Lyle Frank

2013 BSc(Hons) Mechatronics

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Aerospace fascinated GCU graduate Lyle Frank growing up and is now proud to work with NASA on the rocket that will take the first woman to the moon in 2024.

He also worked on the upper stage engines for the Atlas Rocket that sent the Perseverance rover to Mars, which successfully landed on Thursday, February 18 2021.

Lyle always knew he wanted to pursue a career in engineering. In school, he noticed GCU’s Mechatronics course and applied the next day.

“The BSc Mechatronics course offered an extremely good working practical knowledge and theory of electrical, mechanical and control engineering. This meant I was able to apply to a wide range of internships and entry-level jobs once that time came.”

He was accepted into an internship program at D.C Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman, MI, USA, while he was between the third and fourth years of his undergraduate degree. Upon graduating, he was offered a full-time position there.

Now he has come a long way and is the senior engineer at Aerojet Rocketdyne, serving customers such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and many more.

Working on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) is an incredible experience, he said.

This is the second stage of the rocket for the Artemis Mission that will carry the first woman to the moon in 2024 and eventually the first astronauts to Mars.

“To be able to work on the most anticipated rocket man has set out to build is humbling, to say the least.

“Working with NASA also provided me with the opportunity to put a face to the name. For some reason, when I walked into the NASA office buildings, I expected everyone there to know everything about everything, so it was fairly frightening when I had to stand up and present findings on my analysis. What I quickly discovered is that those at NASA are equally as passionate as I am about aerospace. This showed me that our mutual, sort of shared geeky passion is the secret sauce to the success of the missions set out to accomplish.”

He resides in Florida, USA with his wife Allie and two sons Gabriel and Logan and has had his fair share of challenges.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know what we’re bad at until we learn it on the spot; at least that has been the case for me,” he said.

He added: “In my first job, I never had to present anything…ever. However, when I moved to Aerojet Rocketdyne, I found myself creating and presenting slides I had to present to what seemed like a sea of U.S Airforce Colonels and senior staff. It wasn’t my finest moment. From that point on, I signed up for as many public speaking events as I could, attended as many reviews as I could where I would force myself to ask or answer a question.

“The moral of the story is the quickest and most effective way to overcome a weakness or challenge is to confront it as many times as needed until you are the person people come to for advice on how to, in my case, create and give a presentation. The same can be said for your studies.”

He hopes governments and societies realise the need for exploring our solar system and what it has to offer.

“It is relevant to argue that there are more pressing needs on earth more deserving of the vast resources it requires for space travel. However, if we don’t give it the focus it deserves, realising the potentially life-saving technology advancements which would benefit humanity as a whole would be delayed or missed entirely.”

He added: “I owe a great deal of my success to GCU and the efforts certain professors made to push us to truly understand the material. I am proud to be an alumnus of GCU. I would encourage anyone wanting to pursue engineering to consider walking the halls of GCU as their first step in chasing your dream career. It certainly was the start that led me to mine.”  

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