Christopher L. Bertagne

Thermal Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory



Work Experience

Thermal Engineer

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
September 2016-Present

• Provide sustained thermal engineering support on flight projects and technology development tasks to meet requirements and deliverables.
• Identify feasible thermal control architectures and mature designs through conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design phases using practical passive and active thermal control techniques.
• Support engineering trade studies that successfully balance performance margins, resource use, risk, cost, and schedule.
• Perform a variety of analysis tasks to evaluate the expected performance of the thermal control system against thermal requirements.
• Partner with other engineers to complete interface agreements.
• Craft and make effective presentations at routine team meetings, peer reviews, and major design reviews to tell a credible thermal story to peers and managers; subsequently address and close all ensuing review action items.
• Provide thermal test engineering support for subsystem- and system-level thermal vacuum tests on a variety of flight projects.

NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

Dr. Darren Hartl, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
August 2014–August 2016

• Contributed to the ongoing development of a technology concept known as the “shape memory alloy morphing radiator,” a thermal control device that employs active materials to reconfigure the shape of radiator panels and passively regulate the temperature of a crewed spacecraft.
• Over two successive summers, worked with engineers in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division (EC) at NASA Johnson Space Center to plan and execute two thermal environment tests using thermal vacuum facilities owned and operated by the division.
• Designed, fabricated, and tested the first-ever fully functional prototype shape memory alloy morphing radiator in a simulated space environment.
• Developed, demonstrated, and validated a custom computational framework capable of simulating the complex physical behavior characteristic of morphing radiators using existing numerical analysis tools.
• Increased the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of Shape Memory Alloy Morphing Radiator technology from TRL 2 to TRL 5 via analytical and experimental demonstrations.
• Directed a team of four students tasked with designing and fabricating a flexible yet highly conductive composite panel design satisfying challenging thermal and structural requirements.

Graduate Research Assistant / Teaching Assistant

Dr. Darren Hartl, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
January–August 2014

• Developed, implemented, and validated reduced-order models of shape memory alloy actuators for Boeing.
• Developed and implemented modeling tools to simulate feedback control of morphing structures using high-fidelity finite element models.
• Graded homework and gave guest lectures for senior-level aerospace structural analysis course.


Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
October 2009–December 2013

• Administered department’s web-based IT resources including intranet, databases, and web servers.
• Designed and developed departmental website, which served 380,000 pages to 55,000 unique visitors in a 12-month period.
• Composed detailed documentation of department’s web-based resources.

Intern, Student Engineer

The Boeing Company, Mesa, AZ
June–August 2013, December 2013–January 2014

• Interned for the Vehicle Management Systems group, which manages flight and fire controls for AH-64 Apache and AH-6 Little Bird.
• Assisted in implementing control law specifications for AH-64 Apache helicopter flight control system in Simulink.
• Developed tutorials to teach control design using Simulink.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Dr. Raktim Bhattacharya, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
May–August 2012

• Assisted in developing statistical methods to analyze the stability of nonlinear dynamical systems.
• Presented progress during weekly program meetings and in a technical report at conclusion of program.
• Participated in a program-wide poster competition and won third place.

Seismic Processing Assistant

Texseis, Inc.
June–August 2009

• Assisted in seismic signal processing for petroleum exploration.
• Assembled office workstations for other staff.