About Glenn Research Center Rocket U

Rocket University (RU) Rocket University (“Rocket U” or “RU”) is a NASA training and development effort designed to develop and maintain systems engineering and project management skills and technical expertise through coursework, hands-on applications, and practice. APPEL has served as a key partner with NASA’s Rocket U program as part of its commitment to hands-on training and development for the NASA workforce.

In November 2013, Glenn Research Center (GRC) launched its pilot Rocket University program. Designed to train early-career Glenn employees through hands-on experience with the full lifecycle of a flight project, the program seeks to develop the next-generation workforce as they transition into higher-profile projects.

Utilizing a combination of APPEL courses, center-based courses, subject matter experts, applied laboratories, and mentoring, Rocket U participants have had the opportunity to gain technical knowledge and experience on a cross-functional project team in a low-risk, low-cost environment. As Rocket U participants progress through project design, testing, fabrication, implementation, and capturing lessons learned, they develop a foundation for basic project planning skills and an awareness of safety and quality assurance practices.

Glenn’s Rocket U seeks to address advanced training on product engineering, systems engineering, project management and to foster a culture of innovation, creativity, and learning to enable its workforce to achieve mission success.

Participation Program Components Contact Us



Glenn Research Center’s Rocket University applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • Term or permanent civil servant
  • GS 7 – 13
  • Assigned to a scientific/research, engineering, technical, or project management position

Applications are reviewed by a center Human Resource Panel, comprised of leadership from each of the center directorates.

Mentoring plays a significant role in the success of the Rocket U program and participant experience. If you are interested in participating as a mentor, please contact GRC Rocket U Technical Lead Paul Bartolotta.

Program Components

The Glenn Rocket U program consists of four main components: Systems Engineering & Safety Core, Technical Core, Technical Electives, and Projects.

The Systems Engineering & Safety Core consists of courses offered through APPEL, Glenn, and the NASA Safety Center (NSC).

The Technical Core addresses avionics/embedded systems, flight structures, fundamentals, and propulsion and power.

Avionics/Embedded Systems

  • Microcontrollers
  • Inertia Navigation
  • Embedded Linux
  • Real Time Operating Systems: RTEMS
  • Real Time Operating Systems: VxWorks
  • Communications & Telemetry
  • Aeronautics Propulsion Basics

Flight Structures

  • Dynamics in structures with NASTRAN
  • Composite Structures with NASTRAN


  • CREO Introduction
  • 3-D Printing Familiarization
  • Analysis, Design, and Sim with Matlab Simulink
  • Instrumentation Selection
  • Fabrication Overview (additive vs. conventional manufacturing)
  • Propulsion and Power
  • Power systems design & integration
  • Propulsion

Technical Electives include workshops and courses that are added to the program based on project selection by the participants.

Projects serve as the hands-on training ground for the program, where participants are able to apply their skills and knowledge.

Contact the GRC Rocket U Team

If you are interested in learning more about the Rocket University program at Glenn, please contact the team.

Rochelle Gallagher GRC RU Program Manager 216-433-2060
Paul Bartolotta GRC RU Technical Lead 216-433-3338

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