May 2021

Member News 2021 Sperry Award Winner Works On Next-Generation Advanced Propulsion Capabilities that May Take Us to Mars

AIAA Associate Fellow Benjamin Jorns. (Right) Jorns in front of the Large Vacuum Test Facility in his laboratory at the University of Michigan. It is one of the largest, most powerful chambers in the world for electric propulsion testing. Credit: B. Jorns

From Sci-Fi to Electric Propulsion

As a big science fiction fan growing up, AIAA Associate Fellow Benjamin Jorns, the 2021 Lawrence Sperry Award winner, took the idea of space travel for granted. “The next planet is usually only a warp drive or wormhole away,” he noted. But as he got older, Jorns realized how hard it is to actually move in space and became interested in finding better, faster ways to reach the stars.

After reading a popular science article on a concept for faster-than-light travel proposed by Prof. Miguel Alcubierre, he thought, “This is what I wanted to do.” Jorns wrote to Prof. Alcubierre for his advice on how he could follow in his footsteps. The professor responded with a thoughtful note, explaining that “his warp drive was a theoretical construct that violated some of the stronger assumptions from general relativity.” Jorns remembered, “He recommended that if I wanted to work on advanced propulsion, I look into electric propulsion.”

Attending Yale for his undergraduate studies, Jorns picked physics as a major because it would help him figure out “how” and “why” things work. He also noted that “he placed a lot of value in a liberal arts education — I think it is very important for scientists and engineers to have depth that goes beyond their technical niche.”

He founded an undergraduate group called the “Yale Drop Team” to participate in the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity. The students constructed an experiment for a microgravity environment and took it on board the “Vomit Comet.” While the experiment unfortunately broke on the first flight, the students still had a great time.

Jorns also did a couple of summer internships as an undergraduate — one at Purdue and one at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “This latter experience introduced me to the field of plasma physics,” Jorns said, “which is the science underlying the propulsion systems I investigate. During my senior year, I had the opportunity to do my thesis under Prof. Juan de la Mora, whose work focuses on electrosprays. This technology, which can be used for electric propulsion, was my first exposure to the field.”

For graduate school, Jorns knew that Princeton University was the historical epicenter for advanced electric propulsion research in the country. “The lab was founded in the 1960s by the late Prof. Robert Jahn who literally wrote the book on electric propulsion,” he noted. “I had the opportunity to work under his former student, Prof. Edgar Choueiri, a pillar of the field in his own right. Prof. Choueiri’s program emphasized an appreciation for first-principles theory and experimental work that I have tried to carry forward with me in my own work.”

Translating Research into Application

After graduate school, Jorns joined the electric propulsion group at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This was an amazing experience where I had my first opportunity to work with real flight hardware. Nearly every day was an exciting opportunity to work on new and critical problems,” he said. “With that said, academia is a great sandbox for exploring new ideas and technology. I thought I could use some the technical skills I had at learned at JPL to go after some of the big, fundamental challenges in our field. When a position opened up to become co-director of the electric propulsion lab at University of Michigan, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Jorns started researching basic plasma questions related to wave-driven effects in Hall thrusters. He observed, “As time has passed, I have become increasingly interested in finding ways to translate my research directly to applications. I still emphasize basic science in my research group, but we do this work in service of improving current technologies, improving predictions of their performance, and finding new concepts that can advance our capabilities for space travel.”

He also noted, “In this spirit, I have become really interested in data-driven methods recently. We have been exploring ways to use re-enforced learning to try to fill in gaps in our understanding of Hall thrusters and to more rapidly optimize the operation of new and exciting but unproven concepts like FRC thrusters. This, I think, could lead to major breakthroughs in the near term.”

AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award

The AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award recognizes a notable contribution made by a young person, age 35 or under, to the advancement of aeronautics or astronautics. Jorns was honored “in recognition of his seminal experimental and theoretical work on wave-driven effects in Hall thrusters and his contributions to the development of advanced thruster technologies.” But he noted that many people have helped shape his career. “First, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family – particularly my wife, Jenna, and son, Calvin. They keep me centered and are an unwavering source of support. Prof. Edgar Choueiri (AIAA Fellow) gave me a deep appreciation for first-principles analysis and plasma physics. The late Dr. Cynthia Phillips of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab taught me everything I know about plasma waves. At NASA JPL, my group supervisor, Dr. Rich Hofer (AIAA Associate Fellow), and my senior colleagues, Dr. Dan Goebel (AIAA Fellow) and Dr. Ioannis Mikellides (AIAA Fellow), were hugely influential as teachers and mentors—particularly when it came to Hall thrusters. Alec Gallimore (AIAA Fellow, NAE member), the founder of the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory I now co-direct at Michigan, has been a guiding mentor throughout my career. He is an example to aspire to. I also would like to acknowledge both NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research who have supported my work in my early career.”

He also acknowledged his students, both at JPL and the University of Michigan. “This has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career so far, and I definitely would not be where I am professionally without their help.”

Looking to the Future

Jorns is intrigued by small space as it has developed over the past decade, and he noted that “there are a lot of interesting physics-based and technical challenges with developing thrusters for this new paradigm. I think there is a lot to look forward to in that sphere in the next couple of years.”

However, he is most excited about the new age of in-space electric propulsion (EP). “Hundreds of spacecraft have EP on board for station keeping and orbit raising. NASA, ESA, and JAXA have all flown or proposed robotic missions with EP. The next technical hurdle is scaling up in power. State-of-the-art electric propulsion devices in orbit operate at ~5 kW and are used exclusively for robotic vehicles,” he observed. “If we could increase that power level by a factor of 100 or 1000, crewed exploration would become a real possibility. We could be sending people to Mars and beyond with electric propulsion.”

He noted that the National Academy of Sciences has a roadmap to illustrate how to use electric propulsion to support a Mars mission as early as 2039 if thrusters can be developed that can handle MWs of power, power supplies (nuclear) can generate this power with low mass penalty, and test facilities can demonstrate these concepts. “My goal is to help build the hardware and numerical and experimental tools that will help contribute to this vision of EP-enabled space exploration,” said Jorns. “We recently started going down this path in earnest as a community. I will be the co-director of a newly funded NASA institute led by Prof. Mitchell Walker at Georgia Institute of Technology to develop high power electric propulsion test capabilities. This is the first step in building the infrastructure for realizing the next generation of advanced propulsion capabilities.”

The Value of AIAA Membership

In his first year of graduate school, Jorns attended a Joint Propulsion Conference and became an AIAA member. As that conference grew into the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum, it “was a wonderful vehicle for interacting with the leading experts in the field,” he remarked. “I have served on the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee since 2014, and I have had a number of roles including membership chair and website organizer. This has been a particularly rewarding service.” And he has helped to inspire the next generation as a faculty advisor for the AIAA University of Michigan Student Branch, which “has been a pretty easy gig so far. The students are extremely capable and organized. It is great to be part of such an active organization with such enthusiastic students.”

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AIAA Foundation Making an Impact: Space for an Impactful Match

Caleb and Rayon chatting. Credit: R. Harris

Rayon Harris graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2019 and now works at Lockheed Martin as an aeronautical engineer with a focus on structural design. He has recently joined AIAA’s Mentor Match program and has been paired with Caleb Anderson.

Caleb, a twelve-year-old boy from Marietta, GA, loves outer space and has a dream of becoming an aerospace engineer; he was recently accepted to Georgia Tech beginning with the fall 2021 semester. He is one of AIAA’s newest high school members and perhaps our youngest member entering college this fall. This unique situation is what makes this mentorship so impactful.

When establishing a mentor-mentee relationship it is important for it to feel natural. Rayon states “the most important part to the start to any relationship is for all parties to feel comfortable whenever they communicate. Anything that feels forced can potentially be a step in the wrong direction.” During Rayon’s first conversation with Caleb, he realized that Caleb was being raised by Caribbean parents and there was an instant connection as Rayon was also raised by Caribbean parents.

Despite all of Caleb’s amazing accomplishments Rayon said, “what first sparked my interest in wanting to develop a relationship with him was seeing how passionate he is in aerospace at such an early age. It reminded me of myself when I discovered I wanted to 100% become an aerospace engineer at the age of 13.”

Rayon and Caleb meet one to two times per month virtually, with the hope of meeting in person in the future. Rayon’s goal is to take Caleb and his family to NASA Kennedy Space Center to view some of the exhibits. “He’s never been and would be super excited to go,” added Rayon.

AIAA launched the High School Membership program this past March and is encouraging all high school members to participate in the Mentor Match program as well to receive the same mentorship Rayon provides to Caleb.

If you are interested in signing up as a mentor or mentee, please visit engage.aiaa.org/mentor-match. Learn more about High School Membership at aiaa.org/hs.

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AIAA Foundation 2021 Regional Student Conferences Announce Winners

AIAA is pleased to announce the winners of six of the 2021 Regional Student Conferences. AIAA sponsors student conferences in each AIAA region for student members at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In typical years, students present their research in person and are judged on technical content and clarity of communication by professional members from industry. This year, conferences were held virtually, but were still hosted by student branches.

The first-place winners in each category (listed below) are invited to attend and present their papers at the AIAA International Student Conference held in conjunction with the 2022 AIAA SciTech Forum in San Diego, CA, 3–7 January.

Region I

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Novel Structural Connector System for In-space Assembly of Truss Structures,” Ian Down, University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
• 2nd Place – “Convolutional Neural Network Modeling of Secondary Instabilities of Stationary Crossflow Vortices,” Richard Qiu, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
• 3rd Place – “Constrained Control of a Simulated UAV Using a Learning-Based Explicit Reference Governor,” Michael Higgins and Laurent Burlion, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

Master’s Category

• 1st Place – “Wake Structure Analysis of a Pitching Blunt Body Using Particle Image Velocimetry and Computational Fluid Dynamics,” Forrest Miller, Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA)
• 2nd Place – “Employing CARS to determine flame temperature of ethylene/air counterflow diffusion flames,” Sean Alberts and Chloe Dedic, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
• 3rd Place – “AI on the edge and in the air: Using deep learning to automate drones,” Bhavesh Narala, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “The Zero-G Drone,” Jonathan Snyder, Jenna Wendt, Alejandro Salvador-Garcia, Raneem Elsayed, Pamela Grullon, and Huan Min, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)
• 2nd Place – “Subglacial ocean Probe Exploration, Access, and Research (SPEAR),” Jack Gallagher, Nathaniel Ruppert, Olivia Garcia, Alexandra Nordmann, State University of New York–Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
• 3rd Place – “Multi-Mode Hybrid Unmanned Delivery System: Combining Fixed-Wing and Multi-Rotor Aircraft,” Paul Wang, Muhammet Gungor, Camil Andruch, Nolan Angelia, Weihao Cheng, and Onur Bilgen, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

Region II

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Reducing the Computational Cost of Bicycle Wheel CFD using BEM,” Drew Vigne and Michael Kinzel, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
• 2nd Place – “Comparison of 3D confocal Raman and high energy X-ray diffraction for the measurement of molten sand infiltration in turbine blade coatings,” Vanessa D’Esposito, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
• 3rd Place – “Developing a Flapping Gear System for Butterfly-Inspired Motion,” Frederick Schulze and Chang-Kwon Kang, University of Alabama in Huntsville, (Huntsville, AL)

Master’s Category

• 1st Place – “Low Gravity Natural Convection and Pool Boiling Predictions,” Ashley Milligan, University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)
• 2nd Place – “Prediction of Noise from Turbulent Boundary Layers with Suction,” Achyuth Rajendran and Steven Miller, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
• 3rd Place – “Flight Test Point Optimization Program for a Self-Protection Application,” Oscar Klempay, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “Proposal for austere light attack aircraft – Project Aardvark,” Joseph Hayes, Andrew Heath, Brady Alexander, Spencer Grady, Jorge Velasco, Noah Jorgensen, Veronica Rodriguez, and Joshua Richardson, University of Alabama in Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)
• 2nd Place – “Dynamics of a 9-DOF Heterogeneous Robotic Platform for Spacecraft Motion Emulation,” Celeste Newman, Hunter Quebedeaux, and Ryan Ketzner, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
• 3rd Place – “Kestrel Aeronautics: KA-Ranger,” Madison Smith, Jason Burke, John McDonough, Lindsey Dow, Connor Hawkins, Nathaniel Matthews, Thomas Key, and Wyatt Dritz, University of Alabama in Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)

Freshman/Sophomore Open Topic Category*

• 1st Place – “Effect of Varying Reynolds Number on the Aerodynamic Design of Lifting Surfaces,” Seshan Jayapregasham, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL)
• 2nd Place – “Slotted, Natural-Laminar-Flow Airfoil: A Revolutionary Technology for Fuel Efficiency,” Sreya Kumpatla and Stephanie TerMaath, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)
• 3rd Place – “Trust the Process: An Investigation into Astrophotography,” Neil Adake, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Regional Design Team Category*

• 1st Place – “Affordable Earth Return On-Demand Reentry Vehicle Design,” Sean Dungan, Kevin Fernandez Villanueva, and Mamoon Syed, Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
• 2nd Place – “University of Memphis Rocket Testing Team,” Matt Sale, James Bay, Zhibo Liu, Emma Hill, and David Boers, University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)

Outstanding Student Branch Activity Category*

• 1st Place – “UGA Community Outreach Project – Space Race: A Voyage to the Moon Board Game,” submitted by Trevor Houghton on behalf of the AIAA University of Georgia Student Branch (Athens, GA)
• 2nd Place – “Meet the Geeks,” submitted by Sarah Ketchersid on behalf of the AIAA Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Student Branch (Daytona Beach, FL)
• 3rd Place – “NC State Student Branch of AIAA’s Outstanding Student Branch Activity,” submitted by Carissa Hardy on behalf of the AIAA North Carolina State University Student Branch (Raleigh, NC)

*Additional category sponsored by Region II only

Region III

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Optimizing Trajectories for Unpowered Hypersonic Waveriders during Atmospheric Reentry,” Jonathan Richmond, Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
• 2nd Place – “Application of Counterrotating Blade Rows for the Purpose of Increasing Power Density of Axial-Flow Rocket Engine Pumps,” Forrest Lim, Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “Evaluation of Regenerative Cooling Channels for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion,” Benjamin Stefanko, William Mullin, Emmanuel Adu, Keaton Melendez, Aaron Bell, and Grant Davis, Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

Region IV

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Aerodynamic Performance of a Low Aspect Ratio Active Rear Wing Package Designed for the OSU Formula SAE Team,” Tanner Price and Ryan Paul, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
• 2nd Place – “Copper-Infused, 3D-Printed Filament: Manufacturing and Preliminary Impact Testing,” Nicolas Fabbri and Amber McClung, St Mary’s University of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
• 3rd Place – “Probabilistic Structural Fatigue and Risk Analysis on the PIPER -PA-28 Fleet, A Case Study,” Manuel Carvajal and Maria Isabel Vallejo Ciro, Universidad de Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia) and St Mary’s University of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)

Master’s Category

• 1st Place – “Preliminary Adaptation of Speech Source Localization Algorithm for Reduced Bandwidth of Interest in Tornadic Infrasound Signals,” Brandon White and Ujjval Patel, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
• 2nd Place – “Development of High-Speed Data Acquisition Triggering Systems for Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Applications,” Valeria Delgado Elizondo and Elijah Lalonde, University of Texas, San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
• 3rd Place – “Parametric Analysis of Surface Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasma Actuators,” Andrew Quinton, Jamey Jacob, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “Microplastics and Extremophiles in the Stratosphere,” James Simmons, Edgar Bering, Chloe Tovar, Desmond Etumnu, Phillip Pham, Hai Pham, Maxwell Omanga, and Harrison Azbell, University of Houston, Central Campus (Houston, TX)
• 2nd Place – “A Mass Simulator for Development of Rocket-Assisted Take-Off Systems of Unmanned Aircraft,” Christopher Rathman, Seth Robbins, Sidney Francis, and Jacob Mobley, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
• 3rd Place – “Constructing a Lightweight, Balloon-borne Instrument to Measure Atmospheric Conductivity at Two Latitudes,” Alexandra Ulinski, Elizabeth Hernandez, Rachel Nathan, Andy Nguyencuu, and Adrian Rangel, University of Houston (Houston, TX)

Region V

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Effect of Varying Propeller Pitch Angle on Efficiency and Noise Production,” Luca Zeitvogel and Charles Wisniewski, United States Air Force Academy (CO)
• 2nd Place – “Experimental Investigation of Shark Skin-Inspired Surface Treatments,” Emily Berexa and William Decker, United States Air Force Academy (CO)
• 3rd Place – “Relationships Between Characteristic Detonation Length Scales” – Noah Pritchard and Mitchell Hageman, United States Air Force Academy (CO)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “Vibrissae Inspired Mechanical Obstacle Avoidance Sensor for the Venus Exploration Rover AREE,” Benjamin Alva, Raghav Bhagwat, Blake Hartwell, Emma Bernard, and Vinayak Rajesh, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
• 2nd Place – “Functional LiDAR Analysis of Structural Health (FLASH),” Courtney Kelsey, Kunal Sinah, Jake Fuhrman Shray Chauhan, Ishaan Kochhar, Julian Lambert, Andrew Fu, Fiona McGann, Erik Stolz, and Ricky Carlson, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO)
• 3rd Place – “Passive Orbit Determination Based on Time Delay of Arrival,” Keith Poletti, Ryan Prince, Noah Francis, Colin Ruark, Sam Firth, Tyler Pirner, and E Forest Owen, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO)

Region VI

Undergraduate Category

• 1st Place – “Measuring Electron Temperature and Density of a Sheared-Flow Z-Pinch Plasma Exhaust Plume,” Michelle Graebner, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
• 2nd Place – “An origami-based system for frequency bandgap tuning,” Gloria Yin, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
• 3rd Place – “Free Vibration of an Airplane Wing under Coupled Bending and Torsion: Approximation of the natural frequencies using uncoupled mode shapes for torsion and bending,” Kellen Andrew and Arnold Deffo, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, CA)

Master’s Category

• 1st Place – “Investigation of Hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene Droplets Impacting Ammonium Perchlorate and Polytetrafluoroethylene Surfaces,” Sahson Raissi and Joseph Kalman, California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
• 2nd Place – “Comparison of Ammonium Perchlorate Pressed Pellets versus Single Crystal Wettability with Hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene,” Aaren Cortes and Joseph Kalman California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
• 2nd Place – “Wind Tunnel Force Balance Calibration at the San Diego State University Low Speed Wind Tunnel,” Bradley Zelenka, Aldair Herrejon-Andrade, and Xiafeng Liu, San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
• 3rd Place – “Best Practices for STAR-CCM+ 2D Hypersonic Flow,” Nicholas Johnson and Eun Jung Chae, California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)

Team Category

• 1st Place – “Design of a Modular and Orientable Electrodynamic Shield for Lunar Dust Mitigation,” Luis Pabon Madrid, Malcom Tisdale, Isabella Dula, Polina Verkhovodova, Jules Penot, Leah Soldner, Kaila Coimbra, Tanmay Gupta, Rithvik Musuku, and Soon-Jo Chung, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)
• 2nd Place – “Design and analysis of MataMorph-3: An experimental fully morphing UAV with camber-morphing wings and tail stabilizers,” Luis Ferrusquilla, Peter Bishay, James Kok, Brian Espinosa, Andrew Heness, Antonio Buendia, Sevada, Hezarjaribi, Paul Lacson, Jonathan D Ortiz, Ruiki Basilio, and Daniel Olvera, California State University, Northridge (Northridge, CA)
• 2nd Place – “A Novel Staged Warm Gas Thruster for CubeSats,” Michael Mastrangelo, Spencer Powers, Connor Powers, Kamyar Zarkoub, and Spencer Wing, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
• 3rd Place – “UAV Flight Disruption via Acoustic Focusing,” Miles Kay, Emma Roberson, Miranda Costigan, and Criss Edwards, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

Thank you to Lockheed Martin for being a sponsor of these conferences.

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AIAA Announcements New Standards Committee

The AIAA Standards Steering Committee recently approved a new Committee on Standards (CoS) and a new project on Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) and On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) – Spacecraft Fiducial Markers. The new CoS will be called On-Orbit Servicing and Assembly (OSA) and will be responsible for developing the new standard on RPO and OOS – Spacecraft and Fiducial Markers. The scope of the standard is to establish RPO and OOS operating zones and approaches in the rendezvous phase. The standard also covers both robotic and Human Spaceflight (HSF) missions. International Space Station practices, SpaceLogistics MEV-1, and NASA’s Restore-L are used as a basis for this standard. Stakeholders include a broad array of RPO/OOS industry participants from spacecraft equipment manufacturers, spacecraft operators, service providers, developers of RPO/OOS simulation, planning and safety tools, and insurers. It is intended to help establish responsible norms of behavior for RPO and OOS. For more information on how to participate in this project, please contact Nick Tongson (nickt@aiaa.org).

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Mara Died in June 2019

Jeanne Lee Mara, 65, died on 3 June 2019.

Ms. Mara was the President and CEO of Intelligent Light. Her leadership and guidance over the last 25 years built the company into a leader in the industry. In the late 1980s, she ran the computer animation operation for the company, producing pioneering CGI pieces for HBO, Cinemax, Nickleodeon, and many others.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Aung Died in January

Dr. Kendrick Aung. Credit: Aung Family

Dr. Kendrick Aung, 60, died on 13 January.

Aung, a mechanical engineering graduate from Rangoon Institute of Technology in Burma, earned his master’s degree in energy technology from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and his doctorate in aerospace from the University of Michigan. Aung was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology from 1996 to 1998. In January 1999, he joined the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California as a research assistant professor. In 2001, he joined Lamar University as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Aung had served as interim department chair since June 2020.

He was a gifted teacher, exceptional mentor always enthusiastic about his work with students and his research and an acclaimed academic who devoted himself to his discipline.

While at Lamar University, Aung mentored more than 50 senior Capstone design teams, and several of those teams won prizes and scholarships in regional and national design competitions. He served as faculty mentor to two McNair Scholars and he sponsored a paper published by a group of undergraduate students, “A Parametric Study of a 4-Stroke Motorcycle Exhaust System,” 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and RD&D Exposition in November 2004. Aung also received six senior design project grants from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Aung was the faculty advisor for student branches of several engineering societies.

Aung was recognized with the Presidential Faculty Fellow for Innovation in Teaching Activity award in 2014 and 2015 and the Distinguished Faculty Fellow for Teaching award twice (2015–2018 and 2018–2021). He received the Presidential Fellowship in Research in 2014 and the Tim Kendall Memorial Prize from the Asian Institute of Technology in 1991. In 2019, he was the recipient of Lamar University’s 2019 University Professor Award. His research on renewable energy and energy systems, hydrogen flames and combustion, and alternative fuels was widely published and presented at conferences.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Weisenburger Died in March

Henry F. Weisenburger, age 96, died on 16 March.

Weisenburger was a member of CAP Coastal Patrol #3 during World War II before attending the University of Miami and the University of Florida. He graduated in 1951 from the University of Florida’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
His vocation of aeronautical engineering spanned 45 years. Weisenburger working for three companies including MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Raytheon, and he had remarkable contributions and accomplishments.

He was a member of AIAA for 70 years. When he was in Gainesville, FL, he would attend the monthly breakfasts at the Keystone Heights Airport. 

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Obituary AIAA Fellow Lunney Died in March

Glynn Lunney, 84, died on 19 March.

After two years at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Mr. Lunney transferred to the University of Detroit (now the University of Detroit Mercy), where he studied engineering and took part in a cooperative training program with a forerunner of NASA. He joined the space agency after his graduation in 1958.

Lunney was selected in the Class of 1963 with John Hodge and Gene Kranz, and became NASA’s fourth flight director. Flight directors are responsible for leading teams of flight controllers, research and engineering experts, and support personnel around the world, and making real-time decisions critical to keeping NASA astronauts and missions safe and successful in space. A key leader of NASA human spaceflight operations, Lunney was a member of the original Space Task Group at NASA Langley Research Center. After moving to Houston, the task group eventually became the Manned Spacecraft Center, now NASA Johnson Space Center. He was a flight director for the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, and was lead flight director for Apollo 7 (the first crewed Apollo flight) and Apollo 10 (the dress rehearsal for the first moon landing) at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston.

He led the mission control team credited with helping to save three Apollo 13 astronauts aboard a spacecraft disabled on the way to the moon. On 13 April 1970, after an oxygen tank in the Apollo 13 service module exploded on the way to the moon, his team reacted quickly and effectively to prepare the astronauts and their spacecraft to complete a safe-return trajectory around the moon and return home safely. Under Lunney’s direction, the team innovated and worked with the astronauts to deliberately shut down the command module systems so that the lunar module could be used as a lifeboat for the crew during the journey home to Earth. His team’s work was widely credited with keeping the crew alive and safe while longer-term plans were developed for a successful reentry and splashdown. Lunney received the Presidential Medal of Freedom as part of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team.

Over the course of his career at NASA, Lunney worked on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. He was technical director in the planning and negotiations that led to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) that culminated in the docking of an American Apollo and a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on 17 July 1975. This helped lead the way for today’s cooperative international efforts on the International Space Station. Lunney retired from NASA in 1985 as manager of the Space Shuttle Program, but continued to lead human spaceflight activities in private industry with Rockwell International and United Space Alliance, before retiring in 1998.

Besides being an AIAA Fellow, Lunney was also recognized by AIAA with the Louis W. Hill Space Transportation Award (1965), the Lawrence Sperry Award (1970), and the Goddard Astronautics Award (2014).

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May 2021 AIAA Bulletin