December 2019

AIAA Announcements AIAA Announces Candidates for 2020 Election

The Council Nominating Committee has selected candidates for next year’s election for openings on the AIAA Council of Directors.

Elections will open 29 January 2020. Council Nominating Committee Chair Jane Hansen and AIAA Governance Secretary Christopher Horton confirmed the names of the candidates who will appear on the 2020 ballot. The nominees are:

Director–Region I
Steven X. Bauer, NASA Langley Research Center

Director–Region II
Kurt Polzin, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Director–Region VII
Cees Bil, RMIT University
Essam E. Khalil, Cairo University

Director–Aircraft Technology, Integration and Operations Group
Richard L. Mange, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Richard A. Wahls, NASA Headquarters

Director–Business and Management Group
Leslie Lake, Reynolds, Smith & Hills, Inc.

Director–Space and Missiles Group
William D. Deininger, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Cristian N. Calugarita, Consultant
Lawrence “Robbie” Robertson, Air Force Research Laboratory

Director-Elect–Young Professionals Group
Ashlee Youngpeters, Pratt & Whitney

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Award Announcements AIAA Announces Winners of Prestigious Zarem Graduate Student Awards in Aeronautics and Astronautics

AIAA has announced the two winners of the Zarem Graduate Student Awards for Distinguished Achievement.

Johnie Sublett, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Institute of Technology, won the astronautics award for “Design and Testing of a Fault-tolerant Space Suit.” Sublett also won first place in the graduate portion of the student paper competition at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, held 21–25 October in Washington, D.C.

Cole Anderson, who recently earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University, won the aeronautics award for “A Test Rig for Wing Flutter Suppression via Distributed Propulsion.”

AIAA Honorary Fellow Dr. Abe Zarem, founder and managing director of Frontier Associates, established the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement to annually recognize graduate students in aeronautics and astronautics who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in their field and who are pursuing graduate degrees.



Sublett grew up in Pensacola, FL, and has always been fascinated by complex problems and smart engineering solutions. He is working on fault-tolerant space suits that can protect astronauts from many of the puncture risks associated with planetary space operations. “Space suits protect their occupants from the hostile environment of space by maintaining a safe breathing atmosphere, with a pressure bladder containing requisite internal gas pressure,” he explained.

“If this pressure garment is punctured or damaged, the suit can quickly depressurize, leading to rapid loss of consciousness, asphyxiation, and death. However, if a puncture could be detected and isolated, even major suit punctures become survivable. Thus, the suit system I’m working to demonstrate includes a distributed array of pressure sensors and inflation cuffs that can detect, seal against, and isolate any punctures in the limbs of the suit.”

Attending IAC 2019 put him in contact with subject-matter experts in the field of space suit design and extravehicular operations who gave him feedback about his designs. “I also had the chance to meet and chat with some of the leading experts in human spaceflight and Mars exploration, which was incredible,” Sublett said.

His career goal is to work on human planetary exploration and spaceflight operations, either on the moon or Mars. “I think we’re entering a golden age of space exploration. There now exists the public desire, technological capabilities, and launch infrastructure to enable humans to venture farther, and to stay longer. Humans that are alive today will be the new pioneers of our species.”


Jumping out of airplanes is what eventually led Anderson to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. He earned a skydiving license after one of his best friends introduced him to the sport.

“Spending time at the airport in small aircraft, talking with pilots, and learning about aviation fascinated me,” said Anderson, who was born and raised in Palo Alto, CA. “I quickly enrolled in the Aerospace Engineering minor at Oregon State University and was immediately attracted to the engineering side of aviation. I signed up for the Design/Build/Fly team and met Dr. Roberto Albertani who later offered me a position in his laboratory for my graduate research. Dr. Albertani played a large role in the success of the aerospace engineering program at OSU and helped foster my curiosity for aviation.”

Anderson’s research is focused on investigating the potential for flutter suppression via distributed propulsion, meaning he is looking at how to use electric motors, instead of gas engines/turbines, along with cleverly designed wing structures, to increase aircraft efficiency and optimize cruise conditions.

“The inspiration for this idea comes from combining technology in two current NASA X-planes; the X-56 MUTT and X-57 Maxwell,” he explained. “The project was selected by NASA for USRC funding and was also funded by the Boeing Professorship at Oregon State University.”

Anderson said he’s interested in aircraft structures and controls for his career and has been working at Altech Aerospace as a Structures Engineer where he’s been doing structural substantiation and Fatigue & Damage Tolerance analysis.

“I am inspired by America’s strong legacy of leading the world in aerospace technology,” he said. “The current research in commercial supersonic aircraft and aeroservoelasticity is especially exciting to me. I am proud to present the result of my research and contribute to America’s prestigious reputation.”

For more information on the Abe M. Zarem Graduate Awards for Distinguished Achievement, visit the AIAA Awards webpage at aiaa.org/get-involved/honors-awards/awards/student-awards.

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Making an Impact: The AIAA Foundation in Action

It has been another incredible year partnering with all of you to educate and inspire the next generation of aerospace professionals. Together, we spark curiosity, design hand-on programs to instruct students, and inspire youth to pursue fulfilling careers for our national and our world.

With your support, we are making a real and lasting impact. This year, we specifically:

• Distributed 72 classroom grants impacting 29,789 students
• Granted 420 First Lego League Grants involving 3,532 students
• Presented 3 K–12 Educator Achievement Awards
• Partnered with Higher Orbits to present the Apollo Series Go For Launch! program where 130 students participated in hands-on space activities
• Organized the annual Design/Build/Fly Competition with more than 785 students
• Held seven Regional Student Paper Conferences where 562 students participated and made 215 presentations
• Honored 60 Diversity Scholars at AIAA forums and the International Astronautical Congress
• Presented 22 undergraduate scholarships and graduate awards to deserving students to further their education

And with your continued assistance, we are looking forward to an even bigger impact in 2020!

For more information about the AIAA Foundation, visit aiaa.org/Foundation. Please reach out to Foundation Director Merrie Scott at MerrieS@aiaa.org about the Foundation’s goal of impacting one million students and becoming involved or donating to the AIAA Foundation.

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Section News AIAA Atlanta Section Inspires the Next Generation of Aerospace Professionals

A group of people posing indoors, some holding model rockets and a plaque. They are dressed in casual and semi-formal attire, standing in front of a red curtain and various decorations.
Members from three highly successful rocketry teams in the Atlanta Section. Credit: Tony Platt

By Aaron Harcrow, Chair Emeritus, AIAA Atlanta Section

On 17 September, the AIAA Atlanta Section hosted a dinner meeting at the Delray Diner in Marietta, GA, to emphasize that success in STEM helps to identify a career path in rocketry from high school team competitions to university team competitions to full-time paying job! On hand were members from three highly successful rocketry teams in the Atlanta Section:

• Tim Smyrl, Aeronautics Team and TARC/UAS4STEM Sponsor, Creekview High School, Canton, GA
• Carson Causey and Nicolas Brophy, Co-Team Leads, Georgia Institute of Technology, Spaceport America Cup 
• Jeremy Young, Propulsion Team, Generation Orbit, developing the X-60A hypersonic testbed

Smyrl has well prepared his teams of up to 40 students for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) and the International Rocketry Competition (IRC), and they are two-time winners of TARC (2014 and 2018) and world champions at IRC 2018. Team leaders present this evening were Michael Pena, Joey Gallagher, Nate Lindsey, Alex Teal, Carter Burch and Rand Johnson. The TARC team consists of up to 10 students who pay a $50 dues; the $500 budget covers entry fees, building materials, and as many composite propellant motors as possible to create two rocket classes:

• TARC: 650g max mass, carrying one chicken egg as close to 800 feet as possible in a time window of 38 to 40 seconds
• NASA student launch team: K-class impulse rocket, carrying an autonomous glider to an altitude between 3500 and 5500 feet at which time the glider will be deployed on a preprogrammed GPS flight path.

Other expenses are funded by donations from sponsors in the community. AIAA Atlanta contributed to the purchase of matching team shirts complete with the Atlanta Section logo on the sleeve!

Causey and Brophy, assisted by last year’s team lead Casey Wilson, co-lead a Georgia Tech team that competes in the world’s largest collegiate rocketry competition, the annual Spaceport America Cup. In their first year to compete, the team won first place in their category, hitting just shy of the altitude target of 30,000 feet with commercially bought rocket motors and placed second overall for Judge’s Choice out of the ~95 teams that flew. This year they’re building another two-stage rocket to hit 30,000 feet and are developing their own solid rocket motors. The annual budget of the GT rocketry club is around $20,000, with the rocket launch costing around $5,000–7,000 of that. The 14-foot-tall rocket, dubbed “Sustain Alive,” reached a max altitude of 28,140 feet, and a max speed of Mach 1.17.

And to show where these high school and university rocketry programs can lead, Jeremy Young spoke about his career at Generation Orbit, where he is a member of the Propulsion Team in support of the X-60A, a development program sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). He presented a high-level overview of the X-60A program, noting that X-60A is an expendable research testbed in support of the nation’s hypersonics research programs and that it is not a space launch platform and cannot deliver payloads to orbit. It will operate at speeds of Mach 5+ to collect valuable flight test data. Generation Orbit recently conducted a successful integrated hot-fire test of the X-60A propulsion system and liquid rocket engine.

Many STEM lessons learned were presented during the evening including systems engineering of a complete rocket system, FMECA, calculating mass of fuel needed to hit an altitude target, trajectory planning in varying atmospheric conditions, design and fabrication of precision parts, installing and operating radio control equipment, range safety, and data telemetry. One non-STEM lesson learned is that as rockets are made larger to go faster and higher, the cost increases astronomically! And that is why AIAA Atlanta provided financial sponsorship for the Creekview HS team during the 2018–2019 Section year and will assist both Creekview and the GT SAC team in 2019–2020.

AIAA Atlanta will follow the trajectories of these three teams as they continue to develop new rockets, enjoy successful first launches, and face challenges in future competitions. We encourage the teams to apply STEM best practices and look forward to receiving additional reports of success and awards and hearing how the Creekview HS rocketry teams members advance to Georgia Tech rocketry teams and GT rocketry team members advance to employment at Generation Orbit! 

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AIAA Committees The Space Force — AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee Essay Contest

The AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee’s (SSTC) annual middle school essay contest continues to improve its commitment to directly inspire students and local sections. Each year, additional local sections start parallel contests to feed into selection of national winners awarded by the SSTC.
The 2019 essay topic was “President Donald Trump announced the idea of a Space Force. What are the key advantages and disadvantages of having a Space Force and an organizational restructuring within the Department of Defense?” Seventh and eighth grade students were asked to participate. The six national winners will receive a one-year student membership with AIAA.

The first-place winner for 8th grade was Erin Alvarez (and teacher Vanessa Kowalczyk) from Levittown, NY. The second-place winner for 8th grade was David Ko from Palos Verdes, CA. The third-place winner for 8th grade is Isabella Jacobs from San Antonio, TX.

The first-place winner for 7th grade is Claire Thorburn (and teacher Shawna Christenson) from Palm Beach, FL. The second-place winner for 7th grade is Asher Blatt from Palm Beach, FL. The third-place winner for 7th grade is Maya Mohanty from Palm Beach, FL.

All 2019 winning essays can be found in the next Bulletin entries. The topic for 2020 is “How advanced can you envision space technology and exploration through the next 50 years? What do we need to do NOW to achieve that?” If you, your school, or section are interested in participating in the 2020 contest, please contact Anthony Shao (ant.shao@gmail.com) or your local section for more details.

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AIAA Committees Space Force (1st Place, 8th Grade)

A young woman in a blue
Erin Alvarez (left) with Astronaut Walter Cunningham (right). Credit: E. Alvarez

Erin Alvarez, Levittown, NY

In the summer of 2018, Vice President Pence announced the idea of creating the Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military. The Space Force would be specifically dedicated to protecting and defending U.S. interests in space. The last time a new military branch was introduced, was in 1947 when the Air Force was developed. So what exactly is the purpose of this program? Scientists, Congress, tax payers, and the military are currently working to weigh the advantages and the disadvantages of the program; working to make the Space Force as effective as possible.

For decades, the government has considered creating a Space Force. Recently, Congressman Rogers and Congressman Cooper have advocated for the addition of this branch. Currently, the Air Force is responsible for all military matters of space defense. This includes detecting asteroid threats to earth. The U.S has developed 3 methods in a plan to prevent an asteroid from colliding with Earth. A ‘gravity tractor’, would use a space craft to throw the asteroid off its course by using the gravitational attraction between the two objects. A ‘kinetic impactor’ shifts the course of an asteroid by crashing a space craft into it. A ‘nuclear strike’ would vaporize the surface of an asteroid re- directing its course. The Air Force also is responsible for 120 military satellites needed to execute and plan out all military actions on ground, sea and space. We rely on satellites for communications (cell phone television radio), GPS, weather detection and space science. A Space Force would replace and carry out these responsibilities instead of the Air Force.

There are some advantages to the proposed Space Force. The U.S can be better prepared for satellite strikes. In recent years Russia and China have been developing anti-satellite capabilities which would allow them to destroy U.S satellites. A Space Force could help the U.S. to prepare for conflicts in the future. Some propose that the Space Force might be an investment for the tax payer, growing the economy even though the initial investments are huge. A dedicated agency that is solely responsible for the testing and development of improved space technology, can be seen as more efficient.

However, there are also many drawbacks to the Space Force. Many may think that the Air Force and other specialized branches of the current military departments are capable of managing our space technology needs rather than restructuring the whole military. This restructuring will be extremely expensive, and will take many years to complete. Perhaps we can increase the spending on space technology and defense in our existing agencies (NASA, Air Force) to accomplish the same goals. The United States, China, and Russia are all members of the Outer Space Treaty. This treaty prohibits weapons of mass destruction in space. A space force can be seen as a violation of the spirt of the treaty. The purpose of a Space Force can be perceived by other countries as an increased level of hostility.

There is no way to know if the U.S Congress will approve the restructuring of the military, to give us the Space Force. Space is the “final frontier”. The world relies on the technology that has branched into space, so of course it is necessary for the U.S. to be an active leader in this arena. The real question is, will the Space Force be beneficial in achieving that role as leader? Well, for now we are going to have to wait and see what the results will come out to be!

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AIAA Committees Space Force (2nd Place, 8th Grade)

David Ko, Palos Verdes, CA

“Space Force all the way”, President Trump announced after his Vice President’s speech about Space Force. What exactly would be the Space Force, and what purpose would it serve? Although the Space Force’s name resembles that of a tv-show, or a show that little kids watch, the Space Force would not defend against aliens or other extra-terrestrial persons. The proposed idea of a Space Force would be a separate branch of military focused on national security and preserving satellites and vehicles that are dedicated to communication and observation.

However, before the government decides on anything, they need to analyze what the Space Force would provide for the nation and what problems it would create. This discussion, however, is not new. In fact, China and Russia, the United States’ main competitors in the space field, already have Space Forces, so seems fit that we would have one as well. There are a lot of factors the government must consider before creating a sixth branch of military, including the advantages, disadvantages, and the cost of a new military branch, and a reorganization of the Department of Defense.

Space Force is an exceptional idea due to the protection and surveillance of vehicles in space.

In the first place, it could help the Pentagon get much more organized, without different space personnel scattered among the other branches of military. According to Military Benefits, as of 2019, there are about 80 percent of space expertise personnel in the Air Force. A new branch dedicated entirely to space could open more job opportunities and create a tighter field 100 percent committed to Space. The Space Force would also protect U.S satellites from corruption and disruption of systems. In America, the government is very dependent on their satellites for GPS, meteorology, and military reconnaissance. Without our satellites we would not be able to communicate, navigate, or use satellites for military purposes. According to the National Interest, the issue to protect satellites has become more prominent recently after China exhibited the power of its anti- satellite weapon, making the ability to monitor potential threats to our satellites much more necessary. Beside protecting the satellites, and other vehicles dedicated to space, the Space Force would also create early warning of debris floating in space that could damage satellites. In all, the Space Force has the potential to successfully protect satellites, maneuver them, and prevent attacks from foreign powers.

In the creation of a Space Force, many different problems would arise. First, let’s talk about the costs of creating a sixth branch of military. According to author Erik Gomez, from Cato Institute, Mike Pence announced on an early August speech that the administration would ask Congress to invest 13 billion dollars into the new proposed branch, including overhead cost, and employing personnel. Another disadvantage the Space Force would bring would be its violation to the 1967 treaty. According to Scott Bixby, an author from the Daily Beast, no nation can declare sovereignty over terrestrial bodies. These restrictions would make the sixth branch of military more involved with Earth than space. Another disadvantage the Space Force would create would be a reorganization of the Department of Defense. Currently, the Army and Navy operate space systems separately from the Air Force. The formation of the sixth branch would put all branches associated with space under one authority. The Space Force also creates a new problem of training, as people who work for the sixth branch will need to do unique training specially fitted to the space field.

A successful reorganization of the Department of Defense will be challenging and may bring a new array of problems with it. As seen in the past with SOCOM, a training and equipping program charged with overseeing the special forces, the program was underfunded and undermanned when a restructure was completed. The creation of a new military branch comes with an array of problems that may not be worth the creation of a new military branch.

The Space Force has many benefits and disadvantages that the government must examine before deciding what to do. According to Military Benefits, the Space Force provides a tighter pentagon, and more protection for satellites. However, creating a new branch of military can be costly, and if not done right, can lead to crucial problems in structure. While the Space Force is a debated topic, it’s difficult to know whether creating a new branch of military is the right way to go.

Work Cited


“America needs a Space Corps”. Space News. Space News
n.d web 1 March 2019 https://spacenews.com/america-needs-a-space-corps/
“China will soon be able to destroy every satellite in space”. The National interest. The National Interest
n.d web 4 March 2019

“Is Trump’s Space Force against Space Law”. Beast Inside. Beast Inside
n.d web 4 March 2019

“Say no to a Space Force”. The Washington Times. The Washington Times
n.d web 4 March 2019 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jun/24/say-no-to-a-space-force/
“Space Force. An unwise solution to an over hyped threat”. Cato institute. Cato Institute
n.d web 4 March 2019

“Space Force”. Military Benefits. Military Benefits
n.d web 1 March 2019 https://militarybenefits.info/space-fo
“The Sixth Service”. War on the rocks. War on the Rocks
n.d web 4 March 2019
https://warontherocks.com/2018/09/the-sixth-service-what-the-reorganization-of-special-operations- forces-can-teach-us-about-space-force/

“Think Space Force is a joke? Here are four reasons to take it seriously”. Space. Sight light media Group
n.d web 1 March 2019
https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/08/09/think-space-force-is-a-joke-here-are-four-major- space-threats-to-take-seriously/

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Space Force (3rd Place, 8th Grade)

Isa Jacobs, San Antonio, TX

Ever since the fateful day on June 18th, 2018, President Donald Trump’s proposition on the United States having a Space Force has gathered many mixed opinions and reactions from its citizens and countries around it. President Trump’s proposal had been further announced to have a plan for the service established by 2020 on August 9th of 2018. But on February 19th of this year, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4 calling for the creation of a Space Force Department. The directive specifically maintains the goal of eventually converting the new department into its own, sixth military branch.

The Space Force is a military branch that conducts space warfare. The Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordination and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States armed forces. Space exploration as we know of it today consists of NASA’s testing and developing of the Mars 2020 rover and future Orion spaceflights to send humans to the Moon, Mars, and hopefully deeper space. It is not yet plausible to assume that us, as humans would be ready and able to conduct war and defense from outer space, when our main focus right now is just to survive.

Along with the challenge of plausibility, construction and money would be a huge issue. Military and space grade equipment is very expensive, and it is unintelligent and unreasonable to shut down the government or declare a national emergency every time we need money. The estimated cost is thirteen billion dollars it would take to establish this Space Force, in comparison to Trump’s proposed border wall, with cost range estimates from eight billion to seventy billion. On top of the proposed price, with today’s economy and inflation, prices will most likely go up. Creating a new, sixth branch in the military specifically for the Space Force would further cost lots of money and as it it today, many people in the military and their families struggle with the income.

Another con to the Space Force is time, as it is predicted the next manned space flight be in months to multiple years from now. In addition to that, if Donald Trump doesn’t get reelected, the next president might have a different point of view on the Space Force, and could rescind the executive order or stop the progressing, having it been competed in theory by 2020, the same year of the upcoming presidential election. Which could delay the establishment of the Space force for many years until a President with similar views joined office.

A final problem to the Space Force is evaluation of the real need to have it in place. Yes it is true that we are the era of space exploration and technological advancements but we aren’t the era of nuclear war, extraterrestrial life, much less in need to defend ourselves from extraterrestrial life. It could spread fear among other countries outside of the United States, to have them start their own Space Forces, which could lead to another Cold War type of situation, with the threat of war and each other’s Space Forces looming over our heads. Each country afraid of angering or upsetting the countries near them.

Yes, despite what may seem like many cons to Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force, there are also multiple pros to this unearthly idea. We would continue our studies and adventures into the vast vacuum of space, we would advance our knowledge of this mostly unknown area of our universe. It would ensure the United States preparedness for any wars coming our way or threats coming from extraterrestrial life. In adding a new branch to our military, we would be providing hundreds of thousands of jobs for people in our ever growing job crisis.

All in all, having a Space Force is an interesting and advanced idea that comes with a lot of considerable obstacles to note. It is a noteworthy idea for our future, but until we solve a bit more of the logistics to this proposed plan, it should remain a goal of the future and nothing more, yet.

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AIAA Committees Space as a War Zone (1st Place, 7th Grade)

A young girl with long, light brown hair wearing a dark blue top with a floral pattern stands against a plain, light-colored background.
Claire Thorburn. Credit: C. Thorburn

Claire Thorburn, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Imagine space as a hostile environment, imagine that missiles where being launched from both sides, that our solar system was full of debris causing damage to our galaxy. Now if you will picture what the world be like if our enemies were the first to weaponize space. That the hostile flag of Russia was the first one placed on Mars, and that America was left behind in the dust. Today I will be explaining both sides on the issue of a Space Force and why we should be compelled to create a Space Force, however, examine the negative implications of creating such a thing.

One thing that is beneficial about creating a Space Force is should an enemy attack our satellites, society, would crumble. To quote author and astrobiologist Dr. Lewis Dartnell ” We may not yet be taking holidays on the Moon, but our day-to-day lives are becoming more and more reliant on satellite technology.” Also, according to Dartnells paper, America owns 43% of the satellites, and should our satellites be sent out of commission our world would grind to a stop. China has been investing in anti-satellite technology and has been testing it on old satellites. China is trying to undermine America’s dominance in space technology. Then there is the fact that it could be beneficial for America to break the outer space treaty before other governments. Unfortunately, it is not enough to blindly trust others to obey the treaty. Although almost every country agreed that The Outer Space Treaty was valid, if those same countries could break it first then America is vulnerable to attack from those outside forces. It is the view of many that a Space Force is the only way to be secure our dominance over other countries thru technology and science. Then there are those who argue that space is just another form of combat. That space is just a new way of fighting each other. That like the navy or air force a Space Force would need special equipment and personnel. That to stay ahead we must join in on this new area of combat. To quote Trump “We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force” and to quote Robert Kehler America must “gain and maintain space superiority.” Many have the view that having a Space Force is inevitable and that America should create one as soon as possible.

However, there are those who feel the exact opposite. Many think that because of the outer space treaty we would be breaking diplomatic law to create one. According to The Outer Space Treaty “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.” Weapons of mass destruction are not defined. A Space Force would likely break the treaty. Almost every country has signed The Outer Space Treaty. Does America want to be the first to break The Outer Space Treaty? For many, the answer is no. Creating a Space Force would create diplomatic problems. In addition money for creating a Space Force would take money away for mother military branches. According to Kimberly Adams, a Space Force would cost $13 billion dollars over the course of five years. This budget does not include the price of creating new uniforms. To quote Wesley Hallman, senior vice president for policy at the National Defense Industrial Association when asked whether or not a Space Force would take resources from other areas he stated, “It’s always a competition for resources.” Lastly, money for a Space Force could be donated to corporations like NASA so that they could achieve more cutting-edge technology, instead of equipping the government with the technology of the past. It would take billions of dollars to get the space force started, much less creating new technologies in advancing America.

To conclude while there is a serious argument to creating a space force, money dedicated to creating it would be better used as a donation to an established space agency. In addition, upsetting diplomatic peace would cause unsettling throughout the world and would not be worth it for very little security.

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AIAA Committees Space Force (2nd Place, 7th Grade)

Asher Blatt, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

“Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” –Leonardo DaVinci. Humans love to test their limits. First DaVinci, with his flying machines; then, fast forward a few hundred years and we’ve conquered the skies and turned our eyes to a new horizon: space. Ever since the first launched satellite in 1957, people have been obsessed with space. On June 18, 2018, President Trump put forth a proposition that would fan the flames of this craze even more: A United States Space Force. He suggested it becoming a fully functional new military branch, the first since the Air Force in 1947 following WWII. Is this a good idea, though?

There are many substantial arguments for the U.S. Space Force, of which one of the primary ones is defense. As stated on Military Benefits’ website and by Casey Dreier, Senior Space Policy Advisor for the Planetary Society, both China and Russia have begun anti-satellite developments, and with increasing tension, we may have to defend ourselves soon enough. Another possibly more urgent reason for a Space Force would be to begin clearing the airspace for further space exploration. There are thousands, nearing millions, of tracked space junk (debris) orbiting around space. If left untended, it could form a virtual shell around the airspace of Earth, preventing further space exploration. A third, equally important reason would be to protect GPS satellites. It would benefit both national and international interests as militaries, governments and civilians all around the world rely on GPS software. If there are disruptions or damages to these systems, it would be a global fiasco.

Comparatively, however, there are many substantial arguments against a U.S. Space Force. Possibly the strongest reason not to have it is the necessary restructuring of the Pentagon (maybe a Hexagon building in the near future?). As stated by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, “The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money…” She claims that it will overcomplicate the Pentagon, and the ever-expanding military budget. A second reason not to have a Space Force is the possible threat seen by other nations. As claimed by Casey Dreier, many critics are worried that the creation of a Space Force could spark a “Space Arms Race” with different superpowers rushing to colonize and weaponize the galaxies. While some would argue that the Space Race was beneficial in the 60’s and 70’s, a “Space Arms Race” would most likely lead to increased hostility or even war. A third and final argument against the creation of a U.S. Space Force is the price tag attached. From the Department of Defense website, the overall military budget is a whopping 716 billion dollars, over 3 times the amount of the next leading spender, China. Via Casey Dreier, there is a requested 8 billion dollars to begin building up the Space Force over the next five years, and a proposed overall budget of around 25 billion. That is EXPENSIVE.

Overall, the development of a United States Space Force appears sound and warranted, yet with drawbacks. There are many reasons to support its formation including safeguarding of GPS satellites, clearing of space for further exploration and defending against hostile nations, and creating more job opportunities for space-qualified individuals. Disadvantages of the emergence of a national Space Force include the proposed steep costs, the potential misinterpretation of its use as adversarial and consequently sparking militarization, and the suggested restructuring of the Pentagon to house a sixth branch of the Armed Forces, with rumors also reporting a probable overcomplication of an already complex and convoluted government. The question then becomes…what is your stance on this political issue?

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AIAA Committees Space Force (3rd Place, 7th Grade)

Maya Mohanty, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Last year, President Donald Trump introduced a recent idea about adding another branch to the military called the Space Force. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to having the Space Force and to the organization restructuring of the Department of Defense.

On June 18, 2018, President Donald Trump introduced the idea of having a 6th branch of government called the Space Force. The Space Force is a sixth branch of government that will manage space welfare. The Space Force will mainly focus on security, preserving satellites, and vehicles that are dedicated to international communications and observations. It will also provide missile warnings.

The Space Force has many advantages. One advantage of having the Space Force would be that we would have global surveillance. Global surveillance would allow us to spy on enemy countries and would allow us to know what is going on in the world. The Space Force will also grow the economy. According to the article, NTK Network, “Reinvigorated space development would probably continue America’s remarkable economic growth. Government spending on space programs could be viewed as an investment rather than a burden on U.S. taxpayers.” Because of the economy growing, there will be more jobs opportunities. Another advantage would be that we will also be warned about natural disasters that could potentially cause damage that could take years to recover. We will also be prepared to fight future wars. The NTK Network states that, “The SSF thus far has managed China’s anti-satellite tactics, including satellite to satellite weapons, but it’s possible that a future war could potentially involve space-to-ground bombardment.” If warfighting in space ever reached that high level of intensity, the United States would most likely want a separate branch to handle that field of defense. The advantages of having another branch in the Department of Defense is that, as Mike Pence said, “The new branch would be separate from, but equal to the other branches.” This is important, because this will prevent any branch from becoming too powerful. The Air Force and Space Force will work together.

Having a Space Force does have some disadvantages. One problem that we face with having a Space Force is that there isn’t enough money dedicated to this field. The Planetary Society’s website states that, “NASA would receive a $1.1 billion increase to the $20.7 billion in the year of 2018.” Another disadvantage to having a Space Force is that the Air Force handles all U.S space concerns. The article Military Benefits says that, “The Air Force’s ‘Space Mountain’ operation, formally known as Cheyenne Mountain Complex, has tracked a large number of man-made objects in orbit as part of the Air Force mission. This mission is essential for the safety of any space-based operation including supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS), manned trips to the moon or Mars.” In addition to that, there is a slow acquisitions process. And, arms control is a disadvantage, because as the article NTK Network says, “The creation of national military space units could spark a new arms race beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the world’s countries, including the United States, Russia, and China, are members of the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits weapons of mass destruction in space.” Militarization of the expanse could lead to enemy countries abandoning the terms of the agreement and setting potentially devastating weapons in orbit. This would be a major problem, because many pieces of expensive equipment would be destroyed, and lives could be lost. Expense is another issue with the Space Force. According to the article, The Verge, “The Space Force would cost nearly $13 billion to create.” This is a of money, and we will have to maintain this on top of other space costs. The disadvantage of having another branch in the government is that, the Air Force already deals with this terrain.

In conclusion, President Donald Trump introduced a recent idea about adding another branch to the military called the Space Force. But, as you learned, there are advantages and disadvantages to having the Space Force and to the organization restructuring of the Department of Defense.

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Award Announcements Digital Avionics Systems Award Presented in September

A group of five men standing in a line, with four holding certificates. They are dressed in formal attire and smile for the camera at a presentation event.
(L to R): Tom Smith, and the recipients or their stand-in: Jim Kuchar (Lincoln Laboratory), Kyle Julian representing Mykel Kochenderfer (Stanford University), Paul Wood representing Joshua Silbermann (APL/APU), and Luis Alvarez representing both Wes Olson [Lincoln Laboratory] and Neal Suchy (FAA). Credit: Digital Avionics Systems Conference

The AIAA Dr. John C. Ruth Digital Avionics Systems Award was presented to the ACAS X Design Team Leaders “for the development of the Advanced Collision Avoidance System X (ACAS X) using machine learning technology, statistical risk assessment, and flight test campaigns.” The presentation occurred at the 38th Digital Avionics Systems Conference in September. Tom Smith, AIAA Fellow, made the presentation on behalf of AIAA.


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AIAA Announcements Call for Papers for the 2020 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference

The 2020 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference will be held 9–13 August 2020 at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Manuscripts are solicited on topics related to space-flight mechanics and astrodynamics, including but not necessarily limited to:

• Asteroid and non-Earth orbiting missions
• Atmospheric re-entry guidance and control
• Attitude dynamics, determination and control
• Attitude-sensor and payload-sensor calibration
• Dynamical systems theory applied to space flight problems
• Dynamics and control of large space structures and tethers
• Earth orbital and planetary mission studies
• Flight dynamics operations and spacecraft autonomy
• Orbital dynamics, perturbations, and stability
• Orbit determination and space-surveillance tracking
• Orbital debris and space environment
• Rendezvous, relative motion, proximity missions, and formation flying
• Reusable launch vehicle design, dynamics, guidance, and control
• Satellite constellations
• Spacecraft guidance, navigation and control (GNC)
• Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Conjunction Analysis (CA), and collision avoidance
• Trajectory / mission / maneuver design and optimization
• Technology Anniversary: Lessons Learned and Impact
• The history of/ Astrodynamics: Review of seminal astrodynamical, theoretical and practical developments

In addition to the above general topics, papers are also solicited for a special session on the flight dynamics of NASA’s Artemis Program, which includes research and development on the Space Flight System, Orion spacecraft, Lunar Gateway, as well as longer-term plans for crewed flights to Mars.

The abstract deadline is 10 April 2020. More information can be found at space-flight.org/docs/2020_summer/2020_summer.html.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Prahl Died in April 2018

Joseph Prahl, 75, a longtime Case Western Reserve faculty member and researcher with great expertise in dynamics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, died 19 April 2018.

Prahl received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1963, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Harvard University in 1968.

Prahl spent 40 years at Case Western Reserve in the Case School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, helping with 40 master’s or doctoral theses and conducting valuable research in fluid and thermal science supported by a host of federal agencies, while publishing more than 20 refereed journal articles.

Most recently, Prahl was appointed in 2007 as Case School of Engineering’s first faculty director for undergraduates. Previously, he was chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from 1992 to 2007.

Prahl’s was also known for his work for the U.S. space program. He took a leave of absence from the university from 1990 to 1992 to work as a payload specialist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. This work included the 13-day Columbia mission in June 1992, when Prahl helped with more than a dozen experiments in areas such as crystal growth, fluid physics, combustion, bioprocessing, space-acceleration measurement and the effects of extended duration orbit on the human body. He also assisted in experiments in combustion, surface tension, droplet dynamics and crystal growth. His background in surface-tension-driven flows and combustion played a role in his selection by NASA as a payload specialist for the mission.

He also worked with support from NASA Glenn Research Center on studies in tribology and oil-free turbomachinery; in the chemical kinetics of hydrogen-oxygen and propane-air systems; and in the use of mechanical seals for turbomachinery and space craft docking systems.

Prahl was a longtime faculty advisor to the AIAA student branch at Case Western Reserve, serving from 2009 to 2017.

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Obituary AIAA Associate Fellow Panaras Died in December 2018

Dr. Argyris G. Panaras died in December 2018 at the age of 75.

Dr. Panaras served in the Hellenic Air Force from where he retired as a Colonel. He acted as a visiting professor in a number of universities and research centers, including NASA Ames Research Center, Cranfield University, German Aerospace Center, and the Hellenic Air Force Academy.

Dr. Panaras had numerous publications in leading journals, such AIAA Journal, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and Progress in Aerospace Sciences, and he was the author of Aerodynamic Principles of Flight Vehicles, published by AIAA in the Library of Flight series.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Wonsever Died in October

Josef A. Wonsever died on 11 October. He was 69 years old.

Wonsever obtained his private pilot license at the age of 17. He attended the Polytechnic Institute on New York graduating with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He obtained a master’s degree in Engineering Administration from George Washington University.

Wonsever worked as a rocket scientist for over 40 years for both NASA Headquarters and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He was Chief for Technical Assessments for the SMA Directorate, Program Manager for the GSFC Technical Standards Program, and GSFC’s SMA Representative for Orbital Debris matters, making lasting contributions in Safety and Mission Assurance. In 2018, he earned NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, for exceptional and outstanding mission support.

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Obituary AIAA Fellow Vincenti Died in October

Walter G. Vincenti, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, who laid the engineering groundwork for flight at the speed of sound and helped develop the more efficient swept-wing airplane design still in use today, died on 11 October. He was 102.

Vincenti entered Stanford University in fall 1934, where he majored in mechanical engineering. After completing his undergraduate degree, Vincenti enrolled in Stanford’s aeronautics graduate program.

After graduating with an Engineer’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1940 he was invited to work at the newly developed Ames Aeronautical Laboratory. His team pioneered supersonic wind tunnel research at NACA. The mathematical framework they developed allowed for flight at the speed of sound, permanently changing aircraft efficiency and design. His findings prompted aerospace manufacturers to adopt the swept-wing aircraft model that remains an industry standard today.

Vincenti’s work caught the eye of Frederick Terman, the dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering. Looking to revive the Stanford aeronautics department, Terman offered Vincenti full professorship with tenure and Vincenti became a part of the Stanford faculty in January 1957.

Driven by the Space Age, Vincenti’s investigation of physical gas dynamics related to atmospheric spacecraft reentry put Stanford on the map for astronautics. He built a hypersonic wind tunnel at Stanford and in 1965 co-authored the textbook Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics, which remains a foundational book in the field.

In addition to his technical work, Vincenti began investigating the epistemology of technology, looking at engineering as an ethical issue. This led him to co-develop Stanford’s Program in Science, Technology and Society in 1971, where he served as the director several times.

In 1990, Vincenti published a historical book looking at the epistemology of engineering, titled What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History. This publication led to Vincenti being awarded the Engineer-Historian Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1997.

Over the course of his career, Vincenti received many awards for his work in aeronautics and in history of technology. Most recently, he was presented with the Daniel Guggenheim Medal, for a lifetime of work in aeronautics, and a 2019 Stanford Engineering Heroes Award. Vincenti was recognized as an AIAA Fellow in 1951 and in 1956 received a Rockefeller Public Service Award for advanced study at Cambridge University, where he worked on a heat shield for spacecraft returning through Earth’s atmosphere. For his devotion to students and skill as a teacher, he was awarded Stanford’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education in 1983. In 1998, Vincenti was honored for his contributions to technological history with the Leonardo da Vinci Medal, awarded by the Society for the History of Technology.

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Obituary AIAA Past President and Honorary Fellow Picard Died in October

Black and white portrait of a smiling man in a suit and tie with short, gray hair.
Dennis Picard. Credit: Picard Family

Dennis J. Picard, former CEO and chairman of Raytheon, died on 21 October. He was 87.

An Air Force airman after high school, Picard served as a radioman and took correspondence courses. Having graduated from the RCA Institute in New York as a licensed broadcast engineer, Picard ran his own repair business in Rhode Island before being hired at Raytheon.

Picard worked at Raytheon during the day and went to Northeastern University’s engineering school at night, graduating cum laude in 1962 with degrees in electrical engineering and management. He rose through the Raytheon ranks to become a company vice president in 1976 and deputy general manager of Raytheon’s Equipment Division in 1982.

In 1983, Picard was tapped to lead Raytheon’s Missile Systems Division, and specifically, to help complete the Patriot defense system. He helped turn around the program, which was then designed to defend against aircraft, and championed its development as an anti-missile system.

Picard became Raytheon CEO in March 1991, shortly after Patriot rose to fame during the Gulf War. As spending on national defense spending dropped in the early 1990s, Picard decided Raytheon would be a buyer, not a seller. He led the acquisition of both the Hughes and Texas Instruments defense units for $12.5 billion within 10 days of each other in January 1997. These acquisitions doubled the size of Raytheon, allowing it to become one of the world’s largest defense contractors. 

He retired as CEO in December 1998 and as board chairman in July 1999. 

Mr. Picard’s military-related honors included being inducted into the Army’s Order of Santa Barbara, along with receiving Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award from the Navy League of the United States, the John W. Dixon Medal from the Army, and the John R. Allison Award from the Air Force Association.

He also was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, served as president of AIAA (2001–2002), and was a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

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December 2019 AIAA Bulletin