SpaceOPs NZ engineer NASA internship recipient

23 Jul 2024

CAPTION: Axl Rogers, third from right, is one of six recipients of the 2024 New Zealand Space Scholarship, along with Narottam Royal and Alexandra McKendry (University of Canterbury), Tait Francis (University of Otago), and Grace Jacobs Corban and Faun Watson (Victoria University of Wellington).

SpaceOps NZ staff member Axl Rogers is one of six New Zealand tertiary students selected to work on NASA projects in the US through a New Zealand Space Scholarship.

These post-graduate students will work on space-related projects guided by NASA Ames Research Center and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory mentors, gaining hands-on experience in their fields of study and access to NASA’s best and most advanced research facilities.

Axl is nearing completion of his PhD in Astrophysics at the Auckland University of Technology and works part-time at SpaceOps NZ’s Warkworth Space Centre, north of Auckland.

During his internship Axl will work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team that is using Delta Differential One-way Ranging technique to determine spacecraft position. This is directly applicable to the work he will be doing at the Warkworth Space Centre when it begins supporting deep space missions later this year.

SpaceOps NZ CEO Robin McNeill is thrilled that Axl has been chosen as a NASA intern.

“This is a life-changing opportunity for Axl, and what he learns from the guys at JPL will be hugely useful when we start communicating with their interplanetary spacecraft later this year.

“I also like to think Axl will be seen as a role model within Nga Puhi, and can inspire Māori youth everywhere to also touch space—that would be very cool. ”

Axl is excited for what’s ahead.

"Joining NASA seemed like an impossible dream, now it’s an imminent reality. I'm excited for the incredible journey ahead!"

New Zealand has a strong, collaborative partnership with NASA, which continues to offer opportunities for space science, technology and cooperation.

The 3-month internship will begin in June.