC).
While NASA has many, many more departments than our team will ever have; Cyclone Space Mining is set up to run as closely to NASA as we possibly can. Within our club we have R&D (Research and Development), Controls, Mechanical, Outreach, Public Relations, and Sponsorship teams. NASA also focuses on those areas, but on a much larger scale.
Our R&D team’s main focus is to come up with new and innovative ideas for future RMCs. Currently, they are working are plans for the 2017 RMC with plans to look even farther into the future. NASA constantly is conducting research and development for future missions.
The Controls and Mechanical teams work separately but communicate constantly to design and manufacture a robot that is able to operate autonomously. The project managers and the controls lead are essential to the success of the production of the robot. Without the leadership and communication between those individuals the robot would not run. Obviously, the designing and manufacturing of rovers, rockets, etc. requires hundreds of engineers of many different disciplines.
Outreach’s main goal is to promote STEM involvement in K-12 students. This year the outreach team has planned more than 30 individual events and reached at least 4,000 kids. NASA’s outreach has a much wider intended audience, and even includes our team. The NASA RMC is a huge outreach event which encourages college students to innovate and engineer.
The Public Relations team within the club not only runs the teams social media but works with media outlets covering the club, designs promotional material for the organization, and creates a spirit plan for the competition. NASA has a very successful PR team which reaches out to media outlets, runs various social media outlets, and works to maintain their public image.
Finally, our sponsorship team is very similar to the business component of NASA. The sponsorship team reaches out to various engineering companies for funding and materials. Having funding is essential to the success of the club. NASA also works with the government to receive funding. Both our team and NASA must show our sponsors (the government, in NASA’s case) what we are going to do with their funding.
Modeling our team after NASA has greatly increased the productivity of our team. It also allows team members to diversify their portfolio by working on non-engineering parts of the club in addition to the engineering parts of the organization.