AIAA DEMAND for UNMANNED puts focus on drone technology and research
By David Hodes
Some of the most influential names in the drone and aviation industries participated in the AIAA inaugural DEMAND for UNMANNED symposium, 15–16 June, which was held in conjunction with the AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition 2016 (AIAA AVIATION 2016) in Washington, DC. More than 250 engineers, developers, and pilots attended the symposium to discuss issues ranging from regulation to autonomy in a series of panel sessions and keynote addresses.
AIAA brought the UAS and aviation industries into the same space for a deeper dive into overlapping goals and issues with the intention to help the emerging UAS industry develop wisely. Stakeholders from academia, government, and industry spoke about the importance of UAS in aerospace development and the contributions UAS developers have made, and continue to make, in autonomy and robotics. NASA representatives also unveiled a roadmap for the continued evolution of the industry in a broad range of applications.
Sandy Magnus, executive director of AIAA, said attendees liked the fact that the UAS symposium was included within an aviation forum because they could more easily do a “cross talk” about both industries. “That’s what we were trying to get,” she said. “A lot of the people who are using drones are at both the entry level and very high end. But there are a lot of practical applications that could use some mindful technology development.”
Among the speakers at the symposium were aviation leaders and UAS experts such as John S. Langford, chairman and chief executive officer of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation; Dallas Brooks, director of Raspet Flight Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University; and Parimal H. Kopardekar, manager of the Safe Autonomous System Operations Project and principal investigator for Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management at NASA Ames Research Center.
One of the bigger issues discussed was how to integrate, manage and control unmanned vehicles in the National Airspace System (NAS). In the session “UAS Traffic Management System,” Craig Marcinkowski, director of strategy and business development for Gryphon Sensors, said there needs to be a rating system for drones that indicates not only what they can and cannot do in the airspace, but also how the UAS interact with other.
Kopardekar said that what is needed is an understanding of what it means to go beyond line of sight and stay clear of each other. “This may be something as simple as leveraging technology we already have,” he said.
Jonathan Evans, CEO of Skyward IO, argued that standards are needed to organize management of the NAS. “UAS Traffic Management is the beginning of that in an organic way,” he said. “What we are doing with traffic management is writing the first protocols. That is a profound piece of this transformation.”
Other sessions dealt with different discussions on topics such as trust in the operational elements of unmanned aircraft, control of them in the U.S. airspace and more collaboration from manufacturers and users to accelerate development.
Assured trust in a system means the right logic is created for the task, according to Mike Francis, chief, advanced programs and senior fellow at United Technologies Research Center. He noted that any system in place needs to be able to learn. “That’s the part of autonomy that is going to grow,” Francis said. “We are at the start of a revolution. We have the whole future in front of us, and it’s all driven by computing power.”
One of the key presentations at DEMAND for UNMANNED focused on NASA’s roadmap for UAS development. The strategic plan is meant to not only advise industry, but also increase the collaboration between stakeholders on research challenges and advancement strategies.
“We want to push the envelope of autonomy,” said Sebastian Scherer, systems scientist for The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. “But that is hard to do.”Both he and fellow presenter Mark Ballin, technology integration manager for the Airspace Operations and Safety Program at NASA Langley Research Center, said everyone in the aviation community needs to be involved. “This roadmap is in progress now,” Ballin said. “So we really need input from you and the aviation community to make sure that we are all going down the right path together.”
Presenters also discussed the FAA’s role in developing regulations.
Mary Louise “Missy” Cummings, associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University, said the FAA is “not even playing in the ballfield about how to certify autonomous systems” though the process for certifying commercial aircraft already exists.
Other presenters acknowledged that the FAA is behind in writing rules and regulations but said it is moving as fast as it can. There was a consensus that decision making on this emerging industry is a daunting challenge. [Editor’s Note: The FAA finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of UAS and made them public on 21 June 2016, shortly after the symposium.]
John-Paul Clarke, professor from the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering and director of the Air Transportation Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said one of the technical barriers to implementing autonomy is human-machine integration, in which decision making has to be made on adaptive, nondeterministic systems. Without a human involved, decision making where there is uncertainty becomes more difficult, he explained. “How do we verify the judgment of a UAS system?” Clarke asked. “The certification regime relies on the judgment of people and how a process is followed.”
More FAA work was presented in a session outlining the effort of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, the FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS research. “ASSURE exists to turn UAS research into FAA rules,” said retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James Poss, ASSURE’s executive director, adding that Congress is expected to give the center $10 million in funding in 2017 on top of the $10 million it has received.
Hitting on the theme of the UAS symposium within the aviation conference was Langford, the Aurora CEO. He said that today’s aviation designers need to pay attention to what is coming from the UAS industry. “Traditional aviation engineering was about making aircraft that were lighter and faster” but priorities have shifted, he said. “It’s about making them smarter.” The version of the future in which unmanned vehicles are transporting humans — as seen in “The Jetsons” — is “not as close as you may think,” he said. “But what we have seen in the last five years of consumer drones will expand into other areas of aviation.”
In one of the last presentations of the symposium, Andy Lacher, UAS integration research strategist for The MITRE Corporation, demonstrated a drone from camera manufacturer Lily that is programmed with flying boundaries set by the user. The drone flies above and tracks the user automatically—but there’s more. “You don’t fly it as it films you,” Lacher explained. “This aircraft is making complex decisions. It’s picking its flight path, its speed and its direction. When the battery begins to die, it lands on its own. It’s like a selfie stick that flies.”
Lacher also talked about autonomous cars and some of the lessons learned that could apply to the UAS industry. The autonomous Google car was confronted with a broom-wielding woman, in a wheelchair, herding a duck in the middle of a road. “It’s these non-normative conditions that need to be thought about for any autonomous vehicle,” he said.
Aerospace experts also added their thoughts to the significance of UAS development. Doug Cooke, an aerospace consultant and former NASA engineer who worked on space shuttles and the International Space Station, said innovative people like those working in the UAS industry will consistently come up with new things and new applications. “When you get the capabilities, the applications present themselves,” he said.
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Joe Engle, who test piloted the X-15 and was a space shuttle commander, said the UAS industry has helped drive advances in electronics, communication and telemetry. “The UAS industry is building a future right now,” Engle said.
AIAA’s Magnus said they were pleased with the symposium. “What we are trying to do is bring UAS users and the people who have missions together with the technology community so they can start to talk about creating the drones that are targeted, as opposed to trying to use platforms that exist and sort of rig them,” she said. “How can AIAA have a role in helping to define and develop the technology and applications that are more sophisticated and more widespread? DEMAND for UNMANNED was an attempt to start those kinds of conversations.”
Full coverage of DEMAND for UNMANNED and AIAA AVIATION 2016 can be found at www.aiaa-aviation.org/Headlines2016/.
DEMAND for UNMANNED Student Competition
As part of the DEMAND for UNMANNED symposium held in conjunction with AIAA AVIATION 2016, the AIAA K–12 STEM Committee, led by Tucker Hamilton, presented a concept for a new student competition. Christopher Reynolds, chair of the Aerospace Robotics Competition Working Group of the K–12 STEM Committee, led a group of University of Michigan students in developing an idea for high school students to build and program UAVs. The idea was to design a competition that would stimulate students’ imaginations and excitement in the field of aviation.
The University of Michigan students designed a prototype UAV and sent the bill of materials to seniors Brandon Nelson, Keenan Brown and Kyrie Nesmith of McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC. With the help of their teacher, Kenneth Lesley, and mentors from the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan, the McKinley students used the instructions and materials provided to build their own vehicle. They also used an off-the-shelf quadcopter to expand their programming skills to fly particular patterns and develop an understanding of autonomous flight.
After just a few weeks of working with the materials and quadcopter, the students were very enthusiastic about aviation and unmanned vehicles.
The K–12 STEM Committee will continue to work on this concept in hopes of expanding the idea to include more high schools and incorporate new aspects, such as fully autonomous flight.
AIAA Releases its 2015–2016 Annual Report and Foundation Impact Report
AIAA has released and posted its 2015–2016 Annual Report, “Heading for New Horizons” (https://www.aiaa.org/AnnualReports/). Covering June 2015 through May 2016, it includes the President’s Report, Executive Director’s Report, and President-Elect’s Report. The document also contains the latest member statistics, and information from across the Institute. As always, a detailed account of the Institute’s finances for fiscal year 2015 rounds out the 31-page report.
This year the AIAA Foundation has published its first annual AIAA Foundation Impact Report, which is available at http://www.aiaafoundation.org/ImpactReport/. The independent report details the impact of the Foundation’s engagement in STEM K–12, College and University, and Recognition programs. Also included are a list of generous corporate and individual donors, and the Foundation’s fiscal year 2015 financial results. Details of the Foundation’s programs and activities from prior years can be found in previous editions of the AIAA Annual Report available at www.aiaa.org/AnnualReports.
Rocky Mountain Section Annual Awards Banquet
On 22 April, the AIAA Rocky Mountain Section (RMS) held its Annual Awards Banquet to recognize its Young Engineer, Engineer, Educator (College), and Educator (K–12) of the Year recipients. Additionally, the RMS used this venue to thank the outgoing 2015–2016 Council members and officially announce the incoming 2016–2017 Council members.
The banquet, held at The Wildlife Experience, included an opportunity to visit the Globeology exhibit, which showcases seven biomes of Earth. Daniel Adamo, an astrodynamics consultant, gave the featured presentation on “Questioning the Surface of Mars as the 21st Century’s Ultimate Pioneering Destination in Space,” which discussed limitations on Mars colonization. The event sold out with 80 guests in attendance.
More information about the 2016 Annual Awards Banquet can be found at the RMS website: www.aiaa-rm.org.
Greater Huntsville Section Attends Armed Forces Celebration and Redstone Arsenal Dinner
By Ken Philippart, AIAA Greater Huntsville Section
The AIAA Greater Huntsville Section attended the 2016 Armed Forces Celebration and 75th Anniversary of Redstone Arsenal Dinner on 30 June. The dinner capped a weeklong celebration of the U.S. armed forces and commemorated the diamond anniversary of Redstone Arsenal and its contributions to the Huntsville community. It was the first time the Greater Huntsville Section participated in the festivities and signaled the section’s renewed outreach to and recognition of its military and Department of Defense constituencies.
Over 700 people attended the Armed Force Celebration and anniversary dinner, and AIAA was well represented. Section members and military veterans John Lassiter and Ken Philippart hatched a plan to fill an AIAA table, and 10 AIAA members and guests registered as part of the section’s contingent. Other section members sat at their employers’ tables, helping to wave the AIAA flag there as well.
The keynote speaker for the evening was General Dennis L. Via, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. General Via outlined a whirlwind history of Redstone Arsenal from its World War II beginnings as an ordnance plant to the birth of the U.S. Army ballistic missile program under Dr. Wernher von Braun and subsequent creation of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to the leading edge, full-spectrum warfighter support that Redstone Arsenal provides to the military services today.
AIAA members and guests who attended the event included Todd May, director of Marshall Space Flight Center; section Vice Chair Dr. Naveen Vetcha, Lt. Col. (retired) John Lassiter, Lt. Col. (retired) Ken and Lisa Philippart, Sheree and Chris Gay, Dr. Ron and Jan Miller, Major Rick and Anne Tuggle, Allison Cash, and Colonel (retired) Buzz Toth.
Besides enjoying the dinner, AIAA members did some serious networking, developing contacts for future tours of Department of Defense facilities and ideas for collaborating with other organizations on Redstone Arsenal. The Greater Huntsville Section salutes our military and Department of Defense members and all those who support them.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Aerospace Engineers Through Science Fairs
By Elishka Jepson, AIAA Region VI Deputy Director, K–12 STEM
The AIAA Section Engagement and Best Practices STEM Standing Committee has pondered the question: what STEM activities have many AIAA sections had success with? After studying section submissions for the Harry Staubs STEM K–12 award, the committee noticed one activity many successful sections participated in—local science fairs.
How can your section start participating in science fairs, or take your science fair interactions to the next level? Read on!
Start Small: If your section is looking for ways to participate in science fairs, a great place to start is within your membership; members with children can provide an avenue to building a partnership with local schools. For example, the Tucson Section recently gave several science project awards to a local elementary school where one of the leadership council member’s children attends. This begins a relationship with this school that can be built upon in future years, or expanded to other schools in the district.
Sponsor Awards: Contact the organizers of your local science fairs and see if they have any award sponsorships available. The Northern Ohio Section sponsored awards for projects with an aerospace focus at the Annual Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair and the Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day, both of which are regional science fairs for middle and high school students. The Cape Canaveral Section sponsors an award for a senior high school student who demonstrates sound judgment on the application of the scientific method and interpretation of data with regard to aeronautics or space sciences subject areas. Awards don’t need to be only monetary — the National Capital Section sponsors a three-day STEM engagement activity at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for science fair winners, which includes a visit to GSFC’s many laboratories, a trip to Wallops Flight Facility, and interaction with NASA leaders. Partnering with local universities and aerospace companies for tours or STEM activities is another great option as an award prize.
Provide Judges: Coordinate with your local science fairs to recruit judges from your section members. Science fair organizers are usually more than happy to have engineers approach them about volunteering! The San Diego Section participates in judging the greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, where volunteers interact with students regarding their science projects and discuss their interests in the aerospace field. The section selects one middle school student and one high school student from the event and invites the students and their families to showcase their science fair projects and set up a booth at their annual banquet. The Cape Canaveral Section and Orange County Section also provide judges for their local fairs, as well as many other sections not listed here.
Host Your Own Science Fair or Competition: If there is not already an established science fair in your area, and if you have a sufficient volunteer base, your section can start your own science fair, or add an aerospace focus to an existing event. The Orange County Section sponsors a rocket science fair at the end of the Student Payload and Rocketry Competition (SPARC). If you are looking for a project for a science competition, the AIAA Educator Academy program provides three different modules that can be used. In fact, the Mars Rover module was created by the Houston Section, which now holds an annual Mars Rover competition in conjunction with the University of Houston.
Inspiring Ideas for Moon and Mars Bases from Middle School Students in AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee Essay Contest
In this fifth year of the AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee’s (SSTC) middle school essay contest, the TC 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 a national winner awarded by the SSTC.
In 2016, seven sections submitted official entries to the contest, from which 7th and 8th grade students in Long Island and Hampton Roads were selected as winners to receive $100, plus $250 for their classroom toward STEM materials or activities. The two student winners also receive a one-year membership with AIAA. The 2016 topic was “Discuss how either a moon base or a Mars base could help us learn about the Earth and space.”
The winners are 7th grader Nikhil Keer and teacher Leslie Maynard at Wisdom Lane Middle School, in Levittown, NY, and 8th grader Jennifer Lin and teacher Mike Webster at York Middle School, in Yorktown, VA. Ms. Maynard will use the award money to purchase introductory telescopes for her school’s Earth and Space Club that will be available for all students in their library.
The 2016 winning essays can be found below.
The topic for 2017 is “Choose one of the aspects of the Juno spacecraft listed on the webpage below. Describe how it works and why it helps discovery about Jupiter.” (https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/spacecraft/juno-spacecraft)
If your section is interested in participating in the 2017 contest, please contact Anthony Shao (email@example.com).
7th Grade AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee Essay Contest Winning Essay
Nikhil Keer, Wisdom Lane Middle School, Levittown, NY
Today, on Earth we can say we are self-sufficient, but in the decades to come, Earth’s rising population and diminishing resources are bound to pose a problem. To ensure the long term survival of the human race the need to construct an alternate base or colony will be strongly felt. If Mars was to be ever colonized, the best test pad would be none other than Earth’s closest and largest celestial neighbor, the Moon, which is a mere 384,400 kilometers away from it. A base on the Moon will be a dream come true for scientists and explorers, who believe its numerous benefits will open new avenues in spaceflight technology and promote learning and research.
Earth’s outer core generates a magnetic field that shields all life from solar radiation, but will eventually stop working millions of years from now. A Moon base can be used to research radiation and develop a new technology to shield the Earth and further help better our own, natural magnetic field. The lunar surface is covered with craters that form when asteroids and comets collide with it. When on Moon, we can study meteor impacts, and hopefully develop and use the technology to shield Earth from such impacts and possibly avoid another mass extinction, like the prehistoric Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction which was caused by the Chicxulub impactor from space. Some of the craters on the Moon surface, near the poles are permanently dark and cold so infrared telescopes placed in these craters would work very effectively. Also radio telescopes on the far side would be shielded from the radio chatter of Earth. The recent discovery of water ice in the dark craters of the lunar poles further raises hopes of a future colony on the Moon. It can be used to produce propellant to resupply to rockets or satellites in Earth’s orbit. It might also help explain questions like how the Moon was formed and where Earth’s water came from. One of the benefits of having a base on the Moon is that we can mine its resources to produce parts and supplies for future missions into deep space. Also some rare isotopes like helium-3 can be mined which can be used as fuel for fusion power projects. Moon dust is a glassy substance which when mixed with carbon nanotubes and epoxies can be used in the construction of large mirrors up to fifty meters in diameter. Effects of cosmic rays can be easily studied on the Moon as it has no atmosphere that can block or distort them like on Earth. A Moon base will also provide excellent opportunities to observe cosmic phenomena like the solar eclipses. During a solar eclipse a dazzling sight can be seen from the Moon as the Earth blocks the sun and appears as a ring of red-orange light that dominates the sky. Powerful telescopes placed at a Moon base can provide remarkable images of space, possibly helping discover new celestial bodies that could revise our understanding of the solar system.
The Earth is always visible from the Moon, and appears larger and brighter when seen from the Lunar near side. This imparts spectacular views of the Earth and outer space to observers on the Moon. A trip to the Moon by the Apollo took just 3 days, but new technologies can reduce this time even further. Private organized tours to the Moon base observatories will help the space tourism industry flourish and fund other expeditions like that to Mars, the outer Solar System and maybe beyond. The proximity of the base to Earth is valuable as it cuts down the round trip communication delay to less than three seconds and allows almost clear audio and video conversations between the two. Some type of remote control access of machines from Earth is also possible. The communication delay between Mars and Earth is anywhere between eight and forty minutes and could be hours elsewhere. This lower communication delay time will greatly benefit a Moon base when contacting Earth in times of emergencies. Experiments can be conducted in a polar Moon base to grow plants as the sun shines for longer periods there. Such experiments would not only help understand basic plant biology but also provide knowledge for developing farms on Mars someday.
The Moon’s gravity is 1/6th that of Earth’s so studying its effects on humans can help us prepare for a future colony on Mars or elsewhere. Also this low gravity might assist rockets that are launched from the Moon base, as they will require lower escape velocity (than what is required on Earth) and in turn require lesser propellant, cutting energy costs considerably. The Moon base can also function as a refueling station for future space voyages thus saving billions of dollars. On Earth, the weather and the night – day cycle limit the collection of solar power. But on the Moon, days and nights are long, each about 354 hours, a little more than two weeks and we can take advantage of the Sun shining continuously, at least during the local summer. Solar collectors when placed in the orbit would collect energy and work round the clock.
Who says the sky is the limit? When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon for the first time in 1969, new limits of space exploration were reached. Astronaut Neil Armstrong left his footprints there, laying down the path for future astronomers and scientists to follow. The time has come to reach beyond and extend our cosmic boundaries. A base on the Moon with its numerous benefits is just a tiny leap in the direction of space exploration and research, without moving too far from Earth. It’s time to revise Star Trek Captain Kirk’s famous words to say “… To boldly stay where no man has stayed before.”
8th Grade AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee Essay Contest Winning Essay
Moon Base Armstrong
Jennifer Lin, York Middle School, Yorktown, VA
Space is a marvelous and mysterious place. Its unimaginable vastness stretches across our known universe towards infinity. Even if it seems like an inhospitable place to explore, having a base on the moon — the Earth’s only natural satellite — can help us to uncover the enigma of space. A well-conceived moon base can help us to collect important scientific data that not only could expand our knowledge of the universe, but also could benefit and perhaps save life here on Earth.
A moon base is a good place to find new planets since there is no atmosphere to obscure the view, and a good place to receive faint deep space signals since there is less environmental noise interference than on Earth. By finding new planets, we can learn more about how the Earth and our solar system were formed and expand our knowledge about the universe (Reference 1). For example, scientists recently discover evidences of a new ninth planet in the outer region of our solar system (Reference 2). A large powerful space telescope on the moon could help us to find new planets in our solar system and beyond, which could increase our chances to discover a new world having traces of life or something better, a planet with life like ours. This can open new opportunities for future space exploration. Scientists have also speculated that, should intelligent aliens want to communicate with us, they might choose to use radio signals (Reference 3). Radio waves are cheap to produce and travel great distance across space (Reference 3). Therefore, another possibility in search of alien life is to build an array of large radio telescopes on the moon to receive radio signals from deep space.
Having a moon base can also help us to find the right asteroids in space for mining. Recently, there is the idea of capturing an asteroid and bring it to the moon’s orbit to study how to mine asteroids for minerals (Reference 4). The asteroids may contain elements and minerals that are really hard to find on Earth (Reference 4). A moon base can be a better place to search for asteroids that are to be used for materials mining. By knowing exactly where the important asteroids are, it will be easier to find them and not waste time looking at asteroids that don’t have right the materials. Some companies, like the Planetary Resources, are trying to mine the asteroids (Reference 5). Having a moon base can assist companies, like Planetary Resources, having another set of “eyes in the sky”. Besides minerals, asteroids could also contain water. Water is used for life support of astronaut and for rocket fuel (Reference 5). More water means a greater chance of traveling farther into space. The moon base can also serve as a space outpost to support the asteroid mining operations.
Besides making new discoveries in space, a moon base can also help to prevent a disaster from happening on Earth, such as an asteroid colliding with Earth or the Kessler effect problem. A moon-based large powerful telescope for deep space observation, as mentioned previously, can also be used to search for asteroids or comets that may collide with Earth. The moon base can offer a better perspective and more early-warning time to avoid a major disaster. The Kessler effect is the theory concerning the space objects and debris in the low Earth orbit build up over the years to reach a density high enough that create a domino effect of the debris crashing into each other (Reference 6). This effect could make human space activities in the low Earth orbit dangerous and the use of satellites difficult, as well as having the hazardous possibility of space debris falling to Earth (Reference 6). Unfortunately, a crash between space debris had already occurred in 2009 (Reference 7). It was between a USA communication satellite and a Russian communication satellite (Reference 7). Although it is possible to track the space debris with modern technology, there are about 300,000 pieces of debris and the number might be growing (Reference 7). If we have a large telescope on the moon viewing the Earth, we can monitor and keep track of the space objects and their building up more easily than what we can on Earth. We can have a better chance of spotting the possibility of space objects colliding before it is too late, and we can view it from a safe distance in space, on the moon base.
One day, I hope we can have a moon base as a great step to open new exciting possibilities in space exploration. Besides exploring the wonders of space, a moon base could benefit life on Earth too. Having a moon base can help mine asteroids for commercial purpose as well as prevent disasters relating to space debris and an asteroid colliding with Earth.
If we build a moon base to do what I described above, I would like to name it “Moon Base Armstrong”. I suggest to name it after the first man to set foot on the moon and a man who symbolizes the spirit of space exploration for all mankind!
1) Kautsch, Stefan. “Why Finding New Planets Matters.” TBO.com. Tampa Media Group, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
2) Shockman, Elizabeth. “Why Scientists Think They’ve Found a New Planet in Our Solar System.” Public Radio International. Public Radio International, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
3) Palma, Christopher. “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania State University, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
4) Dunbar, Brian. “Study: Asteroids Provide Sustainable Resource.” NASA. NASA, 13 June 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2016.
5) Asteroids Will Unlock the Solar System’s Economy.” Planetary Resources. Planetary Resources, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
6) “The Kessler Effect and How to Stop It.” European Space Agency. ESA, 13 Nov 2012. Web. 24 January 2016.
7) “The Seriousness of the Kessler Syndrome.” Futurism. Futurism, 09 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.
AIAA Fellow Steinberg Died in January
Morris A. Steinberg, an AIAA Fellow who joined in 1959, died on 6 January. He was 95 years old. Dr. Steinberg earned a B.S in Science from MIT in 1942. He then served in the U.S. army during World War II as a Captain in Ordinance. He was awarded his Doctor of Science in Metallurgy from MIT in 1948, and began work as chief metallurgist for Horizons Corporation in Cleveland, OH. In 1958, Morris left Horizons to organize and manage the Material Science Laboratory of the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Palo Alto. In 1966 he became director of Technology Applications at the Lockheed headquarters in Burbank, CA, and worked there until retirement age in December 1985. At the time of his retirement, he held the position of vice president of Science.
Dr. Steinberg had numerous patents in the field of metallurgy and his lab was responsible for the tiles on the Space Shuttle. His achievements in the field of aeronautics and metallurgy were recognized when he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1977. He was also an adjunct professor in the Material Science and Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. A fellow of ASM, AIAA, AIC and the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering, he served on numerous boards and committees for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Research Council and Department of Commerce.
AIAA Honorary Fellow Ramo Died in June
Simon Ramo, co-founder of aerospace company TRW, died on 27 June. He was 103. Mr. Ramo earned a doctorate in electrical engineering and physics from the California Institute of Technology at age 23. In his early career, he worked for General Electric Co., where he helped develop the electron microscope.
After World War II, Ramo moved to Hughes Aircraft Co. to begin a division devoted to military electronics. In the 1950s Ramo and Dean Wooldridge founded the Ramo-Wooldridge Corp., which became TRW in 1958. TRW was asked to work on the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program for the United States, and the company worked on the development of other military weapons as well. Before it was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2002, TRW had grown to about 100,000 workers.
In 2013, at age 100, Ramo received a patent for a computer-based learning invention. Over his lifetime, he wrote or co-wrote 62 books on different subjects including a textbook on electro-magnetic fields. He was also an advocate for robotic space exploration.
In 1984, Ramo was awarded the Durand Lectureship for Public Service by AIAA.
AIAA Senior Member Osborn Died in July
Russell F. Osborn Jr., 81, died on 3 July 2016. Mr. Osborn was an aeronautical engineer and received his bachelor of science degree at the University of Cincinnati. He was employed at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for 35 years and FlexSys Inc. for 10 years. He continued to do research and consulting while at Heartland of Bellefontaine.
AIAA Fellow Fleeter Died in July
Dr. Sanford Fleeter, 72, died on 7 July 2016. Dr. Fleeter completed all of his degrees (B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.) in mechanical engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He was a research engineer at Detroit Diesel Allison (Allison Gas Turbine), before being promoted to principal engineer – aeroelasticity, supervisor – aerodynamic research and finally section chief – cascades and flow systems research.
In 1978, Dr. Fleeter joined Purdue University as an associate professor of mechanical engineering. He moved through the ranks and was finally appointed as the McAllister Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1996. His contributions included conducting research and providing leadership in research in the important areas of turbomachines, mentoring graduate students as well as teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in turbomachines, propulsion, aeromechanics and fluid mechanics and instrumentation. He served in many administrative and leadership roles, including as the director and principal investigator of the Army University Research Initiative on Rotorcraft Engine Unsteady Aerodynamics, director of Purdue University Center for Bladed Disc Unsteady Aerodynamics Research and Technology, co-director of GUIde Consortium on Forced Response of Bladed Discs and director of the Purdue Thermal Sciences and Propulsion Center.
Dr. Fleeter was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and AIAA. He authored more than 350 technical publications and served as the major professor for nearly 85 masters and Ph.D. thesis graduates. He was an Associate Editor for the AIAA Journal from 1994 until 1997.
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