Joshua Dobbs is a man of many trades. Dobbs is a quarterback for Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as, a rocket scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), who graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee.
Dobbs was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers while playing quarterback for the Vols. He would then be traded to Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 where he deputizes for Gardner Minshew.
Following the emergence of coronavirus, which has led to the suspension of almost all sporting activities globally, Dobbs decided to put his academic acumen, as well as, the aerospace degree to good use.
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Dobbs secured a placement at NASA with the help of the NFL Players Association where he worked as a literal rocket scientist, completing two externships at global aerospace manufacturer Pratt and Whitney helping out in building jet engines for fighter planes.
US Today reports that for nearly three weeks in February, the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback was at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida under the tutelage of NASA Deputy Director of Engineering Scott Colloredo where he worked on NASA’s mobile launcher.
“When you get down there and you see how intelligent people are and how hard they work, just what they are even talking about and are able to pull off, it’s truly amazing,” Dobbs said. “It was so specialized.”
Dobbs added: “It felt like every part of Kennedy Space Center kind of wanted to show me what was going on. Every single day was different, so I got a chance to learn kind of the ins and outs, everything that goes on, and how everything comes together to support the rocket on launch day.”
Colloredo described Dobbs’ stint with NASA as very impressive. “But let’s face it: Josh, his approach and the way he’s going about parallel activity between the NFL and becoming an aerospace technologist, that’s pretty unique,” Colloredo said.
US Today states that a return is already being mapped out for Dobbs, according to reports. He first visited the Kennedy Space Center as a seven-year-old. It said that he went with his parents as a child to airports just to study the make and model of planes.
Colloredo told the media outlet that “the program behind the mobile launcher is designed to help simplify one of NASA’s most monumental tasks: moving rockets from the Vehicle Assembly Building, the world’s largest single-story building, into position to launch.”
The mobile launcher is said to be NASA’s “modern-day version,” of the similar platforms that served during the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. It is a 380-foot, 10.5-million-pound structure designed to support “the assembly, testing, check out and servicing of the rocket,” and subsequent transfer the rocket to the launch pad.