Synthesis of Nuclear and Aerospace Engineering Projects at ORNL

Mike Smith

Synthesis of Nuclear and Aerospace Engineering Projects at ORNL

What do synthesized radionuclides on Mars, highly energetic charged particles from supernovae, exotic rocket propulsion, and East Tennessee have to do with each another?  They represent an exciting synthesis of nuclear engineering and aerospace disciplines called Nuclear Space Sciences (NSS) that are actively investigated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  Attendees can expect an overview of certain ORNL projects in NSS with a direct focus on the speaker’s recent and current work with radioisotope power systems, space radiation, and nuclear thermal propulsion.  Join us to see a small portion of how studying and exploring our universe through the lens of nuclear engineering is happening in your backyard. 

Michael B. R. Smith received his BS in Nuclear Engineering with a concentration in Radiological Nuclear Engineering from The University of Tennessee in 2016 and a MS in Nuclear Engineering in 2017. He has been involved in various research projects throughout this time covering topics such as nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), space radiation phenomena, and radioisotope power systems (RPSs).  He currently works as a staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division where he serves on multiple space-related and NASA-funded projects.  Prior to his transition to nuclear engineering, Michael worked in the maritime industry from 2001-2016 in various capacities as a commercial diver, boat captain, and manned submersible pilot.