December 2021

Making an Impact: 2021 AIAA Foundation Wrap-Up

A few photos of the AIAA Foundation's work in action. Credit: AIAA

For 25 years, the AIAA Foundation has been inspiring and supporting the next generation of aerospace professionals.

We are excited to share some highlights of the year with you:

• Received a $1 million grant from Blue Origin’s Club for the Future for future programming
• Presented over $100,000 in scholarships to deserving students, including 4 inaugural high school scholarships in honor of Roger Kahn
• Established a new AIAA Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson Scholarship for students in need
• Supported 45 diversity scholars at AIAA forums
• Awarded 83 educators across the world with classroom grants that will impact over 16,000 students
• Matched 100 students and mentors through our new Mentor Match program

In addition, we have set an ambitious goal of reaching a million students per year with meaningful aerospace engagement projects. We can only achieve this reach through partnerships, and we’re grateful to our many existing partners as well as five new ones that were established this year! We are pleased to welcome these new partners to the AIAA Foundation family:

• Challenger Center: Partnering for a new Trailblazing STEM Educator Award
• AstroAccess: Launching people with disabilities into space
• Discovery Science Center and Planetarium: Implementing a new pilot museum program
• Galileo Program: Providing digital platform content for students and teachers
• National Science Teaching Association/Estes: Creating rocket curricula for teachers

Please help us celebrate our silver anniversary with a special gift, which would mean so much to the teachers, students, and future generations of aerospace professionals that we work with. To give, please visit www.aiaa.org/foundation to log in and donate or mail a check to AIAA Foundation, 12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191.

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AIAA Announcements Call for Papers: 2022 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference

The 2022 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference will be held 7–10 August 2022 at the Sheraton Le Méridien Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC (pending no further disruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic). 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
• Machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to space flight problems
• 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)
• Spacecraft autonomy and decision making
• Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Conjunction Analysis (CA), and collision avoidance
• Trajectory / mission / maneuver design and optimization

The abstract deadline is 1 April 2022. More information can be found at

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Section News The Sky is Falling! A Brief Primer on the Problem of Space Debris

Professor William Schonberg. Credit: Missouri University of Science and Technology

By Michael Spencer, AIAA Sydney Section & Tjasa Boh-Whiteman, Co-Chair

On 7 October 2021, from his Missouri office, Dr. William Schonberg spoke to the AIAA Sydney Section about the issues and risks of space debris to the orbital space environment and to space missions. Dr. Schonberg is a Professor of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST). Dr. Schonberg explained how the Earth orbital environment is cluttered with space debris, and understanding space debris, including its locations and collision risks, is essential to inform existing and future space programs and astronaut safety. Space surveillance and traffic management are critical elements to managing collision risks in space traffic management.

Since Sputnik was launched in 1957, the space race has exponentially increased the number of space launches and artificial objects in orbit. Satellites were being launched into two distinctly popular orbital regions—low Earth orbits and geosynchronous orbits. Over nearly 65 years, about 7,000 spacecraft have been launched into orbit, with approximately 3,500 spacecraft still resident in orbit. Today, only about 1,000 of those spacecraft are still functional.

Future predictions estimate that up to 65,000 new satellites will be launched in the next five to ten years. This is not necessarily all bad news since they will bring communications to places without internet access, and the increase in internet speed and reach will be good for business and disaster management. However, the exponential increase in orbiting space objects also will increase the probability of an on-orbit impact by a piece of space junk.

Space debris accumulates as satellites become defunct, as pieces of debris are jettisoned as a planned event in a space mission or have fallen off satellites after mechanical failures, or as a result of accidental on-orbit spacecraft collisions. Spacecraft materials deteriorate in space and near-empty fuel tanks explode in spent rocket boosters. Many legacy-designed spacecraft were launched in the early days when satellites had no regard for clearing the orbits or concerns for collision risks. Old spacecraft have expired and continue uncontrollably in orbit. Nobody back then foresaw what a mess space debris could make in the orbital environment. And currently, Dr. Schonberg said, “That’s one of the interesting things about law in outer space—we’re still kind of in the formative stages here. You’re supposed to list dangerous ingredients in food and that’s kind of like law in most countries. But no, you’re not required by law to list if your satellite died. You don’t have to tell anybody about it, which is kind of interesting.”

Can we clean this up? If we do nothing, is this situation going to get better or worse? Better computational modelling is assisting with predictions of spacecraft breakups to help improve designs; satellites configured with propulsion systems keep a reserve of fuel to perform a de-orbiting maneuver at the end of their mission; popularly used small satellites that are too small to integrate propulsion system are confined to the lower orbital altitudes where aerodynamic drag can eventually remove them from orbit.

Additionally, research efforts are being focused on technology and space missions that can remove debris from orbit. However, the contest between investment costs and returns of investments divides opinions on whether the priority should be on the small number of large-sized defunct satellites or the much larger number of much smaller sized space junk. All debris presents challenges for recovery planning to mitigate risks to current and future space missions and astronaut safety. Dr. Schonberg believes we need to educate the next generation, and referring to a children’s book on the International Space Station, he noted “They were talking about space debris and Whipple shields. Wow. How cool is that? And I think ultimately that’s what we have to do; we have to teach our children to help each other to be mindful about what it is that we do in outer space, and that space is a limited resource.”

Dr. Schonberg, an AIAA Fellow and recipient of the 1995 Lawrence Sperry Award for his work on the design of spacecraft protection systems, completed resident research in Australia as the 2019 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology. He contributed a chapter to a collaborative book, “Project Asteria 2019: Space Debris, Space Traffic Management and Space Sustainability,” on a joint project in space operations and space law between Australian, New Zealand, and U.S. researchers. The project is named Asteria after the Greek mythical goddess of shooting stars—a phenomenon that includes the bright and colourful re-entering space debris objects. The pdf version is freely available for downloading from https://airpower.airforce.gov.au/publications/project-asteria-2019-space-debris-space-traffic-management-and-space-sustainability.

The AIAA Sydney Section is grateful for the opportunity to host Professor Schonberg and share his experiences and insights into the nature and problems of orbital space debris. A video recording of this AIAA Sydney Section event is available for viewing on the AIAA Sydney Section’s Facebook and YouTube channels at https://youtu.be/hZggVfwz_6s.

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Section News AIAA Greater Huntsville Section Ignites Interest in Rocket Science at STEAMfest 2021

AIAA Greater Huntsville Section booth at STEAMfest 2021. Credit: AIAA Greater Huntsville Section

By Robin Osborne, Pre-College Outreach Director, AIAA Greater Huntsville Section

The AIAA Greater Huntsville Section (GHS) contributed to an exciting day of interactive science by hosting a large booth at STEAMfest 2021. According to Joe Iacuzzo, founder and director of the Huntsville Science Festival, over 4,500 people attended the festival on 30 October at the Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville. Visitors to the AIAA GHS booth enjoyed activities such as launching small 3D-printed rockets, a “tour” of a scaled-down Saturn V rocket via Lego Saturn V models, an introduction to cryogenic materials through intriguing dry ice demonstrations, and aerospace-themed arts and crafts. Jeremy Fehrenbacher, AIAA GHS member and owner of the non-profit charity, Carve Out Tomorrow, brought a Bernoulli demonstrator, small tesla coil, thermal engines, and other fascinating items to share with booth visitors.

Future engineers and rocket scientists were excited to help assemble the 3D-printed rockets and watch them propel high into the air from the thrust generated by the chemical reaction inside the rockets’ film-canister engines. Children and adults alike delighted in seeing 1:110-scale Lego models of the Saturn V rocket that took humans to the moon. In addition to sharing interesting facts about the Saturn V rocket, AIAA volunteers showed visitors the multiple rocket stages, the number and relative sizes of the different engines, the lunar lander and command modules, and other important features of the rocket.

Dry ice sublimating in the bottom of large, graduated cylinders in a mixture of water, dish soap, and food coloring formed lots of mesmerizing carbon dioxide bubbles that young festival goers were anxious to touch, examine, and observe. Many visitors noted how much faster the heavy CO2-filled bubbles dropped in comparison to the light, air-filled bubbles that were also being generated at the booth. Guests could attempt to hold larger “ghost bubbles” in their hands that would pop and leave behind a fog of white vapor.

There were also plenty of arts and crafts, including aerospace-themed wooden ornaments for guests to decorate for AIAA GHS’s Christmas tree that will be part of the 2021 Tinsel Trail in downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park in December. Tinsel Trail is an annual event in which local businesses, organizations, and families participate to promote community.

AIAA GHS’s participation in STEAMfest 2021 was made possible by the sponsorship of ERC, a company headquartered in Huntsville that was also a major contributor to STEAMfest 2021. ERC engineer and YouTube personality Destin Sandlin of “Smarter Every Day” fame served as the keynote speaker for the festival.

The AIAA GHS Council appreciates the assistance and support of Michele Armstrong, ERC’s Charitable Giving and Community Outreach Coordinator, for working with AIAA GHS to make this year’s booth both entertaining and educational.

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Section News AIAA San Diego Section Awards 2021 Fleet Scholarships

2021 Fleet Scholarship winners. Credit: AIAA San Diego Section

By Chris Root, Reuben H. Fleet Scholarship Coordinator, AIAA San Diego Section

Each year the AIAA San Diego Section awards a total of $10,000 in scholarships for up to ten students pursuing a career in aerospace. This annual scholarship is made possible by the donations from AIAA San Diego Section members and the San Diego Foundation’s Reuben H. Fleet Fund.Since 1983, the section has awarded 214 scholarships totaling $275,700 to deserving students in our region who are pursuing aerospace-related studies.

This year’s scholarship winners are:

Christopher Davami is a Senior at San Diego State University majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. His older brother (a recent SDSU graduate) and his mother also are both Aerospace Engineers. In addition to being an AIAA member, he holds a leadership position in the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and is also a member of the SDSU Rocket Project. This summer he will be doing an internship with NASA Langley Research Center.

Ian Jackson is a senior at San Diego State University, majoring in aerospace engineering with minors in oceanography and honors interdisciplinary studies. He has participated in SDSU Rocket Project and the AIAA SDSU Student Branch. Ian plans on attending graduate school and conducting research in spacecraft propulsion. He is also interested in biomimicry as it relates to transferring nature’s solutions to technical applications in aviation.

David Markov just graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He has completed summer internships in manufacturing in commercial aviation, configuration management and risk management, and marketing and communications within the defense industry. David participated in AIAA Design/Build/Fly, including serving as project manager for the past two years. He was also part of UC San Diego’s AIAA Student Branch leadership board.

Reiley Weekes is an aerospace engineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego researching fluid mechanics and combustion. He previously earned his bachelor’s from UC San Diego in mechanical engineering, and following a year in industry at Northrop Grumman, he returned to UC San Diego and earned his master’s in aerospace engineering. Reiley interned with the propulsion group at ABL Space Systems in summer 2021.

More information on 2022 FLEET scholarship dates and
deadlines can be found at aiaa-sd.org/reuben-h-fleet-scholarship.

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Obituary AIAA Associate Fellow Greatrix Died in June

David R. Greatrix of Penticton, B.C., age 62, died on 30 June 2021.

Mr. Greatrix received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1987. He was a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Ryerson University for 25 years, and his research on rocket propulsion is internationally recognized.

He was the author of Powered Flight – The Engineering of Aerospace Propulsion, a popular internationally well-received engineering textbook, as well as numerous technical papers. Mr. Greatrix was a frequent attendee at the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and the Joint Propulsion Conference. He was a member of the AIAA Solid Rockets Technical Committee for several years.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Baker Died in September

Mary Baker. Credit: Baker Family

Mary Baker, chairman and senior technical director at ATA Engineering, died on 7 September 2021 at age 77.

In 1966 Baker was the first B.S. graduate of the new Engineering Mechanics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1972 she received her Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics at Caltech, where she was the only woman Ph.D. student in engineering. Afterward, she briefly worked for IBM in New York and for Rohr Industries and Systems Science & Software in California.

In 1977 Baker joined the newly established San Diego office of Structural Dynamics Research Corporation. SDRC did pioneering work in mechanical computer-aided design and had developed several novel technologies, most notably the use of 3D solid modeling, and she adapted these technologies to the aerospace industry.

Baker led a NASA project during the early stages of the space station design that used the solid modeling capability to define and communicate the current design configuration to the participating NASA centers and contractors working in various disciplines. The resulting software, called IDEAS2, ensured that consistent models were used through each design iteration.

Baker also led a multidisciplinary team in the design, analysis, and testing of the Space Shuttle and its components. The team performed modal tests on many components that revealed damage that had previously been missed upon inspection. Because of this, NASA used the SDRC-developed tests to inspect the shuttle for damage between flights. After the Challenger accident, the team developed and implemented novel computer methods for modeling solid rocket boosters with enough detail to reproduce the opening of the O-ring joint that was the cause of the accident. Modeling this failure was not possible with previous methods.

While at SDRC, Baker began a long-term relationship with Pratt & Whitney on liquid rocket engines. She was the SDRC principal investigator supporting Pratt & Whitney’s development of the RL10B-2 engine, which powers the upper stage of the Delta IV launch vehicle. She was responsible for determining dynamic loads for the deployable nozzle that allowed the RL10 engine to increase its performance significantly but still fit within the payload fairing of the first-stage booster. Baker eventually worked on rocket engines from all major suppliers in the United States.

As vice president of the aerospace division of SDRC, Baker negotiated a friendly spinoff of that division in 2000 to form a new company called ATA Engineering with her as chairman and, later, president. ATA has since grown from 28 employees to nearly 200.

Baker promoted and practiced a visionary leadership philosophy that was refreshingly different from the prevailing one in industry. She insisted that ATA be 100% employee owned from the outset because she saw that it eliminated conflicts between employees and owners. Baker also wanted ATA to focus on continually developing and applying novel engineering methods to challenging problems rather than maximizing revenue and profit. She recognized that ATA’s competitive edge was having an outstanding technical staff who could develop new methods. Rather than keep those methods proprietary, she thought it was better to openly share them with customers because that was in their best interest.

Baker structured ATA to allow senior management to be heavily involved in technical work. As ATA’s senior technical director, she oversaw ATA’s involvement in the testing, analysis, and design of two generations of Mars rovers developed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ATA’s efforts helped ensure the successful Mars landings of the Curiosity rover in 2012 and the Perseverance rover in 2021.

Baker received many awards but always said that they were only possible because of the talented staff that she recruited. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and received Distinguished Alumni Awards from both Caltech and the UW-Madison College of Engineering. She was a regular participant at the AIAA SciTech Forums and a Senior Member of AIAA.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Mattingly Died in September

Jack D. Mattingly. Credit: Mattingly Family

Jack D. Mattingly died on 26 September 2021 at the age of 77.

Mattingly earned a Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Washington, and a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

He served for 20 years in the United States Air Force as an officer, initially in the civil engineering field, but ultimately — under the tutelage of Professor Gordon C. Oates — was completely drawn into the propulsion field in 1982 when he received his Ph.D. “Uncle Jack,” as he was best known, loved to teach and did so for the past 50 years with a passion for masterfully challenging his students to think at a systems level by applying fundamental principles from a practical perspective. He taught at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), USAF Academy, Seattle University, and numerous professional development continuous education short courses that he developed. He won teaching excellence awards at Seattle University and AFIT. Mattingly was the architect of the Aircraft Engine Design system (AEDsys) suite of gas turbine engine cycle and component analysis and design software used in university classrooms and short courses. Many users say they have become better engineers because of the big-picture knowledge and insights they obtained from using this software.

Mattingly was very involved with AIAA from 1983 until his passing. He was one of the pioneers of the AIAA Education Series books as lead author of Aircraft Engine Design, published in 1987. He published a total of seven textbooks as the sole or primary author and was a major contributing author on an eighth book, Aircraft Engine Controls – Design, System Analysis, and Health Monitoring. He was two-time recipient of the Summerfield Book Award for best book recently published by AIAA in 2019, for Elements of Propulsion – Gas Turbines and Rockets, Second Edition, and in 2005, for Aircraft Engine Design, Second Edition.

As a member of the AIAA Air Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee, Mattingly headed up the first undergraduate air breathing propulsion design competition in 1987. Also, as a member of the Publications Committee, he was chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee responsible for the annual publication budget (1992–1996), and chairman of the Ethics Subcommittee (1997–2004).

Mattingly learned from and worked with many of the legends — Gordon Oates, William Heiser, Frank Gillette just to name a few — in the relatively short history of jet-powered flight. From 1986 to 1989 while in Dayton, OH, he frequently got together with the co-inventor of the jet engine, Hans von Ohain for fellowship over lunch or dinner. Their friendship led to the remarkable 38-page historical foreword by von Ohain that is provided in both editions of Elements of Propulsion – Gas Turbines and Rockets. From 2012 until his death, he was affiliated with Practical Aeronautics, Inc., providing short courses to engineers in the Department of Defense, NASA, and industry. He was recognized as an expert in the field and often was called upon to provide expert witness testimony and consulting in gas turbine propulsion. The extraordinarily large reach of his positive influence surely extends into the tens of thousands and his legacy will live on through these courses, his textbooks, software, and mentorship of many of us.

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December 2021 AIAA Bulletin