November 2018

AIAA Foundation Making an Impact: AIAA Thompson Scholarship Winner Finds the Right Audience in Aerospace

Two individuals in business attire stand together in front of an AIAA backdrop, promoting aerospace advancements.
David Thompson and Destiny Fawley Credit: AIAA

By Michele McDonald

For Destiny Fawley, her love of science began with a 7th grade science fair project after all the easy projects were taken, leaving her with electromagnetic radiation. AIAA’s David and Catherine Thompson Space Technology Scholarship winner dived deep and her presentation was so detailed that the teacher asked her to dial it back. Fawley simply hadn’t found the right audience yet.

Today, the aerospace engineering junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign certainly has found people who share her passion for the detailed and complex. She’s focused on fluid flow and aerodynamics, specifically as they relate to space.

“I like aerospace because I like challenging problems,” she said. “There’s so much about this planet we don’t know and we’re just learning about other exoplanets.”

Fawley met commercial space pioneer and AIAA Honorary Fellow David Thompson, who had invited her to attend the AIAA SPACE Forum in Orlando, FL. Thompson is the retired president and CEO of Orbital ATK, now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. He co-founded one of Orbital ATK’s predecessors, Orbital Sciences Corporation, in 1982. 

As well as meeting scholarship recipient Fawley, Thompson was at the forum to kick off the inaugural David W. Thompson Lecture in Space Commerce Award. GPS pioneer Charlie Trimble was the first speaker in the new lecture series.

Thompson has actively championed creating scholarships and lectures, among other philanthropic activities, to help build the aerospace community.

“My wife and I don’t come from wealthy families,” Thompson said. “We know how demanding these fields are. We want to help students focus on their studies and research.”

Thompson, who served as AIAA president from 2009 to 2010, encourages all former AIAA presidents to fund a scholarship. “The scholarship really helps me take full advantage of all the opportunities at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” Fawley said. “There’s so much I want to do and want to learn. This scholarship helps me do that—I can focus my time.”

Thompson and Fawley swapped stories about how they joined AIAA. For Thompson, it was 46 years ago as an MIT student, but he had previously written to AIAA for information about rockets when he was in the ninth grade. Fawley became involved with AIAA during her freshman year at the University of Illinois and quickly signed up with a 3D-printing UAV project. It was her first introduction to aerodynamics—and she was hooked.

“Earning the scholarship is an early sign that you’re going to do great things with your career,” Thompson said. “AIAA can help during the early stages of your career, so don’t drift away. Stick with it.”

Fawley plans to focus on space when she graduates and is working on Heat-shield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) material for atmospheric reentry. She’s interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Ames Research Center.

“I am currently creating a method to count layers of weave in the cross section of HEEET material pre- and post-arcjet test,” she said. “I used a template of one layer to get a correlation map across the entire image of how well that area matches, then used a series of filters to get the exact number of layers. The goal is to get a quantitative measurement of swelling by comparing the average height of layers before and after the arcjet.”
Thompson understands the pull of space. “Space-based science is a big enterprise and it’s been an exciting field for me for a long time,” he said.

Earth and planetary science also hold great opportunities, Thompson told Fawley, noting his company recently launched a satellite to measure Greenland’s icecaps. “To see where a hurricane is going to hit wasn’t possible 50 years ago,” he said.

And it’s supporting these future possibilities that prompted the Thompsons to invest in students. “To meet young people like Destiny—their determination and passion—leaves me encouraged about the future of our industry,” Thompson said. “It’s not an easy field. It’s challenging but it’s very rewarding as well.”

And to Fawley, he added: “I’ll follow your career with great interest.”

For more information on establishing a scholarship and making a difference in students’ lives, please visit aiaafoundation.org.

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Section News U.S.-Australian Cooperation Connects Australia's Tidbinbilla with Deep Space

A group of eight people, seven men and one woman, stand in front of banners with
AIAA Sydney Section and Dr. Kruzins, Director of NASA Operations, CSIRO CDSCC Tidbinbilla. Credit: AIAA Sydney Section

By Dr. Ed Kruzins, Director, NASA Operations, CDSCC Tidbinbilla, and Squadron Leader Michael Spencer, Air Power Development Centre, Royal Australian Air Force

“Technology, science and engineering excellence are obviously critical, but the real key to getting the job done for NASA is the quality of the Australian and international personnel communicating with the spacecraft, operating and maintaining the equipment, and keeping all aspects of CDSCC and the broader DSN running smoothly.”
– Dr E. Kruzins, Director NASA Operations, CDSCC Tidbinbilla

On 23 August, the AIAA Sydney Section hosted Dr Ed Kruzins, Program Director, NASA Operations at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) Tidbinbilla, to a public lecture. He has been the Director since 2012 and is responsible, along with about 90 Canberra–based Australian staff, to ensure on behalf of NASA & CSIRO, that CDSCC meets its daily space mission tracking obligations for about 40 international space missions operating throughout, and even beyond the Solar System. The AIAA Sydney Section Committee invited Dr Kruzins to speak about some of the complex technology at CDSCC Tidbinbilla, its importance to Australia, and provide highlights of some the key achievements realised with NASA space missions and space science.

The lecture attracted a broad and diverse audience which include veterans who were first generation operators at CDSCC Tidbinbilla, with experiences that included support for NASA’s Apollo 11 moon mission. The following narrative is a detailed synopsis of the talk that was delivered by Dr Kruzins about the CDSCC Tidbinbilla at this AIAA event.

History of CDSCC Tidbinbilla

Australia’s space history began in Woomera in the 1950s with the development of the first space tracking facility outside of the United States at Island Lagoon. As the space race continued, additional stations were constructed in Western Australia at Muchea (to support crewed Mercury missions) and Carnarvon (for the Gemini program). Additional sites were built in Queensland at Cooby Creek (near Toowoomba) as part of the NASA “satellite tracking and data acquisition network” (STADAN), along with Orroral Valley, ACT. In 1967, the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station was established near Canberra specifically to support the Apollo program.

As NASA accelerated its lunar and planetary exploration efforts, so too did the need to expand its tracking networks around the world. While the “manned space flight network” was busy with human-rated Mercury and Gemini missions and preparing for Apollo, a new dedicated Deep Space Network (DSN) for robotic exploration of the Solar System was established.

Finding a new location for a DSN site that was ideally located approximately 120 degrees longitude from NASA’s Goldstone station in California began in earnest. The site needed to near enough to a city or town that could support it with personnel and services, and ideally have an accessible but isolated area to protect the site from radio frequency interference.

By the 1960s, the growth rate of the National Capital was considered to be too slow and pressure was placed on the Australian Government to remedy the situation. After considerable lobbying, the decision was made to locate the new DSN facility at Tidbinbilla, 35 kilometres southwest of Canberra.

Known initially as the ‘Tidbinbilla Deep Space Instrumentation Facility 42’ (DSIF42) [1], the site started a rapid construction process in March 1963 and by August 1964, was operational with test tracking on its 26-meter antenna. The station was officially opened by Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies on 19 March 1965.

The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) is an international antenna network composed of three deep-space communications facilities established approximately 120 degrees apart, in longitude, around the world near: Tidbinbilla (near Canberra), Australia; Goldstone, California USA; and Madrid, Spain. This strategic placement enables terrestrial stations to maintain almost constant line-of-sight, with all NASA interplanetary and deep space missions, deployed for the exploration of the Solar System and the universe and radio and radar astronomy observations, as the Earth rotates.

There are currently four antennas operating at the Canberra station: one 70-meter and three 34-meter radio dishes that receive data from, and transmit commands to spacecraft on deep space missions [2].

NASA and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

CDSCC Tidbinbilla is a NASA facility managed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on behalf of the Australian Government. It operates under a government-to-government, treaty-level agreement, signed in February 1960, which allowed the United States to establish satellite tracking stations in Australia.

The activities of the DSN, including CDSCC Tidbinbilla, are coordinated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), located in Pasadena, California [3]. The DSN operates on a multi-mission basis, communicating with many different space missions and experiments concurrently, in 24/7 continuous operations.

Tracking Deep Space Missions

In 2015, CDSCC Tidbinbilla celebrated its 50 years of Australian operations in space tracking and data acquisition. During this period, CDSCC Tidbinbilla operations have supported NASA’s first close-up pictures of the Martian surface from Mariner 4 (July 1965), communications and telemetry with hundreds of space missions, including the NASA Apollo missions to the moon. In 2012 it provided confirmation of the successful landing of the NASA rover Curiosity on Mars and, in 2015, it downlinked some of the first images of Pluto gained from the New Horizons mission.

Playing Cricket on the “The Dish.”[4] “The Dish” is an Australian film, released in 2000, that depicts the semi-fictional story of the role the Parkes radio telescope in relaying live television images from the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The movie famously depicts the radio telescope crew playing cricket on the Dish, because the struck ball always follows the curve of the Dish to return to the players standing at its center. The receiver sensitivities needed to detect the faint low-power signals from very distant space probes, and discriminate these signals from the cosmic background noise, means that the surface panels on the CDSCC radio telescopes cannot afford to be misshaped or damaged by a game of cricket.

Mission: Apollo Program [5]. Opened in 1967, a dish antenna was built at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station to support the NASA Apollo missions. The first human spaceflight mission it supported was Apollo 7 in October 1968. On 21 July 1969 (Australian time), this antenna received and relayed to the world the very first Apollo 11 signals with the television images of Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon. In 1983, the antenna was relocated to CDSCC Tidbinbilla for use in the DSN, to support deep space operations, before being decommissioned in 2009.

Mission: Voyager 1 [6] and Voyager 2 [7]. After completing their original missions to both explore Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 was targeted to travel outward on an extended mission to become the only spacecraft to have visited the next two gas giants, Uranus and Neptune and their moons. Today, CDSCC is the only station in an appropriate position for line-of-sight communications with both the NASA Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes. They have both exceeded their expected mission lifetimes and, after 41 years in space, are the first artificial objects to travel beyond the edge of the solar system. In 2012, mission scientists determined that Voyager 1 had reached interstellar space and was beyond the sun’s magnetospheric influence. The Voyagers have enough electrical power and thruster fuel to keep its science instruments functioning and communications with CDSCC Tidbinbilla on until at least 2020 [8].

Mission: Juno [9]. In 2016, after a five-year journey, travelling 1.6 billion kilometers, NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered into orbit around Jupiter. CDSCC Tidbinbilla was NASA’s prime station for the Juno Jupiter orbit insertion. Jupiter is the most influential planet in the story of our solar system because of its size, mass, gravitational influence, and visibility in the night sky. A study of Jupiter is important to developing an understanding of the origins of the solar system and the Earth. NASA’s Juno spacecraft maintains a 53-day polar orbit around Jupiter. At its closest, Juno passes within 5000 kilometers of Jupiter’s cloud tops; at the high end of its each orbit, Juno is about 8-million kilometers from the planet.

Mission: Cassini [10]. In September 2017, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged deep into the Saturn’s hostile atmosphere on a historic but mission-ending course to conclude a 13-year study of Saturn, its rings and moons, including sending more than a quarter of a million images. CDSCC Tidbinbilla received the final signals from the Cassini spacecraft before it was vapourized in Saturn’s atmosphere.

Mission: New Horizons [11]. In July 2015, after spending nine-and-a-half years to travel over five billion kilometers, NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons made its historic flyby encounter with Pluto. CDSCC received the some of the first close-up images of Pluto, sent from New Horizons [12]. Now over 1 billion kilometers beyond Pluto New Horizon is now pursuing its next mission task to conduct the first-ever closeup exploration of a small Kuiper Belt object 2014MU69, due on 1 January 2019 — the farthest exploration of any solar system body in history [13].

Mission: Parker Solar Probe [14]. The Parker Solar Probe was successfully launched in August 2018. Its mission is to explore the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona. This observation data is essential to providing a more accurate characterization of the solar radiation (solar wind), that is fundamental to making forecasts of the occurrences of space weather events, and better understanding their effects on Earth, and the risks of the radiation environment for astronauts.

Innovations in Space Tracking

Follow the Sun Operations (FtSO) [15]. NASA has upgraded the automation systems in the three DSN stations, in a project called “Follow the Sun Operations,” to change the DSN operations paradigm. In the new FtSO paradigm, each one of the three DSN sites operates the global network of three stations during their day shift, handing off control to the next site as the sun sets. This contrasts with the pre-2017 work paradigm, where each DSN site only operated their local antennas 24/7 for continuous operations. Since November 2017, the Australian crews at CDSCC Tidbinbilla take control of all NASA’s DSN antennas worldwide for about a third of every day [16].

Space Science served to Students on NASA Dishes [17]. CDSCC Tidbinbilla has developed a space science education outreach program for school students called “STARS” — Space, Technology, Astronomy, Research Students. The pilot program was successfully conducted in 2013. The STARS program aims to encourage students in STEM by providing them with opportunities to realize hands-on experience and demonstrate the real-world space science applications that are being conducted in Australia with the world. The current popularity of the STEM programs at CDSCC is seen in the statistics for the school excursion bookings — 2018 is 100% booked out; 2019 is 96% booked out.

Asteroid Tracking and Characterization [18]. In 2015, under a new Australian initiative with NASA, CDSCC Tidbinbilla coordinated the first Southern Hemisphere Planetary Radar System to detect and characterize passing asteroids. Normally operated as a transmitter/receiver to communicate with deep space probes, CDSCC Tidbinbilla was used as the transmitter in a bistatic radar system with the radio telescope receivers stationed at Parkes and Narrabri. NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar program detects, tracks, and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth, using both ground- and space-based optical and radar telescopes, for its Sentry catalogue of Near-Earth Objects (NEO). NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Sentry system, an automated Earth collision monitoring system that scans the NEO catalogue for possibilities of a future impact with Earth in the next 100 years [19]. A southern hemisphere sensor allows asteroids approaching Earth from the south to be observed, filling in a blind spot in the global network of asteroid sensors.

Lecture Summary by Dr Kruzins

• The crew of about 90 Australians working at CDSCC Tidbinbilla are proud to be responsible for managing one of NASA’s three tracking stations, and operating all three under the Follow-the-Sun-Operations model, to provide continuous, two-way radio contact with NASA and international spacecraft exploring the solar system and beyond.

• The Australian-U.S. partnership is a relationship that has been worked for over 50 years and brings benefits to Australia, NASA, and the global space science community.

• The work and achievements of CDSCC Tidbinbilla has inspired new innovations such as the Follow-the-Sun-Operations operations model and becoming the first Southern Hemisphere Planetary Radar System to detect and characterize passing asteroids.

• CDSCC Tidbinbilla is connecting Canberra, Australia, to an active global effort in space science that spans the solar system and beyond. It is an exciting place to work and be involved in space.


On 25 May 2010, AIAA designated the Tidbinbilla, Honeysuckle Creek, and Orroral Valley Tracking Stations as Historic Aerospace Sites [20]. These three Australian stations were established to support the NASA Deep Space Network, Manned Space Flight Network, and Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network. Among other notable achievements, these stations have been recognised for their key role in supporting Apollo 11, with the Honeysuckle Creek station providing the first historic pictures and audio of Astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon on 20 July 1969 (21 July 1969, in Australia). The AIAA recognition occurred during the 50th anniversary of treaty-level cooperation between Australia and the United States in space exploration [21].



Ed Kruzins has a University of Sydney science degree with honours in Astrophysics and a PhD degree in aerospace engineering from Southampton University, United Kingdom (UK). He worked in the UK as a BAE systems engineer for a suite of European commercial and military satellites. He moved to Australia as a scientist in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), developing the Network Centric Warfare Roadmap and a Space Based Surveillance capability. He became the DSTO advisor to the Department of Defence on major capital equipment acquisition projects. In 2012, he commenced duties as the Director of CDSCC with the NASA & CSIRO responsibility, under the U.S.-Australian space tracking treaty, for supporting the fleet of 40 international deep space missions.

Squadron Leader Michael Spencer is an Officer Aviation (Maritime Patrol & Response), in the Royal Australian Air Force, currently serving in the Air Power Development Centre. He analyses risks and opportunities posed by technology change drivers and disruptions to the future employment of air and space power. His Air Force career has provided operational experiences in long-range maritime patrol, aircrew training, and weaponeering, and management experiences in international relations, project management in air and space systems acquisitions, space concepts development, and joint force capability integration. He is an Australian Institute of Project Management certified project manager and an AIAA Associate Fellow (Class of 2014).


The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defence, RAAF, NASA, CSIRO or the Government of Australia. The Commonwealth of Australia will not be legally responsible in contract, tort or otherwise, for any statements made in this document.


1. CDSCC (2017). Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex History. NASA Deep Space Network, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Online www.cdscc.nasa.gov/Pages/cdscc_history.html. Accessed 1 September 2018.
2. CSIRO (2017). About Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Online www.csiro.au/en/Research/Facilities/CDSCC/About-CDSCC. Accessed 1 September 2018.
3. CDSCC (2017). Ibid.
4. CSIRO (2017). Australia Telescope National Facility. Online www.atnf.csiro.au/outreach/visiting/parkes/looselybased.html. Accessed 1 September 2018.
5. NASA (2017). Deep Space Station 46. Deep Space Network, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Online www.cdscc.nasa.gov/Pages/Antennas/dss46.html. Accessed 31 August 2018.
6. NASA JPL (2018). Voyager 1. About the Mission. Online www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/voyager-1/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
7. NASA JPL (2018). Voyager 2, Mission to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Online www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/voyager-2/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
8. NASA JPL (2018). Voyager. Interstellar Mission. Online https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/interstellar-mission/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
9. Nagle, G (2016). Juno’s Jupiter Call via Canberra. CSIROscope. Online https://blog.csiro.au/junos-jupiter-call-via-canberra/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
10. Weeks, J (2017). Space whisperers: the Aussies guiding Cassini’s suicide mission to Saturn. CSIROscope. Online https://blog.csiro.au/space-whisperers-aussies-guiding-cassinis-suicide-mission-saturn/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
11. NASA (2017). New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt, New Horizons. Online www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/overview/index.html. Accessed 31 August 2018.
12. Tomich, I (2015). Australia captures world first close-ups of Pluto! Online at www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2015/Australia-captures-world-first-close-ups-of-Pluto. Accessed 31 August 2018.
13. NASA (2018). Ultima in View: NASA’s New Horizons Makes First Detection of Kuiper Belt Flyby Target, New Horizons. Online www.nasa.gov/feature/ultima-in-view-nasa-s-new-horizons-makes-first-detection-of-kuiper-belt-flyby-target. Accessed 31 August 2018.
14. NASA GSFC (2018). Parker Solar Probe, Living with a Star Program (LWS). Missions in Development. Online https://lws.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions.html. Accessed 31 August 2018.
15. Johnson, M et al (2015). NASA Deep Space Network: Automation Improvements in the Follow-the-Sun Era, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Online https://ai.jpl.nasa.gov/public/papers/johnston_ijcai2015_dsn.pdf. Accessed 1 September 2018.
16. Marshall, L (2017). Few Australians know the unique role the country plays in the global space network, CSIROscope. Online https://blog.csiro.au/larry-marshall-australians-know-unique-role-country-plays-global-space-network/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
17. Nagle, G (2013). Students Served Science on NASA Dishes, CSIROscope. Online https://blog.csiro.au/students-served-science-on-nasa-dishes/. Accessed 1 September 2018.
18. Benson, C et al (2017). First Detection of Two Near‐Earth Asteroids with a Southern Hemisphere Planetary Radar System, Radio Science – An AGU Journal. Online https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2017RS006398. Accessed 1 September 2018.
19. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2018). Sentry: Earth Impact Monitoring, Centre for Near Earth Object Studies. Online https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/sentry/. Accessed 1 September 2018.
20. AIAA (2013). 2010 Dedicated Historic Sites – 25 May 2010, AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites. Online www.aiaa.org/HistoricAerospaceSites/. Accessed 31 August 2018.
21. Nally, J (2010). Aussie tracking stations honoured, SPACEINFO.com.au. Online http://spaceinfo.com.au/2010/05/29/aussie-tracking-stations-honoured/. Accessed 1 September 2018.

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AIAA Foundation AIAA Diversity Scholars Attend AIAA SPACE Forum

A group of diverse professionals in business attire stand on stage in front of a large SPACe forum banner displaying corporate logos.
Credit: AIAA

In September, 37 AIAA Diversity Scholars attended the 2018 AIAA SPACE Forum in Orlando, FL. This was the largest group of diversity scholars to attend a forum to date. The students attended plenary sessions, Forum 360 panels, and technical sessions, as well as the Rising Leaders in Aerospace events and special sessions geared specifically for the scholars.

The AIAA Diversity Scholarship provides students from underrepresented groups with the opportunity to attend AIAA forums and receive additional targeted programming that may help them succeed in the aerospace industry. The AIAA Diversity Scholars Program at AIAA SPACE Forum was sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, NASA Pennsylvannia Space Grant Consortium, and NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium.

Diversity scholarships will be offered for select AIAA forums throughout the year. The program welcomes applications from students in all disciplines with an interest in aerospace, including but not limited to STEM fields, communications, law, industrial design, journalism, and political science. Please visit aiaa.org/Diversity-and-Inclusion for more information.

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Technical Committees Call for Papers for the 2019 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference

The 2019 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference will be held 11–15 August 2019 at the Westin Portland in Portland, ME. 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
• History of Astrodynamics: Review of seminal astrodynamical theoretical and practical developments

The abstract deadline is 5 April 2019. Author information can be found at space-flight.org.

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AIAA Program Regional Leadership Conference held at AIAA SPACE Forum

A group of people seated around round tables in a conference room, attentively listening to a presentation. There is a projector and screen at the front of the room.
Credit: AIAA

Section chairs and officers attended a training specifically to help them in leading their sections’ activities. The training provides the opportunity to discuss successes and challenges with their peers, meet their regional leaders, and hear and provide great ideas for section events. Over 30 attendees were able to share and hear ideas on events, membership retention, public policy activities, supporting young professionals and retired members, plus plenty of less interesting but still important administrative guidance. In the evening, AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher presented certificates to those sections who won section awards for their 2017-2018 activities.


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Obituary AIAA Fellow Gulcher Died in May

Robert H. Gulcher, 92, died on 9 May.

Gulcher answered the call of duty in 1944 by completing an accelerated wartime course in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy so that he could serve the country. That service came as an engineering cadet midshipman in the form of six Atlantic crossings with the U.S. Merchant Marines to the European theater, during which time his convoys sporadically came under German U-boat attack. He received an honorable discharge from the United States Coast Guard and was awarded the Atlantic War Zone Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Before the war, Gulcher attended Ohio State University. Graduating from Ohio State with a degree in electrical engineering, he used that degree plus the mechanical engineering degree from the Academy to launch a career in aerospace engineering, which commenced in 1951 with North American Aviation (Rockwell International, Boeing). He became Chief Engineer and Vice President of Research and Engineering before retiring in 1991.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Spudis Died in August

Paul Spudis, a lunar scientist and advocate for exploration of the moon, passed away on 29 August. He was 66 years old. 

Spudis received his Ph.D. in Geology from Arizona State University in 1982. After graduation, he took a position as a geologist at the United States Geological Survey in Flagstaff, AZ, where he served as the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Planetary Geology Program. In 1990 he joined the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) as a staff scientist, serving in 1994 as Deputy Science Team leader of the BMDO/NASA Clementine mission to the moon, and as Deputy Director of the LPI (1999–2002). From 2002 to 2008 Spudis was a principal professional staff member at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, during which time he led the Mini-SAR radar that flew on India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter and was a team member of the Mini-RF instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. He returned to the LPI as a senior staff scientist in 2008, where he continued his mission work and became more involved in activities focused on living and working on the moon.

Spudis served on many panels and committees including the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy (2004). His numerous honors and awards included the Columbia medal from ASME’s Aerospace division (2016), the National Space Society’s Space Pioneer award (2011), and the AIAA von Kármán Lecture in Astronautics (2006). He wrote over 125 refereed papers and four books, including The Once and Future Moon (1994) and The Value of the Moon (2016). He was scheduled to give the Michel T. Halbouty Lecture, titled “The Resources of the Moon” at this November’s Geological Society of America conference. An AIAA Senior Member, Spudis was involved with the AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee from 2002 to 2005.

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November 2018 AIAA Bulletin