September 2018

AIAA Leadership Nominations for AIAA Board of Trustees – Members-at-Large are Now Being Accepted

The 2018–2019 AIAA Executive Nominating Committee (ENC), chaired by the AIAA Immediate Past President James Maser, will compile a list of potential nominees for the Board of Trustees – Members-at-Large. This list will include nominees who will be selected to go to the next step of competency review and interview held by the ENC. The ENC will select specific candidates for the Institute’s Board of Trustees – Members-at-Large by early March 2019. The Board of Trustees – Members-at-Large will be voted on by the Council of Directors at the May 2019 meeting and announced soon thereafter.

The specific list of essential competencies being sought for this election of Board of Trustees – Members-at-Large are:

Vision: Persons who have the ability to understand present states, clearly define what they should be in the future, and identify steps to achieve those ends.

Business Acumen: Persons who have the knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing, and operational functions of an organization as well as the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions.

Domestic and International Aerospace Knowledge and Experience: Board membership reflects: a) the breadth of the various major sectors of aerospace industry, both domestic and international; b) all levels of technology and systems development from basic research through all technology readiness levels to product development and deployment; and c) from different disciplines within the aerospace industry.

Leadership/Strategy/Execution: Persons who have the ability to create a shared vision, obtain participation and buy-in, and achieve successful results.

AIAA Leadership and Participation: Board membership reflects experience in successful participation in a wide variety of leadership positions within AIAA.

AIAA members may nominate members qualified for the open position by submitting a nomination no later than 1600 hrs ET, 26 October 2018. Please submit nominations directly to Christopher Horton, AIAA Governance Secretary, chrish@aiaa.org.

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Public Policy AIAA Holds Congressional Educational Briefing on Hypersonics

A man stands at a podium speaking in a conference room with an American flag in the background. Four seated individuals are listening to him, all dressed in formal attire.
(Left to right) Iain Boyd, Mark Lewis, Kevin Bowcutt, and Dan Marren. Credit: AIAA

On 17 July, AIAA sponsored a “Hypersonics 101” briefing on Capitol Hill. The session educated congressional staff about the extent to which our nation is ready to defend against hypersonic threats and the imperative for a significant increase in technology investments, infrastructure and test capability investments, and talent development through universities, national and service labs, and industry. No specific programs or priorities were promoted. A background paper (aiaa.org/InformationPapers) was developed for the briefing and distributed to the attendees. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) served as the honorary co-hosts. The speakers were:


Kevin Bowcutt, Senior Technical Fellow and Chief Scientist of Hypersonics, The Boeing Company

Iain Boyd, James E. Knott Professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

Mark Lewis, Director, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Institute for Defense Analyses

Dan Marren, Site Director, Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center

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AIAA Committees Linking Society with Technology through the Arts

A man in casual wear stands next to a Dalek prop and in front of a banner featuring a futuristic space theme at a convention. Booths and attendees are visible in the background.
AIAA Tucson Section booth at the Phoenix Comic Fest Credit: AIAA Tucson Section

By Dr. Amir S. Gohardani, Chair, SAT IOC

The Society and Aerospace Technology Integration and Outreach Committee (SAT IOC) has discussed the role many aerospace technologies play in everyday lives and planned endeavors to actively reach out to the public, including through the arts. Michelle Rouch, an active SAT IOC member, spearheads many of this committee’s art activities.

The Art of Space exhibition launched at the Space Tech Expo (22–24 May) in Pasadena, CA, and was followed by the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) (24–27 May) in Los Angeles, CA. Michelle Rouch and two other AIAA members, artists Aldo Spadoni and Mark Pestana, were participating exhibition artists. Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder, stopped by to see a Rouch piece titled “Space-Cation,” inspired by Blue Origin’s April 2018 advertisement for a space vacation. The artwork depicts “Astro Jeff” surfing on his Blue Origin rocket in outer space, and Bezos commented: “This is awesome.”

Also, in late May, Rouch led the AIAA Tucson Section volunteers at the Phoenix Comic Fest. The section’s booth showcased a wind tunnel featuring a Superman model to illustrate aerodynamic forces and an art station for kids to draw their own rockets. The 7’-tall banner of “Space-Cation” drew much interest and AIAA handouts were shared with participants. Actor Michael Rooker, best known as the blue-skinned alien Yondu in the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” visited the wind tunnel and was interested in how it worked.

SAT IOC will continue highlighting societal aspects of aerospace technology in society and invites those interested to attend the committee tracks during the 2018 AIAA SPACE Forum in Orlando, FL.

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AIAA Student Programs AIAA Diversity Scholars Attend AIAA AVIATION Forum

Group of 17 people dressed in business and casual attire, standing and posing for a photo in front of a blue and black background. Some are smiling while others have neutral expressions.
AIAA Diversity Scholars at AIAA AVIATION Forum Credit: AIAA

In late June, 16 AIAA Diversity Scholars attended the 2018 AIAA AVIATION Forum in Atlanta, GA. 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 AVIATION Forum was sponsored by Airbus.

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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Section News ASAT 2018 – A Regional Conference in Southern California

Three men holding certificates stand in front of an AIAA banner, posing for a photo and smiling.
From left to right) Amir Rezaei, 2018 AIAA Orange County Student of the Year; James R. French, 2018 AIAA Orange County Engineer of the Year; and Dr. Haithem Taha, 2018 AIAA Orange County Young Professional of the Year. Credit: AIAA Orange County Section

By Dr. Amir S. Gohardani, Past Chair, AIAA Orange County Section

The AIAA Orange County (OC) Section hosted the 15th annual AIAA Southern California Aerospace Systems and Technology (ASAT) Conference and Banquet on 12 May in Southern California. With more than a decade-long heritage, this conference brought together Southern California engineers, educators, researchers, students, leaders, and enthusiasts for the 15th year in a row.

The one-day program consisted of 35 presentations in a number of parallel tracks both in morning and afternoon sessions. Each session was initiated by a prominent keynote speaker. F-22 Chief Test Pilot Steve Rainey gave a talk called “F-22 Raptor Flight Test Briefing,” and Dr. Anita Sengupta, senior vice president of Systems Engineering, Virgin Hyperloop One spoke about Virgin Hyperloop One.

The banquet immediately following the conference included an overview of section activities for the year and presentation of the AIAA Orange County Section awards for the 2018 Student of the Year, Amir Rezaei (University of California, Irvine): the 2018 Young Professional of the Year, Dr. Haithem Taha (University of California, Irvine); and the 2018 Engineer of the Year, James R. French. The banquet speaker Chief Richard Fields IV gave a talk on the “LAFD Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Unit.”

During ASAT 2018, there were unclassified presentations on all aspects of aerospace systems, technology, vehicle design, program management, policy, economics and education in three major categories:

• Aircraft Systems and Technology

• Space Systems and Technology

• Aerospace Public Policy and Education

For the fourth year, the Gohardani Presentation Award in Aeronautics and Astronautics also was presented. The 2018 recipient was Bob Barboza, Barboza Space Center, for his inspirational work to support high school students participating in the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Fellowship Program. Sponsored by the Springs of Dreams Corporation, a non-profit organization, this prestigious award includes a monetary prize and a certificate.

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Reuben H. Fleet Scholarships Awarded

Five individuals stand in front of an AIAA banner, dressed in business casual attire. They are posing for a photograph, smiling at the camera.
2018 Reuben H. Fleet Scholarship recipients (left to right): Alex Fleet (grandson of Reuben H. Fleet), Bryan Martin (University of California, San Diego), Paulina Diaz-Montiel (San Diego State University), Thomas Bogott, II (University of California, San Diego), and Greg Marien (Scholarship Coordinator). Credit: AIAA San Diego Section

On 10 May, the AIAA San Diego Section awarded the Reuben H. Fleet Scholarships at the AIAA San Diego Honors and Awards Banquet. Since 1983, 193 students have received the scholarship, which is made possible by the Reuben H. Fleet Foundation at The San Diego Foundation.

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AIAA Committees The Importance of Astronauts — AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee Essay Contest

The AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee’s (SSTC) annual middle school essay contest continues to improve its commitment to directly inspire students and local sections. Each year, additional local sections start parallel contests to feed into selection of national winners awarded by the SSTC.

The 2018 essay topic was “In 2017, NASA selected 12 new astronaut candidates. Describe the role of astronauts and their impact on NASA, their impact on the future of the United States, and their impact on international partnerships.” Seventh and eighth grade students were asked to participate. This year, seven sections submitted official entries to the contest, including Cape Canaveral, Greater Huntsville, Greater New Orleans, Hampton Roads, Long Island, Rocky Mountain, and the “At-Large section”. For each grade, there were first-, second-, and third-place winners, which included $100, $50, and $25 awards for the students, respectively. The first-place winners were also awarded $500 for their classroom toward STEM materials or activities. The six students also receive a one-year membership with AIAA.

The first-place winner for 8th grade was Rachel Pizzolato (and teacher Cathy Boucvalt) from Metairie, LA. The second-place winner for 8th grade was Taylor Honeycutt from Road Harvest, AL. The third-place winner for 8th grade is Maizy Guertin from Satellite Beach, FL.

The first-place winner for 7th grade is Angelina Pilataxy (and teacher Leslie Maynard) from Levittown, NY. The second-place winner for 7th grade is Benjamin Proctor from Carrollton, VA. The third-place winner for 7th grade is Kara King from Melbourne, FL.

All 2018 winning essays can be found in the next Bulletin entries.

The topic for 2019 is “President Donald Trump announced the idea of a Space Force. What are some advantages and/or disadvantages of having a Space Force and an organizational restructuring with the Department of Defense?” If you, your school, or section is interested in participating in the 2019 contest, contact Anthony Shao (ant.shao@gmail.com) or your local section for more details./

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AIAA Committees Astronauts – The Right Stuff Indeed! (1st place, 8th grade)

A person with long brown hair smiles while wearing a white graduation cap and gown.
Rachel Pizzolato Credit:

Rachel Pizzolato, Metairie, LA

In the early days of space travel, the U.S. Air Force worked feverishly to develop vehicles that would propel man into space. During those early stages of space exploration, unmanned rockets were launched to test their performance— All with the goal of putting men into space, and eventually, on the surface of the moon! However, before humans ever had the opportunity to venture into space and, ultimately, step foot on the moon, the U.S. Air Force used animals as the first astronauts. For over a decade, starting in 1948, animals, mainly monkeys, were used to test the effects of prolonged weightlessness and ionizing radiation, as well as, the viability of the spacecrafts. By 1958, The United States was in the midst of the space race with Russia, and NASA was formed to coordinate the U.S. space program. By May 1961, President John F. Kennedy made the bold statement about the United States committing itself to sending a man to the moon and returning him safely back to earth. It was a bold statement, but because of the previous work performed by the Air Force, and the adventurous nature of the astronauts involved, that statement became a reality in July of 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon and uttered the immortal words, “That’s one small step for man- one giant leap for mankind!”

For NASA, the role of the astronaut, which means “sailor among the stars” is to be the human connection in the study of space, the moon, other planets, and potentially, as technology evolves, The Universe! Developing systems that can keep astronauts alive, in the rigors of space, is an immense undertaking, and there is really no room for error when human life is involved. However, as technology evolves, the ability for NASA to perform unmanned flights increases every day. Computers do not have to eat, breath, or perform bodily functions like humans and animals do, and the need for life advanced life support systems is not needed. Also, computers do not get tired, lonely, or feel any emotions that might affect humans in the isolation of space. Currently, one of the most exciting fields in science is that of robotics, and NASA is exploring the surface of Mars with the rovers named, Opportunity and Curiosity, and the information that is being collected is of immense importance to the future of space travel. The knowledge that is being gleaned is only fueling the desire of mankind to venture forth and step foot on another planet – That is the role of the Astronaut! They are NASA’s Christopher Columbus! Recently, I heard Albert Sacco (STS-73) say, “Regardless of how advanced technology might become, no simulation, or rover, could possibly equate to the actual human experience of long-term space travel.” He also said, “Things rarely go as planned, and split-second decisions, that only a human can make, can be the key to a successful mission.”

NASA’s goals not only include space exploration, but they are also focused on designing, building and testing long-term life support and crew health systems, advanced habitat modules, and a host of technologies to reduce the reliance on the Earth for mankind’s future survival. Studying, and eventually sending astronauts to Mars, are major steps forward for NASA because they bring humans one step closer to being able to colonize other planets in our solar system. That might sound like the words of science fiction, but so did virtually every other advancement in science and technology before they became a reality. Granted, NASA’s astronauts are exploring where no man has gone before, however, just like the Vikings, Columbus, Magellan, Francis Drake, Lewis and Clark, Edmund Hillary, and every other explorer who has fueled discovery, they do it because they possess an unyielding sense of adventure.

Many of the devices that are used in the United States, and in the entire developed world every day, have their origins in the space program and were developed by the space program to be used by astronauts during their space travels. Cordless tools, freeze dried foods, survival blankets, and cell phone cameras are, but, just a few. Also, numerous medical advances in cardiac care and treatments for Osteoporosis, Vertigo, and Asthma owe their origins to studying the effects of long-term space travel on astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) and other space stations such as Skylab and Mir. Mir and the (ISS) are perfect examples of mankind’s unyielding sense of adventure, and how space travel can bring human kind closer together. Although Mir was a Russian space station, astronauts frequently visited aboard the Space Shuttles that carried supplies, astronauts and cosmonauts. Because space exploration is such an intense undertaking, it is extremely important to develop partnerships with other countries to utilize technologies that have been gleaned since the dawn of the space race. In the years since the termination of the Space Shuttle program, astronauts and cosmonauts have been ferrying back and forth to the ISS aboard Russian-made Soyuz rockets. Also, American, Russian, European, and Japanese rockets currently keep the ISS serviced by transporting vital cargo and supplies, which makes it easy to understand that international partnerships are extremely critical to the future of space travel.

The more complicated the endeavor—the more technology, money and labor that must go into it! It is only reasonable to surmise that a cooperation between each nation’s space program would increase our chances of succeeding at exploring and eventually colonizing other planets. According to Albert Sacco, in a speech I recently attended, “If the leaders of all the countries in the world were put into space, all of the fighting and disagreements would disappear. In space, it is all about the team— cooperation is key, and there is no room for egos!” That was possibly the most significant statement that I have ever heard, and it, certainly, emphasizes the importance of teamwork and selflessness and epitomizes everything that NASA and its astronauts strive for every day!!!!

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AIAA Committees Astronauts are perhaps some of the most influential people of our nation (2nd place, 8th grade)

Taylor Honeycutt, Covenant Christian Academy

Astronauts are perhaps some of the most influential people of our nation. They have inspired entire generations with their courage and readiness to sacrifice the comfort and security of home to venture into outer space. The roles they play in the world are as numerous as they are significant.

Astronauts’ impact on NASA:

Astronauts hold a pivotal role in NASA’s research and missions. They voluntarily enter into uncertain situations and strenuous conditions on spacecraft (such as microgravity) to conduct experiments and collect necessary data for research. Astronauts are the eyes, ears, and hands of NASA scientists in space. They relay information to NASA on what is, and isn’t, successful during experiments so that the spacesuits, launch vehicle, life support systems, and all equipment used during flight can be improved. The provided feedback helps the scientists who designed the equipment decide whether or not improvements are necessary. The information gathered from experiments conducted by astronauts has also helped improve—and even save—people’s lives on Earth. Many of the technologies used on an everyday basis would not exist if not for the research conducted by astronauts. Additionally, scientists have been able to observe how spending extended periods of time in space can affect the humans—both physically and psychologically. The challenges that astronauts face while in space prompt NASA to ask relevant questions and find the means to answer them. They are repeatedly required to step back, reflect, and find innovative ways to address pressing issues in our world. Astronauts inspire the scientists in the NASA workforce to continue their work every day.

Astronauts’ impact on the future of the United States:

Astronauts help advance America’s lead in technology; the military and medical fields have benefitted from advancements connected to spaceflight. The United States is arguably the leading force in military and medical technologies in the world. Historically, NASA has partnered with the military, and this partnership can be expected to continue when advantageous to the American people. Similarly, NASA has provided access to long-duration microgravity environments in which many materials and medical experiments have been conducted.

Once they return to Earth, astronauts often act as ambassadors for spaceflight and high technology; by sharing their experiences and achievements, they can use their public recognition to promote the cause of space exploration and encourage others to be aware of the current events occurring in it. They help influence the future of American education by inspiring students to take an interest in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering, which leads many of them to pursue higher education and careers in these areas.

NASA has been promoting commercial spaceflight ventures such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, and these companies will soon launch their own astronauts into space. NASA’s team of astronauts will provide great assistance to prepare them for the missions.

Astronauts’ impact on international partnerships:

Space exploration has managed to ultimately bring people closer over the course of various political climates and international relations. During the Space Race of the 20th century, the United States and Soviet Union were famously at odds. However, after an agreement was made, the two countries conducted the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Astronaut Thomas Stafford and Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov shook hands during the module docking. This gesture is credited with ending the Space Race—as well as the Cold War, according to some.

Astronaut assignments on crews provide the opportunity for team building between allied countries. The United States has hosted the first astronaut from several of our allies, including: Joseph Jean-Pierre Marc Garneau of Canada, Rodolfo Neri Vela of Mexico, Jean-Loup Jacques Marie Chrétien of France, Wubbo Johannes Ockels of the Netherlands, Claude Nicollier of Switzerland, and Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The impact on these nations of having one of their citizens become an astronaut cannot be measured. They join the space-faring nations once one of their citizens flies.

Spaceflight has allowed people to overlook differences and collaborate in pursuit of a goal—to quench our burning curiosity about the universe and explore the unknown. In an excessively cynical and self-absorbed world, spaceflight grounds us and truly puts things into perspective; we are merely human—an incomprehensibly small part of the big picture. It is important to remember just how finite and fragile our planet is, and how we must take care of it; as well as how crucial it is to have hope and learn to work together. As physicist Stephen Hawking said, “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

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AIAA Committees The Importance of an Astronaut (3rd place, 8th grade)

Maizy Guertin, DeLaura Middle School

Astronauts have a major part in discovering new technology, ideas, and objects for people throughout the world. The information that they retrieve from space is crucial in our understanding of new resources, the universe, and ourselves. Astronauts need to be focused on their tasks and interested to learn more. Astronauts play a role that is key for our growth because they have a large impact on NASA, the future of the United States, and international partnerships.

An astronaut’s role is dangerous, exciting, and includes a lot of hard work. Astronauts perform science experiments daily and medical experiments on their bodies to see how they react to microgravity. Dunbar states, “Working on the ISS also means maintaining the ISS. Crewmembers are constantly checking support systems, cleaning filters and updating computer equipment. Similarly, Mission Control, on Earth, constantly monitors the ISS. Mission Control sends messages each day through voice or e-mail to assist the crewmembers in their daily routine.” If astronauts did not participate in these activities daily, their lives and the future of technology may be at stake.

Astronauts impact NASA whether or not they are in space. When astronauts are in space, they help NASA discover new information about the Universe and how their bodies are affected by microgravity. If NASA did not have astronauts experimenting in space, it would be very difficult to collect accurate data about space. When they are not in space they are helping prepare for more explorations, getting accustomed to conditions in space, and explaining their past discoveries to other scientists. SPACE-The Most Amazing Space Discoveries of 2016 states, “The star Proxima Centauri lies just 4.2 light-years from Earth’s sun — a stone’s throw, cosmologically speaking. In August, scientists discovered a planet orbiting in Proxima Centauri’s habitable zone, or the region where liquid water might exist on the planet’s surface (and thus boosting the odds that life might have evolved there). This newly discovered planet, dubbed Proxima b, has a minimum mass of about 1.27 times Earth’s mass, further increasing the possibility that this planet could be habitable.” This knowledge provides new ideas about sustainability on other planets and without astronauts and their discoveries this would not have been found.

Astronauts help the United States by conducting experiments that will help the health and future of the country. Cofield says, “Research that benefits our lives on Earth has been performed inside the Space Shuttle and Space Station. For instance, protein crystals grown in space provide researchers insights into stronger, safer medications here on Earth. Plants grown in space help scientists learn how to grow healthier stronger plants on Earth. Plant experiments also give researchers ideas of how to feed astronauts on long-term missions beyond low Earth orbit. Studies have also been performed on astronauts themselves, mostly in an effort to determine the effects of microgravity on human bone and tissue. Another benefit of space research is an anthrax-killing device. This device was developed from technology used to grow plants on the ISS.” Experimentation on the ISS has proved to be very beneficial to Earth and its inhabitants. The astronauts must be very intelligent to be able to conduct these tests. These astronauts have also proved to be very passionate about their jobs. Without these astronauts to do these experiments, the United States would be puzzled about life and objects in space and specific medical conditions.

Astronauts and space exploration has impacted international affairs since the beginning. Competition against the Soviet Union resulted in putting a human in space. According to Chiao & Pulham, “The Soviets responded by flying the first space stations, the Salyut series. We countered with Skylab, and upped the ante significantly, developing the Space Shuttle. The Soviet Union felt compelled to develop its own shuttle, Buran — and the challenge was beyond them, driving the space program of the USSR to its knees. After just one unmanned demonstration flight, of an incomplete vehicle, Buran was relegated to museums and boneyards, never to fly with a crew, never to fly again.” International competition only pushed Earth’s inhabitants to increase space exploration and technology, by competition. Without astronauts to put in space, different countries would not be able to challenge each other to make Earth and its technology stronger.

Astronauts and their roles have made a huge impact on NASA, the future of the United States, and international affairs. Without their perseverance, intelligence, bravery, and passion, planet Earth would not be the same. The technology that has been created and information collected from space, has made Earth a better, safer, and more resourceful place all thanks to astronauts.

Works Cited

Chiao, L., & Pulham, E. (2016, March 23). The Politics of Space Exploration. Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/leroy-chiao/the-politics-of-space-exp_b_9532278.html

Cofield, C. (n.d.). Out of This World! The Most Amazing Space Discoveries of 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.space.com/35099-most-amazing-space-astronomy-discoveries-of-2016.html

Dunbar, B. (n.d.). An Astronaut’s Work. Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/9-12/features/F_Astronauts_Work.html

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AIAA Committees NASA’s astronaut selection is key to exhibiting America’s advancing space program (1st place, 7th grade)

A young individual with long dark hair, wearing a light pink hoodie, stands in front of wooden cabinets with a space-themed design. .
Angelina Pilataxy Credit:

Angelina Pilataxy, Wisdom Lane Middle School

NASA’s astronaut selection is key to exhibiting America’s advancing space program. The astronauts are ambassadors of the American people, NASA astronauts may even travel to the space station (ISS), which helps create various relationships. Before they blast off into space NASA astronauts first play a huge role here on Earth. They must be highly skilled, talented and physically able to meet NASA’s requirements. There are strengths and abilities that directly affect the future of the NASA space program. It’s important to identify and highlight some of the attributes that make them so significant and why they’re important to a global space effort.

NASA’s astronaut candidates are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in, biological science, engineering, physical science, and mathematics or computer science. Zen Cardman (one of the astronauts who were selected in 2017) earned a bachelor’s degree of Science in biology as well as a Master of Science degree in Marine sciences at the University of North Carolina. Not only are there strict educational requirements NASA candidates must pass a demanding as well as difficult physical assessment like doing military water survival training, becoming qualified scuba divers, being exposed to high and low atmospheric pressures, undergo swimming tests, as well as doing flights in the “vomit commit”. The astronaut candidates must also have a height between 62 and 75 inches, and almost perfect vision, a these things are significant in becoming an astronaut.

NASA astronauts have important roles that correlate with their specific missions, like Bob Hines (one of the astronauts who were selected in 2017) who graduated from the U.S Air Force Test Pilot School, where he earned a Master’s degree in Flight Test Engineering. Some basic roles of astronauts are Commander Astronaut, he/she is responsible for the overall success of the missions and also making sure the astronauts are safe. Also there is a pilot, they assist the commander and is responsible for operating vehicles he/she may also help deploy satellites.

Out of many candidates who apply for becoming an astronauts, few may get the chance at a residency aboard the International Space Station. International relationships are forged by the cooperation levels required aboard. For this reason, the candidate’s selection is especially critical to NASA’s future. The I.S.S. currently holds astronauts from a variety of countries including Japan and Russia. Tensions with Russia have recently been high, but in space a different form of diplomacy maintains relations. The chance to study outer space for extended periods of time is what draws nations to the I.S.S. Even though Russia and America had a competition for who gets to the moon first, both countries still train together and spend long durations of time with each other on the ISS. Teamwork among the members onboard the ISS is critical to its safe operation while in orbit around the Earth. The ISS represents the collaboration of multiple space agencies across a span of countries. It is the culmination of multiple ideas and scientific minds trying to achieve something that has never been done before. Space exploration cannot be done by a single country, but only by a joint multi-national effort. The ISS project contrasts to the space programs of the past, when American’s worked exclusively with themselves and so did the Russians.

Space exploration could lead to tremendous discoveries for a nation such as mining for new resources and discovering new energy sources that can lead to an economic advantage for a country. Each new discovery that will be made by a potential candidate makes America seem more advanced than others. A nation’s insatiable appetite for new technology pushes the abilities of America’s space program. NASA needs to ensure that their candidates are at the cutting edge of technology. A candidate must have extensive knowledge of the latest advancements in their particular field as they contribute their fair share to new achievements.

Astronauts have a great impact on the future of NASA because they are great role models for other future potential astronauts. After each space exploration astronauts may come back with new and improved ideas to help the next generation of astronauts. Providing a positive image of American Astronauts ensures that a new generation will aspire to be like them. NASA has to select only the most inspiring and courageous candidates to represent their space program. Among many goals, getting to Mars is one of the most important. One of these twelve astronauts may one day get the chance to colonize Mars, NASA has to be sure they’re picking the right person. Plans to reach Mars have already been started, and this astronaut class may be the first to really be eligible. Reaching Mars would be a major achievement for NASA and for America. Mars would not be the end of our exploration however, but it will serve as a launching pad to the outer reaches of our solar system. Jupiter, Saturn and even Neptune are all fair game after we reach Mars. There is truly no limit to the endless possibilities which all include NASA’s input.

It has been fully demonstrated how NASA’s astronauts directly affect the future of not only NASA but America itself. One day, one of these astronauts may step foot on Mars to represent America all the while inspiring a whole generation of future astronauts. There are tough requirements to even be selected as a candidate, and the position comes with great pride and responsibility. These Astronauts will work alongside their colleagues from other nations to push space exploration to new levels. This joint effort by International countries shows that each Astronaut selected plays a major role in Earth’s advancement. Their achievements not only improve daily life on this planet, but give the technologies of the future a kick start.

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AIAA Committees Astronauts could impact all of humanity (2nd place, 7th grade)

Benjamin Proctor, Hampton Christian Academy

The term astronaut is derived from the Greek words astron meaning “star” and nautes, meaning “sailor” (1). For some, just hearing the word astronaut can conjure up an image of a “star sailor” traveling into the vast unknown of space. The role of astronaut candidates and their impact on NASA, the future of the United States and international partnerships, is enormous and can have long lasting effects. Given that astronauts could make contact with extraterrestrials or other life forms, some might say in this role, astronauts could impact all of humanity.

Each astronaut’s impact on NASA is not only in the role of the “star sailor” but also as a public relations expert. Many people think of NASA and the astronaut program as symbiotic. It is important that astronauts are not only physically fit and experts in their fields of study, but that they are also prepared to function as a spokesperson for NASA. Astronauts directly impact how the United States citizens view NASA, current missions and future missions. Since the cost of space exploration is expensive, it is essential that astronauts be able to express why the space program is important to pursue and fund. Astronauts influence how future generations view NASA by the way in which they convey NASA’s role and educate the public.

Technology utilized in support of and by astronauts in the past has brought about better products that are used by people today. Many existing technologies were redeveloped by NASA’s space program such as; the cordless drill, airplane seating, shoe insoles, memory foam and scratch resistant lenses. NASA scientists and other experts are investing in technology concepts and ideas that may be used by astronauts in the future. Some of NASA’s current developments in the fields of robotics and nanotechnology could not only be used by astronauts but one day could change how medical procedures are performed in the future. Although new technologies are tested and developed prior to being provided to astronauts, they are the first individuals who will using them under the conditions for which they were built.

The United States and with it, NASA, has long been considered a leader of the world with regard to space exploration; therefore, astronauts also impact United States’ international partnerships. NASA’s astronauts work in combination with astronauts from other countries on board the international space station and are under the constant scrutiny of all involved. The way astronauts conduct themselves in these partnerships has a direct impact on how other countries view NASA and the United States.

In the future, during international space missions, astronauts will be working for longer periods of time with individuals from other countries, planning, preparing and traveling to different space destinations and possibly other worlds. It is imperative that the way in which NASA’s astronauts are viewed by the international community is perceived as working in conjunction with other countries for the greater good of all humankind.

It can be said that astronauts risk their lives in order to give humanity a greater understanding and knowledge of space. If an astronaut candidate were to discover or come into contact with another lifeform during a space mission, he could be considered an ambassador for all of mankind. The way in which an astronaut were to interact with a lifeform both physically and by forms of communication might have a direct impact how humankind would be viewed by the lifeform and perhaps other lifeforms throughout space and other galaxies.

(1) https://enwikipedia.org/wiki/Astronaut

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AIAA Committees How Astronauts Make an Impact (3rd place, 7th grade)

Kara King, DeLaura Middle School

Ever since 1969 when Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon and the world saw what was possible, the whole idea of NASA and space changed. An astronaut is an individual trained in space and travel in a spacecraft, who does activities related to human space exploration- meaning their role is to explore space. Space has caused a decent number of events throughout history, but nothing would be possible without the people who were trained to complete the missions. Astronauts have a very significant importance and have made a large impact on international partnerships, the future of the United States, and NASA.

To begin with, astronauts have made a large impact on international partnerships in the past, and future. In 1957 when the Soviet Union first launched Sputnik, the Space Race had begun- against the United States. It lasted for about 12 years, full of failed attempts of the two countries to land a man on the moon, and technically ended in 1969 when Armstrong walked on the moon first. Besides wars, this “race” has played a significant part in shaping the relationship between Russia and America, and none of this would be possible without astronauts. (Source 1) The article states, “Beginning in the late 1950s, space would become another dramatic arena for this competition, as each side sought to prove the superiority of its technology, its military firepower and–by extension–its political-economic system.” This is important because there was already a competition between the two, and astronauts intensified it- causing them to dislike each other even more and not have a great partnership. Now, the two countries are not exactly allies, and a big part of it was because of the Space Race. Also, they will have an impact on partnerships in the future due to nearly every country being aware of the information the United States is able to receive from space, as well as the technology astronauts proved we have. (Source 2) These variables could play an important role in any future wars or issues the world comes across- such as gaining allies or spying on the enemies, and they would not be available if it were not for astronauts. In sum, astronauts have made an impact on international partnerships because of the Space Race and technology they have proved works- which could lead to helping other countries.

In addition to the first idea, astronauts will impact the future of the United States by allowing them to gather information from space to further study. By creating and living at the International Space Station, astronauts can send what they see and learn back to Earth- which could answer questions such as what organisms are living in space, and whether or not human life could be supported on Mars. (Source 3) It states, “With astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station, NASA is learning a great deal about what it takes to create and test critical systems, efficient communications technologies and protections for the human body for a deep space mission, all of which is critical in our journey to Mars.” One could also infer that in the future, if space organisms somehow make their way to Earth, this information they gather now could be very useful- as well as if any diseases came, they could find a cure with what they previously collected. Together, these conclude that astronauts going to space and living in the ISS makes a large impact on the future of the United States for many years to come.

Lastly, astronauts are significantly impacting the NASA organization due to actions previously talked about- such as finding new life forms, answering questions, and forming partnerships. Astronauts could be considered one of the main parts of NASA though, as the organization was originally made for space by the government. (Source 4) The two benefit from each other- they help the other get to space but can only do so because of the trained professionals. To end, NASA’s goal could not come near completed without astronauts, which they produce. Source 5 states, “NASA’s vision: We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.” This piece of evidence is showing that NASA wants to find out the unknown in space- but as of now, nobody can go into space except for astronauts.

In brief, NASA is severely impacted by astronauts because their business is simply based off space, astronauts, and space exploration.

In the final analysis, all evidence pointed to the fact that astronauts significantly impact international partnerships, the future of the United States, and NASA. The provided evidence clearly supports the thesis, as it explains how astronauts impacted America’s relationship with Russia, how they collect useful information for the country about space and making Mars habitable, and how astronauts are the world’s source to everything humankind needs to know. Although astronauts are often overlooked, they have made such a large impact that has shaped the past, present, and future.

Bibliography of Sources

Source 1- History.com Staff. “The Space Race.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/space-race.

Source 2- “Space Energy: How Space Technology Can Help Us on Earth.” European Space Agency, www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Preparing_for_the_Future/Space_for_Earth/Energy/Space_Energy_How_space_technology_can_help_us_on_Earth.

Source 3- Rainey, Kristine. “15 Ways the International Space Station Is Benefiting Earth.” NASA, NASA, 29 Oct. 2015, www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/15_ways_iss_benefits_earth.

Source 4- Dunbar, Brian. “What Is NASA?” NASA, NASA, 18 May 2015, www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-nasa-k4.html.

Source 5- Dunbar, Brian. “What’s Next For NASA?” NASA, NASA, 26 Jan. 2015, www.nasa.gov/about/whats_next.html.

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Obituary AIAA Fellow Venkayya Died in May

Dr. Vipperla B. Venkayya, age 87, died 24 May 2018.

After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Dr. Venkayya moved to the United States in 1957 to pursue Master’s degrees at the University of Missouri, Rolla. He completed his Master’s degrees in electrical and civil engineering and then worked for the highway department in Harrisburg, PA. He was accepted to the University of Illinois in 1960, and completed his Ph.D. in civil engineering in two years and two months.

He accepted a job at the State University of New York in Buffalo and the university sponsored his green card in 1964. As a student advisor, Dr. Venkayya was introduced to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where many of his students went to work or intern. In 1967, Dr. Venkayya started a long and rewarding career with the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He retired in 2001 as the Director and Leader of the Multidisciplinary Technology Center, Air Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory.

Dr. Venkayya was recognized nationally and internationally for his leadership and expertise in the development of structural design, analysis and optimization techniques and pioneered many advancements in design methods for efficient, lightweight, reliable flight vehicle structures. He developed many structural design/analysis methods used by the Department of Defense, NASA, industry, and academia. A Wright Laboratory Fellow, he was the recipient of many other accolades during his career including the 2000 Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award, NASA Douglas Michel NASTRAN Award for lifetime achievements; ASCE Aerospace Structures and Materials Award; AF Flight Dynamics Laboratory Director’s Award for NASP Integration Team; a two-time recipient of the General Foulouis Award; and the Air Force Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award. Dr. Venkayya developed ASTROS (Automated Structural Optimization System), a premier preliminary design and optimization software program. His accomplishments provided faster, less costly and reduced-weight aircraft preliminary designs. He transformed a culture by convincing designers to adopt techniques different from past experience that led to changes in the way structural systems are designed by substituting analysis for more costly physical testing. In 1997, he became an AIAA Fellow.

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Obituary AIAA Fellow Eustis Died in May

Robert “Bob” Eustis died on 24 May. He was 98 years old.

Eustis graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1942, receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with high distinction. He taught Navy and regular students at the university as an instructor until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1944 and was assigned to the Aircraft Engine Research Lab of NACA (later NASA), where he headed the Fundamental Turbine Research Section. After discharge in 1947, he entered MIT as an instructor (later assistant professor) and a doctoral student in mechanical engineering. Eustis joined a Philadelphia-based start-up in 1951 as chief engineer, and while there finished his ScD dissertation in 1953. Moving to California Eustis became head of the Heat and Mechanics section at Stanford Research Institute, later SRI International.

In 1954, Eustis was asked to teach a course in thermodynamics in the mechanical engineering department at Stanford University, and the next year joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Thus began a 35-year career that ended in 1990 when he reached the then mandatory retirement age of 70. During these years Eustis combined teaching, mentoring, and research with professorial duties such as several terms in the Academic Senate and seven years as a Senior Associate Dean of the School of Engineering.

One of his major efforts was to introduce more science into the mechanical engineering curriculum so that graduate students would be better able to adapt during their careers as engineering evolved. With Professors E. Charles Kruger and Morton Mitchner, Bob founded the High Temperature Gasdynamics Laboratory in 1961, and was its director until 1980. To date the laboratory has graduated 300 Ph.D. students.

Eustis was the Clarence and Patricia Woodard Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Standford and received the Tau Beta Pi award for distinguished undergraduate teaching. He was also a recipient of the Centennial Certificate of the American Society for Engineering Education; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; received the Emerson Electric Technology Award; and received a medal of achievement from the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union for his work in magneto hydrodynamics. After retirement, he started a company that designed and manufactured wooden chairs for libraries and clubs, and patented a joint design that allowed the company to guarantee that the joints would not break. After 10 years, Eustis and his wife gave the company to Stanford to endow the Robert and Katherine Eustis Graduate Fellowship Fund.

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September 2018 AIAA Bulletin