Northrop Grumman Field Trip
By: Sunbo A., staff writer
The last week in February is National Engineer’s Week. The Magruder’s tech and robotics teams had an incredible opportunity and went to one of the greatest aerospace companies in the world called Northrop Grumman. This was a great experience for both clubs and taught us many valuable things. Our amazing journey began as soon as we stepped off the buses and straight into Northrop Grumman.
As soon as our journey of exploring began, we split into two groups and met our amazing tour guides, who led us through everything. Their names were Keith Burton and Eliza Velardez. These two guided us on the tour with information and much more. One surprising detail is that Eliza actually went to our home school Magruder, and so did her two sons. It was nice to have someone there from our home school.
After we were introduced to all of the tour guides, we immediately proceeded to a short video about Northrup Grumman. We were all seated in a very nice mini movie theater, with very comfortable chairs. During the video we saw commercials about Northrup Grumman’s evolution from the B2 bomber, to a new wing-shaped drone, to the new Long Range Strike Bomber (the bomber of the near future).
After we saw the movie, we moved to the next stop. Our next stop was the Ingenuity in Motion and the hands-on Game Room. The Ingenuity in Motion also included a very educational hall that provided information on all the aircraft made at Northrop Grumman over the past decades. In this hall there were lots of displays of model airplanes and things to read and watch. It was very interesting, and incredibly realistic.
We also went to the hands on game room. This game room consisted of many mind blowing technology. There were lots of games and activities to do. They all had to do with aerospace technology. Both of these places were brand new, they haven’t even been open to the public yet, but we were the first to actually get to experience what it was like to be in such a historical but modern place.
The next thing on our list was the James Webb Telescope. This telescope is not yet launched project.We actually got to see inside of the clean room where they were making the telescope. It will take about 5 years for it to be complete. A clean room is a room where everything is clean and sanitized, even the people were wearing full body suits.They wore these so that there human bacteria will not affect anything. The reason they need to keep everything clean, is to protect the project. Any bacteria or dust can harm the object and cause major problems. Everything has to be perfect before the telescope goes to space. There is no turning back after it is launched.
After we saw the telescope we went directly to the “fab lab”. The fab lab is basically a place for fun experiments for the people working at their company. They try new things and test out different ideas. It’s really just a fun place for the engineers. The fab lab had lots of great ideas and inventions in there, but they were not yet finished.
Soon it was time for lunch, and everyone was anxious to see what we were doing next. When we arrived at the lunch area, there was a burger section, drink section, condiment section, and chips section. We had a great lunch and also a little surprise while we were eating. The company was having an egg drop competition. There were lots of teams and very brilliant ideas. They even had cool names like, The Breakfast Club, Eggtastics, Eggsterminator, named for the container the engineers designed so they could drop an egg without it breaking. The egg drop competition was very interesting. Employees received prizes for the best design and dropping it closest to target.
After the egg drop we toured the composite manufacturing building. This building was huge and consists of very creative things that we have never heard about. We saw how they cut material for planes, where they store these chemicals, and so much more. One surprising thing that we saw was the cutting of material. Did you know that you could cut material with water or with lasers? The reason why it is possible with water is because the air pressure in the water is so high, that it is able to cut through things. The lasers are high tech and are able to get very hot and cut through anything.
At the very end of the tour we took a final stop to see the manufacturing of the F/A -18 E Super Hornet Fighter. We saw many people there putting together the pieces to make such an extraordinary object. There were many different techniques that people used at different stations, but it is amazing how everything soon comes together.They all worked as a team.
Over all this was one of the greatest field trips we have all been on. It showed us many things. They showed teamwork, great history, safety, and much more indescribably things. We would like to thank Northrop Grumman for providing their funds and their time so we could have this great opportunity during Engineers Week. A big thank you to Mr. Keith Burton and Ms. Eliza Velardez for their time and efforts in making this happen. They are also the individuals who had Northrup Grumman give the robotics club $2550.00 to improve our robotics program. We greatly appreciate this grant and the field trip. This tour of Northrup Grumman motivated a lot of us to become a part of serving our country through engineering.