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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 1

AIAA Houston Section September/October 2005 Volume 30, Number 6

Triton Systems Stellar-J

(Page 5)

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 2

September/October 2005 Contents

From the Editor … 3 Chair’s Corner … 4

Letters to the Editor … 4

Feature Story: The Stellar-J Launch Vehicle … 5 Wes Kelly discusses his idea for cheaper access to space, and how sometimes

simply having a good idea is far less than half the battle.

Feature Story: New York to Paris. Earth to Orbit. … 8 Jim Akkerman and Glenn Smith of Advent Launch Services

write about their ocean-launched, ocean-recovered concept

Feature Story: Next Generation Rocket Scientists … 10 Brett Williams, Aerosciences and Drafting Instructor at Fredericksburg High School describes their innovative and fascinating program aimed at exposing students to

real engineering projects.

Section Awards … 14 Staying Informed … 14

Membership Page … 15

Lunch–n–Learn: Automating Modeling and Simulation Using the Bond Graph Method … 16

Lunch–n–Learn: When Smart People do Dumb Things … 17

Professional Engineering: Past, Present, and Future … 17

Local Industry News and Announcements … 18 Lunch–n–Learn: SBIR / SBTTT … 18

More on Education and the Workforce … 19 Lunch–n–Learn: Apollo EVA, Lessons Learned … 20

Lunch–n–Learn: Advent Launch System … 20 Outreach and Education Page … 21

Section Announcements … 21 Calendar … 22

Cranium Cruncher … 23 Odds and Ends … 24

Upcoming Conference Presentations … 26

Cover: Wes Kelly’s Stellar-J climbs to altitude on turbine power, carrying an upper stage with payload piggyback. Concept art by Jon Berndt, using POV-Ray (, Terragen (, and Moray (

Horizons is a bi-monthly publication of the Houston section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Jon S. Berndt Editor

AIAA Houston Section Executive Council

Steven R. King Chair

Dr. Jayant Ramakrishnan Chair-Elect

T. Sophia Bright Past Chair

Dr. Syri Koelfgen Secretary

Dr. Brad Files Treasurer


Brett Anderson Elizabeth Blome Ellen Gillespie

Glenn Jenkinson Barry Tobias

Dr. Merri Sanchez Douglas Yazell Albert Meza Mike Oelke JR Reyna

More information at:

This newsletter is created by members of the Houston section. Opinions expressed herein other than by elected Houston section officers belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent the posi-tion of AIAA or the Houston section. Unless explicitly stated, in no way are the comments of individual contributors to Horizons to be construed as necessarily the opinion or position of AIAA, NASA, its contractors, or any other organization. Please address all newsletter correspondence to the Editor:[emailprotected]

John Keener Vice-Chair, Operations


John Valasek

Dr. Rakesh Bhargava Elizabeth Blome Joy Conrad King Elizabeth Zapata Daniel Nobles Nicole Smith

Dr. Douglas Schwaab Laura Slovey

Michael Begley Jon Berndt Steve King

Gary Cowan Amy Efting

Tim Propp Vice-Chair, Technical


Dr. Al Jackson Dr. Zafar Taqvi William West Ellen Gillespie Aaron Morris

Dr. Kamlesh Lulla Padraig Moloney

Bill Atwell Andy Petro Gary Brown



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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 3

put the “NewSpace” companies or such newfangled ideas as pay-for-delivery in the critical path. After all, they are unproven. As I said in my Space News piece, the one thing we have actual evidence for is that the traditional solutions and players have blown it almost 100% of the time when it comes to delivering on the sales pitch. But my idea of offering payments etc. wouldn't even shut out the traditionals. They would just have to get creative again.”

In announcing the results of the ESAS, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin expressed strong support for prudent use of commercial services:

“We are baselining in the out years past the retirement of the shuttle, … commercial service to the station. That is the only known and know-able – at this point – market for those entrepreneurs that I have to give. We … will be providing this fall a new procurement to try to stimulate that market. ... I can provide the incentive and I can provide the market that I have and commercial providers will either emerge or not. It is not accept-able for a publicly funded program not to have a way of meeting its mis-sion requirements in the event that commercial operators do or don't materialize. So, the architecture that we have advanced allows NASA to meet its mission requirements, but also allows NASA to concentrate its resources on other more advanced activities if commercial providers can emerge in the next five to seven years. That is exactly our intent. Our fond-est desire would be to keep NASA on the very frontier of space activity, letting commercial providers fill in for those activities which are not frontier activities. We will be putting some money where our mouth is.”

The Administrator’s comments sound quite promising, and the JSC solicitation published 10/28 for Commercial Orbital Transpor-tation Service demonstrations raises hopes that we will see the leverag-ing of an engine that is more pow-erful than the SSME, F1, or SRB: American entrepreneurial spirit - the engine of our ingenuity.

and questions being raised not nec-essarily regarding the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE), but the implementation of it (ESAS). Some would like to see more commercial opportunity associated with the VSE — not just the same “lip ser-vice” that has been given literally for two decades up to this point. Wes Kelly, designer of a potential Earth-to-orbit workhorse called Stellar-J (see article this issue), says: “If NASA wants to go to Mars, it will be able to only if commercial people (not just the big guys) know how to get to orbit, have the facilities, the contracts, and do it routinely. Not the other way around.” The point is that, while NASA has the technical capability to go to the Moon, or Mars, etc., it will only be able to afford to do so if there is a more established infra-structure that it can leverage. For example, imagine if Antarctic re-search expedition teams had to de-sign, manufacture, and operate C-130 aircraft, helicopters, and ship transports to perform their mission.

Rick Tumlinson, Co-Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, expressed disappointment in the ESAS plan in early October:

“The public sector has to understand its role is to enable the private sector – not to do it for us. This is critical. NASA can't expand civilization into space any more than the FBI can. They are a federal agency. Their job is to help the public, not be the public. NASA can be a lean, mean, explora-tion machine if they want to be - though they don't for all kinds of rea-sons, which add up to this disaster of a plan. They feel the need to own every-thing, to run it all, to keep their rice bowls filled and those of their con-stituents ...

NASA is faced with how to do this on a budget. In the example of the vehi-cles, the agency has decided to go build yet another mega ship, to its own specs and design. What would have hap-pened if the agency had had the in-credible, daring, concept of saying we will pay X number of dollars for X number of pounds delivered to X loca-tion per year? Some say that we can’t

In the midst of the recovery from hurricane Katrina and the birth of hurricane Rita, NASA released the results of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS). The combination of the three events proved to be an opportune target for a number of editorial writers. I lost count of how many times I read, “Can we really afford to spend over $100 billion on something we’ve essentially already done, in the same way we’ve already done it … now?” [Rarely mentioned is that the cost given is spread out over many years.] I could not help but think of a poster I had seen, a parody of the motivational messages seen in the workplace: “The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawn-mower.”

Frankly, the nation is facing some huge abnormal and unexpected expenses. The cost/benefit question is a valid one to ask. In an email discussion I had with several peo-ple, a couple of relevant points were raised:

Going to the Moon and later, Mars will cost the American middle class taxpaying family of four as much per year as they spend on one pizza.

All NASA knowledge is in the public domain and thus may constitute the greatest single growing source of intel-lectual capital available to the citi-zens of the United States.

Perhaps one of the best endorse-ments for human spaceflight comes from China. With the insight gained from observing decades of U.S. and Russian human space-flight endeavors, that country is convinced of the worth of the ef-fort – perhaps asking themselves not if they could afford to pursue it, but if they could afford not to.

The Why is not in question. It’s the How, and the Who – at least if you ask the new space entrepreneurs.

Within the editorial noise, amidst the denigrating references to “Apollo v2.0”, there is an interest-ing signal: a set of intelligent points

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From the Editor The Santa Maria was Rented JON S. BERNDT

“… imagine if Antarctic research expedition teams had to design, manufacture, and operate C-130 aircraft, helicopter, and ship transports to perform their mission.”

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with growing attendance. This is principally due to the dedication and thorough planning of Execu-tive Council members Tim Propp, Douglas Yazell, and Ellen Gilles-pie. We have already started plan-ning for our next Annual Techni-cal Symposium, which will be held May 19, 2006. Well over 200 at-tendees are expected. In addition, Professional Engineers attending our technical seminars and discus-sions may earn credit towards their annual continuing education re-quirements. Whether as a student, lecturer, or interested party, we welcome your participation in all that the Houston Section has to offer. Let’s continue the journey…


“Technical Competence” in our world of human space flight is a major tenet allowing missions to be performed successfully and their crews returned safely home. It will also be required to meet the known and unforeseen challenges in implementing the President’s Vision for Space Exploration and exploiting untold opportunities that will likely follow. Over the years I have seen less importance placed within many organizations on keeping one’s technical skills sharp. In-house training courses, conference paper presentation, or working on an advanced degree after hours fell by the wayside. This can be attrib-uted to many factors such as budget pressures, contract changes, workforce reductions, or limited

thought put into career planning. Our new NASA Administrator, Dr. Mike Griffin, brings to NASA’s top leadership a renewed sense of technical excellence. He places a great value on technical competence. I personally feel we are going to see a renewed empha-sis placed on ensuring our work-force is adequately trained and that their skills remain honed. AIAA and its Houston Section are poised to respond to these needs. At the National level, AIAA pro-vides a wide variety of conferences throughout the year, conducts both resident and online continu-ing education technical courses, and is an excellent means of having your work published. The Hous-ton Section is averaging two tech-nical Lunch n’ Learns a month


[Regarding the editorial coverage of STS-114] To the Editor: I am appalled at the coverage that surrounded the return to flight of Discovery. The media blasted what was basically a flawless flight. Maybe we have too much coverage of the amount of technology that is now available to us to view what happens during launch and on ... Never before has a flight been so photographed. Which of these photographs are of value? How much damage has been logged on previous flights when the shuttle has returned? Are we comparing the visual inspections from previ-ous flights to this last one, STS-114. I feel that we can always improve; have we improved since Colum-bia? You bet we have. I would like to have seen just one positive re-port from the new media that was positive about STS-114. We all as a team did a spectacular job to get

human flight. Yes, there may be some loss of life, tragic as it is, eve-ryone working on these programs respects and reacts to this real risk. We have a passion. I don’t think that passion and fire can be easily doused. Leesa Beier Horizons invites readers to com-ment on articles presented here. Please send correspondence to the editor at: [emailprotected] Please make a note in your letter if you would prefer to remain anony-mous if your letter is printed in Horizons.

the shuttle to the point of flying again. All of us should be com-mended for the hard work and effort that went into this flight along with many other flights. When you sign up for a job like ours there are inherent risks. We all know that. Would we do any-thing else given the choice? Most of us would say no. Space explora-tion is in your blood. It is what makes you passionate. So, we take the risks and we persevere. My hat is off to all my teammates within the NASA community, both NASA and all the subcon-tractors that have made the space program so successful. We need to send a message to the media that they wouldn’t have the capability to even broadcast their narrow minded view if it wasn’t for the space program and the peo-ple that pour their heart and souls into this work. I look forward to the next flight and the years to come of successful

Letters to the [emailprotected] AIAA HOUSTON



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Triton Systems needs to describe its chief project to two principal audi-ences:

1. Engineers interested in techni-cal details and

2. Venture backers interested in customers, markets, and re-turn on investment.

Despite the fact that AIAA is largely a community of engineers, this article will address both views. To illustrate the difference in per-spectives, we will begin with an “engineering” description.

The Stellar-J is a winged first stage vehicle built around kerosene liquid rocket engines and air breathing propulsion. Conventional jet en-gines power the Stellar-J to strato-spheric, subsonic, cruise followed by rocket ignition and continued climb. This first stage ascent is performed with a pull-up terminat-ing in staging conditions similar to existing vertical launchers. Descent follows a profile similar to the X-15, X-34 or the Space Shuttle at high angle of attack until reaching subsonic speeds in which jet cruise or glide descent to an airfield are options. Like a fighter aircraft that carries a range of different ordi-nance on wing pylons, the Stellar-J carries upper stages or modules within a payload envelope. Triton Systems LLC, a small aerospace startup is pursuing its design.

Commercial aviation stands as proof of routine jet-powered strato-spheric, subsonic flight. Unless designing for around-the-world cruise, mass fractions of aircraft seldom approach those of ballistic rockets, but state of the art inter-mediate values make this flight regime attractive as the start of first stage flight. If one third of the delta velocity required for orbital flight (~30Kfps) is obtained in first stage, 1500 fps can be derived from jet cruise speed at altitude. After first stage rocket burn (adding

~8500 fps ideal velocity), upper stages can be released for continua-tion to orbital missions. The scal-ability of the concept parallels com-mercial jet aircraft: takeoff weights from 35 to 350 tons. In the course of designing Stellar-J vehicles around multiples of available engines, we have developed design, trajectory, mission, and per-formance data for 35, 70, and 350-ton configurations. At 350 tons the larger Stellar J configura-tions compare in mass to jumbo jets - or the Soyuz launch vehicle. As a result of discussions with potential customers, we include designs for recoverable or-biters for manned and unmanned sortie flights or rendezvous with space platforms and space stations.

That’s the aerospace engineer’s capsule description. Now the “elevator (sales) pitch”:

The small satellite user community needs a cheap, reliable, launch sys-tem that can:

1. Turn around fast.

2. Grow with user needs.

3. Cultivate capabilities mutually beneficial - e.g., rendezvous and return cargo.

The size of customer community is large:

• small companies

• civil and military offices

• private research institutes

• universities and related re-search consortia

• domestic and foreign.

Our approach: Horizontal take-off and landing first stage with wings and jet engines. Rocket burn from airline cruise to typical booster rocket staging.

Most of the system is reusable many times. Where recent X-prize events are similar to 1920’s barn-storming, this is the Ford Tri-Motor concept. Completion of the 35-ton system for 1000-lb payloads is a $100 million development pro-ject over three years with initial funding sought for a demonstrator vehicle.

As can be seen, both engineering and business presentations convey knowledge essential to both parties, but with different emphasis; and both cases are essential for commer-cial space development. Commer-cial space has obtained increased legitimacy in recent years, perhaps first from DARPA and USAF. Now even NASA is allocating parts of its manifest to launchers from start-up companies. Yet for many the startups have come in under the radar. Large-scale government pro-grams condition lead many of us to think of requirement-laden RFPs as the conventional approach to busi-ness. Since other booming sectors of the economy with vast sums for

(Continued on page 6)

The Stellar-J Launch Vehicle and Commercial Space Development WES KELLY, TRITON SYSTEMS

Feature Story

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 6

(Continued from page 5) R&D do not do business this way, one can imagine an aerospace engi-neer’s scramble to develop an open market mode of operation. An elevator pitch is but an iceberg tip of a process of study and getting acquainted with new (for aero-space ) resources; in Houston, the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Hous-ton Technology Center and Bay Area Houston Economic Partner-ship provide an introduction to the financial and venture capital com-munity; nationally, the Space Fron-tier Foundation, the Space Studies Institute and the Space Access Soci-ety provide forums for the com-mercial space effort. Besides these organizations, it is also difficult to summarize many years of “zero-budget” development, acknowledg-ing much valued and tacit assist from supporters with both engi-neering and business acumen.

Commercial rules of engagement differ in other ways. A “successful” presentation could provoke a lis-tener to jump from his seat and announce, “Good heavens, they’re right!” It is initial discretion that prevents an audience stampede toward the presentation goal – to the exclusion of the originators. For this reason we apologize in advance for some reticence about many technical and commercial details.

Despite discretion, we can resolve the question: “Why the name?” Quite simply: “All the well-known stars and monstrosities of antiquity were already taken.” We flirted with Space Utility Vehicle and other automotive tie-ins, but car repair recollections restrained us. What’s more, we wanted to tie both winged flight and the stars together – i.e., “aerospace” flight. On the west coast there is a large blue bird known as Steller’s jay. We see no copyright infringement in that bird’s activities... The Stel-lar-J solves space access problems.

When the term “aerospace” became common after Sputnik while I was in grade school, science fiction space travel stories initially de-scribed its potential. When near objectives in space were actually achieved, government-sponsored

commissions charted futures de-pendent on accepted recommenda-tions and expenditures. The 1969 post-Apollo recommendations of the Agnew-led commission1 chart-ing solar system exploration did not fare well, save for development of a Space Shuttle. Subsequent guide-post-setting studies encountered similar cool receptions, though the 1990 Augustine commission2 con-vinced many of the need for “Alternate Access” to space after Challenger’s loss in 1986. Since 1991, more time has elapsed than from Apollo’s inception and land-ing without “alternate access” achievement from numerous civil programs. At this writing the Shut-tle is steering toward retirement and “alternate” has morphed into replacement as an objective, re-placement with the re-invention of Apollo techniques. “Alternate” is a banner that by default has been passed to private enterprise.

Historians often ponder why na-tions did not exploit opportunities afforded them. In Ptolemaic Egypt the steam turbine was discovered, only to remain a classical world curiosity. Before Columbus, Norsem*n ventured to North America, as perhaps did the Chi-nese. It was the United States that developed the winged reusable rocket plane with a reusable engine. After several decades of infatuation with the X-15 and the Space Shut-tle, America is about to shelve the concept, allowing historians to mull its fate as well, unless foreign programs or private industry give winged launch vehicles a new lease on life.

Has winged flight with re-usable vehicles proved a dead end by Co-lumbia’s crash? Though capsules on ballistic vehicles address some immediate concerns, there are many winged configurations, appli-cations and operational trades. Our reading on this phenomenon is that the process associated with large government projects such as moon rockets and shuttles, from KSC facilities to budgets, is not flexible enough to support both types of flight. Spaceflight in the United States remains a special operation at limited national facili-ties with flight costs comparable to

major league stadium construction, but the remedy lies in efforts to create a grass-roots infrastructure in this country based on small systems using the skills developed in those 50 years since “aerospace” engineer-ing began. Which small private sector aerospace companies will provide the exit from this situation? As enthusiastic as we are about Stellar-J, we suspect that the race is still too early to judge, much as described by Ecclesiastes 9:11 with many twists ahead.

Discussing alternate access, winged vs. ballistic launch vehicles and spacecraft, the real concern is infra-structure: its flexibility and viabil-ity. Like four years before, space systems and facilities seem vulner-able once again. Our previous con-cern was terrorists crashing planes into population centers and na-tional assets; at this time, the con-cern is deadly hurricanes. National infrastructure should adapt to these new realities (along with older reali-ties like international competition); by taking technologies learned in government crash programs and spinning them off into smaller, distributed processes and applica-tions. While we see Stellar-J as a piece of that response, we do not see it as a commission finding itself, but rather one of many possible avenues that free enterprise allows Americans to fulfill their vision for a space future. Stellar-J or one of its worthy rivals (i.e., not in viola-tion of laws of physics or econom-ics) will prove itself not because it was vetted by a commission, but because engineers and backers sur-mount all the unexpected difficul-ties ahead in getting the product to market.

Whether generally acknowledged or not, several families of staged-combustion rocket engines devel-oped by the United States (the SSME) and the Soviet Union (RD-170, -180, NK-33, -43 etc.) have operating lifetimes of an hour or more – especially with overhaul. Since a typical ascent to orbit re-quires ten minutes or less, use of such engines in expendable launch vehicles (ELVs) wastes resources, validating a circular argument of space flight costliness. The full

(Continued on page 7)

Page 6

References for this article:

1. Agnew, S. T. (chairman), “Final Report Space Task Group”, 15 Sep-tember 1969.

2. Augustine, N. R. (chairman), “Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Pro-gram, Washington, D.C., 1990

3. Kelly, W. D., "Liquid Rocket Boosters for the Space Shuttle: An Outline of Trade Issues and Analysis Techniques", AIAA 88-4256, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Confer-ence Proceedings, August 1988.

4. Kelly, W. D., “Observations on the Infrastructure and Space Com-mercialization Problem”, 11th Space Manufacturing Conference Pro-ceedings, Space Studies Institute, Princeton, N.J., 1997.

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Department) and more and more to a public at large. For many rea-sons, NASA mission support should be a transitional, but benefi-cial role to develop commercial infrastructure, but not an end in itself. Parcel package delivery per se will not loom large in orbital traffic, but the space agency’s im-mediate needs for orbital delivery when purchased in blocs of a dozen launches could serve as an engine for commercial development. In the long term, however, the com-munity of satellite developers and operators external to NASA is the market of greatest potential.

As indicated above, the commercial formative process differs from that of the civil space program. Though each is indeed concerned with budgets, the venture capital per-spective emphasizes return on in-vestment. Those of us who have participated in the design and ar-chitecture studies associated with commission reports described above are only partly prepared for the elaborations on business plans required by venture capitalists, commercial partners and invest-ment bankers. In other sections of the country, entrepreneurs have had a headstart over the Houston aerospace community, but our con-tacts with the financial community have advised us to capitalize on our advantages: In Houston, we are an aerospace community with strong professional ties and exceptional knowledge. We are used to work-ing together. A strong commercial entry coming from Houston is not such a long shot.


Page 7

(Continued from page 6) advantage of staged combustion engines is in the early phases of flight, however, the first 2-3 min-utes of burn where high thrust to weight and chamber pressures are crucial. This atmospheric flight phase runs from after take-off to altitudes of 30 nautical miles or more and mach numbers of 4 to 7.

Both American and Russian engi-neers devised retrieval schemes for such booster engines and stages: recover like the Shuttle SRBs by parachute in the ocean (1980s Shuttle Liquid Rocket Booster studies3); retrofire and soft land the boosters near the launch site (Kistler); flyback with wings under jet power (1990s Shuttle Liquid Fly-Back Booster and RKK Energia studies). The problems and virtues of these approaches deserve separate treatment, but we can imagine the groans of Shuttle analysts contem-plating two more sets of wings with their loads, plus geometries suitable for exiting the Vertical Assembly Building. These were issues of Shuttle integration and the Pro-crustean bed of KSC facilities for vertical launch. We believe design for horizontal takeoff avoids many of these difficulties as well as pro-viding benefits for flight-testing, servicing, launch windows, recov-ery and deployment.

While the arguments for meeting civil requirements are compelling, it is clear that the NASA procure-ment process is defined for meeting narrow, but changing objectives of the agency – and Congress. Many of the mainstays of its own infra-structure (e.g., the Delta II and Atlas II) were provided by external sources: the air force seeking “alternate access” to space after the Challenger’s loss. In both cases USAF offered exclu-sive contracts to launch a dozen or more satellites without specifying the launch vehicle in the con-tract. Production overca-pacity of these systems since 1986 has passed for what is America’s com-mercial launch capability. In a 1997 paper given to the Space Studies Insti-

tute4, we suggested a similar proce-dure to provide alternate access to the International Space Station with the corresponding overcapac-ity providing commercial services. We did not anticipate many events, however, including the possibility we would be so actively engaged in obtaining this capability.

The Stellar-J business plan is just as important as the engineering data book. And one important segment is the section devoted to sources of revenue. In constructing that plan we identified a number of potential missions or markets for the vehicle and identified the potential cus-tomers. In Table 1, sources of revenue are shown for four vehicles of different capability plus the sub-scale demonstrator. To determine which markets were the best targets we developed eight attributes with which we scored each activity. Though the quantitative scoring is not included here, intercontinental package delivery and large geosta-tionary satellites were eliminated in the tables because we saw the Stel-lar J as not well suited to these mar-kets. Interestingly enough, some market re-combinations looked more attractive than when first presented, but follow up survey data will be essential.

In developing our business case, we are reminded of the role of aircraft developers and operators in the 1920s and 30s and their relation with NACA. NACA was an advi-sor to these developers; not the customer. Designers and flyers sold hardware or services to the Post Office or other government agencies, (e.g., Agriculture, War

Table 1. Potential Sources of Revenue

Vehicle Types and Configurations Demo A: 35-ton B: 70-ton C: 350-ton D: + Orbiter

Mission Model for Revenue 1. Sounding Rockets x x 2. Sub-Orbital Tourism x x x 3. Micro-Satellites x x 4. Low Earth Orbit Satellite Constellations x 5. LEO Space Platforms x 6. Rendezvous Payloads x x x x 7. Sortie and Return Payloads x x x x 8. Rescue Standby x x x x 9. Sale and Use of Stellar-J Vehicle x x x x

Triton Systems LLC 17000 El Camino Real Suite 210A Houston, TX 77058 (281) 286-3680 Contact: Wes Kelly [emailprotected]


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Feature Story

New York to Paris. Earth to Orbit. What’s the Difference? ADVENT LAUNCH SYSTEMS, INC. The Advent launch system is an “engineered” concept for delivery to Earth Orbit and return. The term “engineered” is understood in many ways these days. The Advent team defines it as “providing the desired effect with minimum cost.” In addition, the cost in-cludes everything involved; design, development, fabrication, opera-tion, taxes, reliability/safety, and insurance.

The Ad-vent team utilizes a math model to help quan-tify each system cost to support the overall engineering process. The math model is very similar to that used in the pet-rochemical refining industry to calculate the cost of each prod-uct being generated. The analy-sis includes the cost of products from adja-cent sys-tems. The analytical

process requires simultaneous solu-tion of the equations that describe the input and output of each sys-tem. Modern computers can solve the equations in a matter of sec-onds. Alternative system concepts can be easily evaluated. Engineer-ing a system for delivery to Earth Orbit involves many interfaces. The results indicate the feasibility of a very significant reduction in cost. Today’s cost is in the range of

$2000 to $6000 per pound deliv-ered. Cost in the range of $100 or less is possible. However, many of the system features are not typi-cally accepted as “politically cor-rect.”

The term “politically correct” – like the term “engineered” – can have a wide variety of interpreta-tions. The Advent team quickly concluded that the cost of launch and landing facilities could be a lot more than the cost of developing the vehicle itself. We recalled Von Braun’s idea of launching out of the ocean. We quickly learned why. We also quickly learned why he never was able to make it hap-pen. It’s not a “politically correct” idea. Ocean operations are consid-ered by most people to be very expensive and unsafe. There are people that think that starting a rocket engine under water will harm the sea creatures. It has also been considered expensive to de-liver payloads to the launch site especially when the payloads will likely be very sensitive to the wet and salty ocean environment.

We began to look into these argu-ments and enter our findings into the System Accounting Model. The results are very interesting. The safety issue was the first con-sideration. The ocean itself is not particularly “unsafe” unless the weather is very severe. The solu-tion to that problem is to use lar-ger anchors. Weather can be just as severe on land. We decided that it would be wise to use ocean-going equipment that is built for bad weather (as most of that kind of equipment is) and that the extra cost is minimal.

We quickly discovered that the delivery of propellant to an ocean operation would be much less ex-pensive and much safer than deliv-ery on land – especially the deliv-ery of rocket propellants, liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Pro-curement of the propellants can be from the world market. We will likely invest in the equipment to

produce liquid oxygen and use boil off from the methane storage tank to fuel the equipment.

Starting a rocket engine under water is a problem if turbopumps are involved but a pressure-fed engine will start under water like a cutting torch. The rocket engine will simply blow a BIG bubble under water. The water is pushed aside by the bubble, about 30 feet in diameter in about 2 seconds. The most traumatic part of the rocket take-off will be the collapse of the bubble and the generation of a circular wave. Our analysis indicates that we could have divers under the vehicle during take off and they would simply get a real “thrill” out of their ride on the wave.

The vehicle is to be made of tita-nium and titanium is compatible with seawater. Avionics have to be “sealed” to endure normal humid-ity so that was not a problem. The delivery of payloads to the launch site was determined to be poten-tially less for the ocean launch because the vehicle can be launched relatively close to the payload source. In addition, the launch site can be in a place to provide minimal energy for getting to the desired orbit: at the equator for equatorial orbit and closer to the North or South Pole for polar orbit. Deciding the “best” launch site is another engineering prob-lem. As it works out, a rocket is a lot more like a submarine than most people think. Ocean launches can be very cost-effective.

The Advent system is the product of many lively discussions among similarly lively engineers. Many alternatives have been evaluated using the System Accounting Model. The result is a very simple system with features that are con-trary to most of the institutional standards today.

The use of a pressure-fed propul-sion system instead of using tur-

ALSI rocket launch from the ocean. (rendition of ALSI concept by Jon Berndt)

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(continued from page 8) bopumps is a typical example. The idea of a pressure-fed system was proposed many years ago (the Big Dumb Booster). Regarding the engine itself, the comment was, “if you want to build a good rocket then you must have a good engine, and a good engine uses hydrogen and has a turbopump for minimiz-ing size and weight.” When asked about the cost implications, the engine expert recommended talk-ing to the program office about cost. The primary focus on tech-nology has compromised the engi-neering effort in our space pro-gram.

The Advent vehicle uses a rela-tively simple pressure-fed engine with inexpensive methane and oxygen for propellant. Having a rectangular nozzle outlet provides the capability of using two planar surfaces to vary the area ratio and to direct the thrust vector in one plane. Having multiple engines across the aft edge of the wing structure facilitates vehicle control in the roll and pitch direction. The movable nozzle surfaces can sup-port vehicle deceleration and then provide elevon control for landing.

The engine itself is of tube-wall construction, with all the propel-lant, fuel, and oxygen, passing through the tubes. The high iner-tia of the fluids in the tubes is an-ticipated to assure steady flow, allowing the thrust to be throttled to about half without experiencing the typical combustion instability. This feature allows the pressuriza-tion system to provide only about half the required high sea level pressure at burnout. The pressuri-zation system can be about half that typically required. In addi-tion, the improved combustion stability may offer the opportunity to use saturated liquid propellants that pressurize themselves. Analysis indicates that both propellants will have about half their initial pres-sure when the tank empties. On-orbit propulsion is to use a portion of the pressurant gases. Any re-maining pressurant will provide additional stability for the tanks as they land on the ocean. These two primary features of the Advent concept are being patented, the

control surfaces with four func-tions and the tube wall engine that is expected to be efficiently throt-tleable.

The planform loading of the Ad-vent vehicles will be in the range of 10 to 20 pounds per square foot, providing a landing velocity in the range of 80 to 100 miles per hour. The landings will likely be with a crosswind to avoid direct wave impingement. There is a concern regarding the possibility of the forward end of the vehicle having enough hydrodynamic drag to causing tumbling. The classic problem with slapdown is also a characteristic that needs analysis.

Having two stages minimizes vehi-cle size. Three stages can further reduce size but increases complex-ity. Using the same basic design for both stages minimizes develop-ment cost. Adjustments in thermal protection and/or engine thrust level may be required for the tran-sition from a booster to an orbiter, but the design can be tailored to facilitate the required changes with minimal cost. Each feature of the system has been evaluated with the System Accounting Model.

Advent has a development plan with four basic steps to the first payload delivery. Completion of the engine tune-up runs is the first step. The second step is to build and fly the first upper stage for our system. It will be a lot like our Xprize vehicle and will be tested with suborbital flights. Then the third step is to build and fly an-other system like the vehicle of the second step but about twice the size. With both vehicles verified we can connect the two vehicles and make our first trip to orbit (step 4).

Advent is planning to make an orbit delivery before spending five million dollars. Granted, that sounds very optimistic, but the Advent team has found that being optimistic is almost as productive as being persistent. We have looked into various forms of funding but retirement pay has been sufficient to this point. We hope that NASA will continue to pursue its interest in methane-fueled equipment and

verify our engine proto-type in the process of early check out of their methane equipment. With the engine veri-fied, we are hoping to gather a larger group of retirees and other par-ticipants to help with completing step two. With step two com-pleted, we are hoping to get some prospective customers to help with the financing of steps three and four to pro-vide orbit deliveries for 1000 pound payloads. Profit from the 1000-pound payload deliver-ies is expected to fund the effort to deliver 10,000 pound payloads.

Advent plans to con-tinue the development program and build the next larger booster for 100,000 pound pay-loads. As the cash flows in, construction of the booster for 1,000,000-pound payloads will begin. Each step is for the con-struction of a new vehicle of the same basic design but about twice as big. Each time, the booster from the previous system can be used as the orbiter, or an additional new booster will be fabricated for the new system. When five new vehi-cles have been constructed, the payload capability will be 1,000,000 pounds. The cost for operating the largest system will differ from the cost for operating the smallest system only because of increased propellant requirement and the increased cost of the larger operational equipment. The opera-tional crew will be essentially the same. As once predicted by Werner Von Braun, it is expected that the cost for orbital delivery will be about the same cost as de-livery from New York to Paris in an airplane. The only difference will be the time: ten minutes in-stead of ten hours. The Advent engineering effort supported by the System Accounting Model confirms Von Braun’s prediction.

ALSI rocket engine. (photo courtesy of ALSI)

Advent Launch Systems, Inc. Friendswood, Texas 281-488-1493 281-787-0735 Contact: Jim Akkerman [emailprotected]


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Feature Story

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Forty-years have passed since a ‘wave’ of space engineers were hired for the race to the moon. The baby boomers are retiring. Over the past twenty-years the number of engineering degree seekers has steadily fallen to be woefully shy of replacing the in-dustry’s retirees. Half of today’s degree seekers are foreign and nearly half of them will return to their homelands to work. Industry memos, bulletins, magazines, con-ferences, as well as company initia-tives, have discussed this for years – with no real change.

Industry is looking to acade-mia to produce more engineers. However, academia declares public education is not producing stu-dents that can be developed into tomorrow’s engineers and innova-tors – and they are, for the most part, correct. Public education is trying. President Bush’s No Child Left Behind is attempting to pre-pare 100% of America’s youth for college – a monumental task. Never before has a country tried to prepare all its youth for college; and there are some concerns with the effort. Hands-on vocational programs are being reduced to support funding for core academ-ics and advanced placement pro-grams. Vocational application does not correspond with college prepa-ration. How is public education going to deliver on preparing to-morrow’s engineers, innovators, and the technically skilled work-force to support the 21st century’s industry needs when less than 6% of the students being prepared for college are showing any interest in engineering1 and when technically skilled labor force development is being ignored?

In a small rural town in cen-tral Texas, a public high school has been working for the past ten years to find the answers to today’s edu-cational dilemma concerning to-morrow’s problems. In the ‘96-97 school year Fredericksburg High School in Fredericksburg, Texas initiated a Principals of Technol-

ogy program that would become the catalyst to help create a new program where today students learn how to solve engineering problems, design, develop, test and analyze, do collaborative research with universities and industry – and 80% of the students in the program head into engineering.

The initiative behind the pro-gram’s design is to raise critical thinking and analysis skills by us-ing a problem/project based for-mat requiring high level problem-solving and the application of the knowledge bases they have been provided during their public edu-cation careers. The program, called the Fredericksburg High School Aeroscience Program (FHSAP), is based on the aerospace industry. The program is a two-year, junior-senior program where students in the first year design and develop ROV’s and UAV’s for research or work application. This year the students in the first year of the program are developing an ROV for the central Texas law enforce-ment agencies to use in hazardous scenarios. Capable of operating without an umbilical the 160-lb ROV will possess two video downlinks, one with infrared capa-bility, and a dual track propulsion system allowing the vehicle a de-signed velocity of 5mph and the capability to climb stairs. It will also possess two-way audio and a forward ‘fork-lift like’ armature for close-in inspection or the capture of a package.

Second year students design sounding rockets capable of lofting 35-lb university research packages to altitudes of 100,000-feet. The 500-lb vehicles are tested at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range. Students are responsible for developing the numbers for the velocity needed for the university research package to reach the de-sired altitude and from this the students develop the preliminary numbers for the initial mass of the vehicle and the fuel and oxidizer masses for the hybrid propulsion

system. This then allows for the students to group into component teams, nose cone to nozzle, for ‘concurrent’ development of com-ponents – much like the Atlas ICBM. [Note: the first six weeks of the second year introduces the history of America’s space program by teaching from the Sung dynasty to today and capturing the major players and events: Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, GIRD, VfR, ARS/AIAA, Korolev/Glushko, von Braun/Molina, V2, WAC, Hermes program, Aerobee, Viking, Na-vaho, Redstone, Sputnik, Ex-plorer/Vanguard, MX774, Russian R-series, Vostok, Voskhod, Soyuz, Atlas, Titan, Saturn, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle, CEV. This serves to develop within the students an interest and respect for the aerospace industry and an un-derstanding for the theory, design, development, and testing of new vehicles.] Once the vehicle’s com-ponents are designed by the stu-dents, and critical decisions are made concerning appropriate ma-terials to fabricate from, the stu-dents undergo a critical design review (CDR) by peers and by presenting their design calculations to professionals in the aerospace industry; no suggestions by profes-sionals are given – only discovery of mistakes. Since most of the ma-terials for vehicle development are donated to the project, the CDR is done to prevent extreme errors or waste of materials from occur-ring – the students know there is one chance with the project to be successful and the best way to be successful is to make sure it is cor-rect before proceeding. After revis-ing the design, and/or passing the CDR, the students are required to work directly with machining and fabrication businesses to develop the needed component. While this is occurring, the student is re-quired to stay within planned schedules and constantly stay in communication with other teams working on the project. It is im-perative the students learn good teamwork and communication skills. For the project to be suc-

References in this article: 1. Richard J. Noeth et al., Main-taining a Strong Engineering Work-force: ACT Policy Report (Iowa City: ACT, Inc., 2003)

Fuel grain R&D team with RB10-H fuel grain


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(continued from page 10) cessful, all teams must complete their responsibilities. If any team does not complete the design and development, does not communi-cate with other teams, or develops a component in error, the project will fail. Failure is an option in this program. For it is the potential failure that helps drive the students toward success. Once the students have completed the development of their components, all teams will then join for the final assembly of the project and the Flight Readi-ness Review. This will occur within a time factor to allow for simple modifications where needed. The vehicle is then ready to be ‘all up’ tested.

There are several facets to the aeroscience program. First, life skills are developed by the stu-dents. Students learn problem-solving, design and development, machining and fabrication, budg-ets and purchasing, testing and analysis, documentation and re-porting, time management, team-work, public relations, and com-munication skills to name a few. In addition, through an educa-tional agreement developed in 1998 with the Army’s White Sands Missile Range, FHSAP is able to provide flight opportunities to universities at frugal costs – especially with the design and de-velopment costs being in-kind by the students. Because of this, stu-

dents are introduced to, and given the opportunity to experience, university level research, and R&D within the engineering industries. Exposing the students to post-secondary education and industry work stimulates interest and pas-sions that develop a value for the education they are receiving in the classroom.

A non-profit 501C3, the Fred-ericksburg Education Initiative (FEI), has been developed to sup-port FHSAP and the Fredericks-burg Independent School District (FISD) to aid with vertical and horizontal alignments of grades, from the head start program to the high school, to promote career pathways, workforce development and educational interest and value. FHSAP and FEI support the no-tion that a student that under-stands why they are being edu-cated, have a value for their educa-tion, and recognize the pathway through public education, can be educated to a greater degree. In addition, FEI is helping to pro-mote integrated classes or teaming, to support teamwork and applica-tion of class lessons for a project throughout all educational depart-ments. Also, FEI is helping to es-tablish a value of vocational classes by helping to upgrade the FHS vocational department. An exam-ple is FEI helping to bring ma-chining equipment into the voca-tional department through dona-tions and funding support. This

allows students to gain experience by machining components on their own. Therefore, they develop needed components for school projects and also develop the skills, internship, and employment op-portunities with the local machin-ing industry. FHSAP and FEI feel that a technically skilled labor force does need to consider post-secondary education, but public education cannot ignore the value of hands-on education concerning workforce development. To assist this, FEI led the development of the Texas Partnership of Aero-science Education (TPAE). TPAE is a 2+2+2 vertical alignment from high school (FISD) to two-year institutions (Midland College) to a four-year university (Texas Tech) to industry (WestTex Space Port) that has created a replicable tem-plate for workforce development pathways from high school to in-dustry. This includes technical skills certificates available for graduating students to use for em-ployment or concurrent credit that will be accepted at a two-year in-stitution – supporting the stu-dent’s desire for continued educa-tion. TPAE is presently working on concurrency of the course to the four-year institutions.

There is proof that these ap-plied philosophies of education are successful in supporting workforce development and today’s work-force needs – especially for the

(Continued on page 12)

Above: Redbird10-H R&D team

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(Continued from page 11) aerospace industry. As mentioned previously, 80% of students in FHSAP become engineering de-gree seekers. Average SAT scores across all students at FHS have increased by 150-points since the

inception of the FHSAP in 1996. Students are interning with com-panies like Microcosm, Ball Aero-space, NASA Stennis, and JSC centers, USA, Pratt and Whitney and others. In addition, students are entering universities outside the FHSAP region – being ac-cepted to Purdue, Tulane, Rice, Michigan, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, MIT, Stan-

ford University, and every year at least one student in the program receives a military academy ap-pointment. There are students now employed at United Space Alliance, NASA’s Stennis Space Center working on the SSME’s,

the Institute of Advanced Tech-nologies working on hypervelocity projectiles, and with SpaceX work-ing on the Falcon’s propulsion system. And FHSAP has even had some early spin-offs: the Student Launch Initiative at NASA’s Mar-shall Space Flight Center has been having great success with the pro-gram in northern Alabama and has been working with the Aerospace

Industry Association for the Team America competition held annually.

These successes are directly related to the FHSAP’s and FEI’s philosophies concerning public education and the cur-riculum, titled the Suborbital Aeroscience Studies curricu-lum, used in the FHSAP. Currently, the SAS curricu-lum is being prepared for publication with the support of the Universities Space Re-search Association, so FHSAP and TPAE can begin teacher-training workshops and begin replication of the program. The first teacher-training workshop is scheduled for June 2006 in Fredericksburg, TX where five schools across Texas will come to be given the curriculum, the support documents, and the informa-tion needed for the school and the district to be success-ful with the implementation

of the SAS program. This will be further accomplished by the three-step program development plan TPAE has created to help with the establishment of the program. First year schools at the workshop will be given the curriculum for the first step in developing their program’s high altitude research capabilities. This first step will include the information needed for the teacher/program to facilitate the students with their design and development of a stable sounding rocket capable of lofting a quarter-pound research package to an alti-tude of one-mile. This first step, termed the Oberth step, develops the programs ability to teach the curriculum, locate and acquire needed items on a timely manner, fabricate needed parts, teamwork, communicate, develop public rela-tions, manage funding and sched-ules, and most importantly – to develop the capability of stable flight by understanding stable flight. If successful, for an unsuc-cessful first year requires the school to repeat the failed year, the school would return to the second year workshop and be given the cur-riculum and the support informa-tion to accomplish transonic flight. Again, this step – the Tsiolkovsky step – would develop the programs ability to incorporate all the knowledge and experience from the first year; but, would also set a slightly stronger goal when it comes to the vehicles structural design and better understanding of mass fraction and aerodynamic loads. If successful with transonic flight, the school would then re-turn for the third and final year, the Goddard year. Within this third step, the teacher training workshop supports the teacher/school as it attempts to provide flight time for a university research package.

The three-step program devel-opment plan is the same pathway that FHSAP experienced. The first year was stable flight (RB1), the second year transonic flight (RB5 – 833.68 mph), and the third year tested the Redbird8-H to 16,000-ft at WSMR. Presently, the Fredericksburg High School Aeroscience Program is ready to test the RB10-H, a vehicle de-

(Above) 150-lbf test cell at the Humble-Bowden Propulsion Re-search Center (Below) Purdue University re-search package to fly on RB10-H in Spring 2006

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(continued from page 12) signed to loft a fluid research pack-age for Purdue University, and is finishing development of the RB11-H to get a Stanford Univer-sity optical/telemetry research package to altitude.

There have been two concerns with replicating the aeroscience program – fuel grain and nozzle development. The inert hybrid propulsion systems the students have been developing over the past eight years have been the same application of inert fuels and oxi-dizers as SpaceDev’s Space Ship One – Hydroxyl-Terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB – or golden goo) and nitrous oxide. The per-formance parameters have usually specified approximately 1,500-lbf of thrust with about a 35-second burn time from the system. Be-cause there is no real control on the materials being donated, unless purchased, the inner diameter of the engine case and oxidizer tank can vary from six-inches to twelve-inches. This causes students to have to expand the diameter of the cartridge load fuel grain, therefore shortening the circular center port, and go with occasionally complex multi-port fuel grains. Due to the fabrication inability of most public education facilities, for casting grains and pressing composites, for the past eight years FHSAP has relied on the support of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Thiokol to develop the fuel grains and nozzles to student specifica-tions. If replication of the program is to be successful there is the need to find inert, safe, easy to acquire, and easy to work with materials for fuel grain and nozzle development. NASA’s Shuttle Program has been offering support lately as FHSAP has developed a 3,000-lbf static test facility, named the Humble-Bowden Propulsion Research Cen-ter, where material testing has been occurring for the past two-years. The facility, developed by the students at FHS, is supported by National Instruments Lab-VIEW for data acquisition and testing automation. The facility uses Eaton’s transducers for meas-uring mass flow rates (the facility is capable of providing an oxidizer mass flow rate of five-lbs/sec) and

pressure sensing in the pre-mixing and post-mixing regions as well as within the grain. The transducers also act to shutdown a test in the event of any anomalous spikes. Moog and Rocketdyne have pro-vided valve support. All testing is also captured on eight video cam-eras for documentation of all test angles and security during testing. FHSAP is on schedule to provide the information needed when other high schools across the state of Texas, and across the country, will need to easily acquire a safe, inert, easy-to-work-with material to develop a fuel grain and/or noz-zle while studying propulsion or developing a sounding vehicle to reach for research altitudes.

Presently, the Fredericksburg High School Aeroscience Program is finishing the earlier noted ROV and the Redbird 11-H: scheduling tests of the RB10-H and the RB11-H at WSMR this spring, continuing the fuel grain and noz-zle R&D, and finishing the devel-opment of a 45-ft, transportable launch tower being designed and developed by Polaris out of Cali-fornia. The Fredericksburg Educa-tion Initiative is beginning a fund-ing drive to help fund the educa-tional initiatives listed above, and to help with the development of a new regional technology center that will be the new home for FHSAP and the management of the Suborbital Aeroscience Studies curriculum as it begins to replicate and disseminate. The Texas Part-nership for Aeroscience Education (TPAE) is finalizing its 501C3 status to begin a funding search to help publish the SAS curriculum, and to offer the curriculum and program to interested schools. The TPAE is ready to announce the call for partners for its new advi-sory board to help support the TPAE as it supports aeroscience education, replicates and dissemi-nates the SAS curriculum, and teaches the template of high-school-to-industry pathways in the context of academia and workforce development.

Above—First test at White Sands Missile Range, Redbird8-H. Below—Team members recover Redbird8-H.

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 14

This column points out useful web sites, documents, policy papers, periodicals, etc. NASA Hurricane Resources Page 2005 U.S. Commercial Space Transportation Developments and Concepts: Vehicles, Technologies, and Concepts A Better Rocket Engine NASA Exploration FAQ A Short List of Some Smaller and/or Newer Commercial Space Companies Andrews Space: Armadillo Aerospace: Bigelow Aerospace: Blue Origin: Rocketplane: SpaceDev: Space Exporation Technologies Corporation: t/Space: Virgin Galactic: XCOR: A Short List of Space Advocacy Groups The Space Frontier Foundation: The Planetary Society: The National Space Society: The Mars Society:, and

How can NASA claim this is a new space-

craft, it looks like an Apollo era capsule?

The shape of the space-

craft is a product of physics. The science of

space flight hasn’t changed since we started

sending humans into space. This is a high tech design that combines the

very best of Apollo and the space shuttle. Blunt-body, conical spacecraft

simply provide the safest, most economical means of transporting crews to

and from space.

- From the NASA Exploration FAQ

AIAA National recently released a news bulletin announcing the win-ners of the 2004/2005 Section Awards. The Section Awards honor particularly notable per-formances made by an AIAA sec-tion. The Houston Section falls into the Large Section category and competed against the likes of Albu-querque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Northern Ohio, Phoenix, St. Louis, and San Diego.

A total of 7 awards were presented by AIAA National. The Houston Section was recognized as follows:

· Outstanding Section – 1st Place

· Career Enhancement – 2nd Place (Chair, Elizabeth (‘Liz’) Zapata)

· Communications – 1st Place (Newsletter Editor, Jon S. Berndt)

· Membership – 1st Place (Chair, Elizabeth Blome)

· Harry Staubs Precollege Out-reach – 1st Place (Chair, Joy Conrad King)

· Public Policy – Honorable Men-tion (Chair, L. Nicole Smith)

· Young Professional Activity – 2nd Place (Young Professional, Sarah Shull)

As the 2004/2005 Chair I want to congratulate the members of the Houston Section and, in particular,

the members of the Executive Council. Without each and every one of you these awards would not have been possible. These awards are cash awards and are very impor-tant to the Houston Section as they represent the bread and butter by which the Houston Section can provide many of its services to its members.

Under the leadership of this year’s Chair, Steve King, the 2005/2006 term will have another very success-ful year. I look forward to next year’s news bulletin announcing the Houston Section with firsts in all the categories!

Page 14

Houston Section Receives Several Awards from AIAA National T. SOPHIA BRIGHT, PAST CHAIR

Section Awards


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We have no contact information for the following members. If you know where they are, please ask them to update their information on

Robert Ambrose Nick Baker Paul Campbell Justin Doyle Jeff Donoughue

Henry Hoang Jeffrey Marshall Lena Norris Ozden Ochoa Keun Joo Park

Page 15

New Members ELIZABETH BLOME, MEMBERSHIP The Houston Section has many new members. If you see one of these folks at the next section event, please welcome them: Seema Ahuja Luther Allen Daniel Allgood Lessie Alva Srividhya Ammanur Pamela Anderson James Anderson Lisa Andrews Latasha Anthony Jorge Arismendi Jennifer Bertolimo Eddie Bickham Felicia Biggs Gordon Blue Khechara Bradford Larry Bradshaw Patti Breymeyer Pamela Brown Gayle Bull Staci Callahan Gemma Calvo Andrew Carpenter Cody Carruthers Jerry Carter Rebecca Cedillo Adam Chisholm Vergie Clark David Coan Sherri Colyer Maureen Cullen Rebecca Darling Lillian Davila Debra Davis Tanya Davis Lorena Del Rio Lohse Johnston Dietz Cashell Donahoe Jennifer Donovan Lary Dorrington Eliz Dorsey Kathy Duquesnay Sandra Duran Danille Dylinski Matthre Ellis

Debbie Emerson Rex Evans Cheryl Faircloth Justin Falck Aimee Falcon Susan Fontanilla Aaron Ford Elizabeth Friske Brandy Fuller Diasheena Gabriel Robert Gilbert Joan Gilliland Rodney Goff Alexander Graham Jeanette Griffin Melissa Grooters Janet Grout Arnold Guerrero Consuelo Guerrero Jordan Hahn Shannon Hand Jay Hensley Edith Hillman Marsha Hopes Judith Horstman Gloria Hudson Denis Huebner Elaine Hume Marilyn Humphrey April Hughes Ziaul Huque Michelle Huynh Jennifer Johnson Sandera Johnson Lindi Juarez Dawn Kale Donna Kash Robert Keiser Aaron Kelley Virginia Keown Melanie Kern Amy Kershner Allison Kiker Kelley Kimball William Klimko Yvonne Knight Matthew Kuester Justin Kulger Kari Leedom Astrid Lertora

Jesse Loudermilk Megan Loudermilk Cory Logan Valerie Loving Angel Lowe Ronald Lum Diane Lunsford Margaret Luton Andrew Lynch Ramona Mateer Cynthia Maurstad Jonathan Maxwell Benjamin May Stephanie McClain Jacqueline McCorkindale Jessica McCraw Melinda McDonald Ronald McNeel Chuck Miller Mary Mejia Jennifer Miller Melinda Mills Amy Moak Catherine Modica Jose Moreira James Moughon Kevin Moore James Motejzik Sarah Musselman David Myrick Anthony Natasi Hanh Nguyen Michael Osenar Pamela Ossorio Kim Ottosen Donna Parker Bonnie Patterson Kristy Pavini Patrick Peirce Aaron Powell Teresa Phillips Andrea Plato Todd Porter Melba Prevot Sandra Quandt Raphael Randal Chad Ressler Marilee Reupke Gable Rhodes Michael Rhodes

Important notes:

• Not a member? See the end page.

Help AIAA Help You - Update Your Membership Records ELIZABETH BLOME, MEMBERSHIP

Bernetta Ridgway Danielle Rockenbaugh Sandra Rocquin Wilfredo Rodiguez Marcello Romano Lauren Rosenfeld Carrie Sample Rae Saxton Kelly Schuler Timothy Scudder Susan Scurry Beatriz Kelly Serrato Juan Senent Margaret Sheridan Shanna Simmons Pattijean Simpson Kranti Singh Charlene Smith Jalanta Smith Monique Smith Dario Solis Luke Sommons Patrick Spaller Jennifer Stamand Aimee Stanton Karen Stocco Lisa Stone Cory Thomsen Erik Torguson Sara Townsley Jeanette Valore Myla Van Duyn Victoria Varga Sue Vaugn Jamie Walport Kelly Ward Sean Welch Samuel Welsh Dianne Wells Pat White Sheree Will Sharon Williams Tiffany Williamson Donna Wilson Jennifer Wischer Olga Wunch Catherine Zarate

Jeff Phillips Alicia Rutledge Matthew Scudder Grant Threatt Jaime Valverde

Luis Velasquez James Watts Bryan Witt Pamela Workings

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The AIAA Houston Section’s Technical Committees hosted a Lunch and Learn seminar on August 11, 2005, in the JSC Building 30 Auditorium. Dr. Jose Granda, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the

California State University in Sac-ramento, Califor-nia and a NASA Faculty Fellow, attracted a crowd of 27 to learn about the funda-mentals of Bond Graph Modeling, a methodology originated by Pro-fessor Henry Paynter of the Massachusetts Institute of Tech-nology. Modeling and integrating aerodynamic, biological, electri-cal, hydraulic, mechanical, and thermal dynamic

systems (e.g., Mechatronics) plays a central role in the design of any complex system. A major challenge is to obtain the integrated model in the form of first order differential equations in symbolic form. A transfer function and the system state space matrices are the basis for time and frequency domain analysis. The Bond Graph Modeling methodology solves this problem in a unified man-ner, across engineering disci-plines. A classical approach for modeling physical systems in-cludes the following steps:

Step 1: develop an engineering model

Step 2: write differential equa-tions

Step 3: determine a solution

Step 4: write a program

Using the Bond Graph Model-ing methodology, the steps are revised as follows:

Step 1: develop a schematic

Step 2: draw a Bond Graph

Step 3: obtain computer generated differential equa-tions

Step 4: use Advanced Continuous Simulation Lan-guage (ASCL) or MATLAB-SIMULINK to analyze systems.

Once the Bond Graph has been drawn, it is entered into a Computer Aided Modeling Program (CAMP-G) to generate the MATLAB source files.

Tools based on the Bond Graph Modeling methodol-ogy are being developed throughout the world in industry, government, and universities. These tools are expected to play a premier role in modeling, simulation, and design of future systems. Users in-clude Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Lock-heed Martin, MIT, University of Texas, University of Arizona, and technology institutes in Indonesia, Ko-rea, Switzerland, and Germany. The Bond Graph method has also been used to analyze rigid and flexi-ble bodies for the International Space Station Russian Zvezda Module and Japanese Centrifuge.

If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of the videotaped presentation, please contact Douglas Yazell at [emailprotected].

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Automating Modeling and Simulation of Dynamic and Control Systems Using the Bond Graph Method TIM PROPP/VICE CHAIR-TECHNICAL

A Lunch and Learn

Summary Report

Bond Graph analysis for the Zvezda module.


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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 17

examples -- that can help avoid incorrect assump-tions:

· Are we solving the “right” problem? · Do we have “good” data?

o Are we looking at the right variables? o Are the data “representative” of the thing being

studied? o Is the sample size “large enough” to be mean-

ingful? · What mathematical models are being used to de-

scribe the data? Are the models reasonable? o Are we assuming the data have a normal (bell-

shaped) distribution? o Are we assuming the future data will follow a

line? · Before we jump to any conclusions – do we really

know WHY the data came out the way they did?

Dr. Lin continues to seek more stories of these kinds of data analysis mistakes. You can share your dumb data analysis story with him at [emailprotected].

Page 17

Dr. Tony Lin was the guest speaker for the Lunch n’ Learn seminar on August 18th. Dr. Lin, a Technical Fellow and Statistical Expert at the Boeing Satellite Development Center, provided a very informative and humorous presentation on the common pitfalls in data analysis can consistently cause “smart” engineers and technical managers to make “dumb” decisions. Dr. Lin’s talk included numerous examples that illustrated these common pitfalls from his experience in both aca-demia and Boeing satellite programs.

Dr. Lin opened his presentation by quoting some famous aerospace predictions that were later proven wrong by history – such as “Heavier than air flying machines are an impossibility” (Lord Kelvin, 1895). What went wrong with these famous predictions was incorrect assumptions. Two key lessons are to: 1) dis-tinguish FACTS from ASSUMPTIONS, and 2) know what ASSUMPTIONS you are making. As Will Rogers said, “ It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble. It’s the things we do know that ain’t so…”

Dr Lin provided an outline of the common ques-tions to ask during data analysis – as well as excellent

When Smart People do Dumb Things: A Tech Fellow’s Lessons Learned in Data Analysis DOUGLAS SCHWAAB

A Lunch and Learn Summary Report

Professional Engineering - Past, Present and Future EDMUNDO R. GONZALEZ, JR., P.E., RPLS EMERITUS BOARD MEMBER TO NCEES

and abilities and continue our course to improve our quality of life.

Future Where are we going? Only we as engineers can tell. Rest assured it will be an effort to the limit of our abili-ties. How can you participate in this? It is simple; apply your efforts to the fullest in your daily work, keep up to date with technology and participate in your technical and professional societies. Lead the way to where you think we should go. (Reprinted from Engineering Express, published by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, number 32, Summer 2005, page 14 (ref.

Past The beginning of human civilization as defined by Anthropologists was determined as the time that ho-mosapiens were able to develop and use tools. That certainly must have been for hunting, fishing or farm-ing. Of course, there was no minimum amount of education, examinations or experience required at that time. Very soon after that, there must have been some concern about the health, safety and welfare of their community.

Present If you read any article about the perception by the public of the different professions, you will invariable find the profession of engineering at the top of the list or very close to the top. This has to be because we take our profession seriously and with pride. We have de-veloped technology to accommodate our society and its needs. Housing, travel, food, cell phones - every-where you turn you can see what the hands of engi-neers have done. We are able to harness our technology


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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 18

Local Industry News and


Page 18

AIAA Associate Fellow Bonnie Dunbar Heads for Seattle

The Museum of Flight is pleased to announce the selection of NASA astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., as its new president and CEO. Dunbar will replace current presi-dent and CEO Ralph Bufano — who has led the Museum since 1991 — effective October 3, 2005. Her selection followed a yearlong national search process and was affirmed by a unanimous vote of the Executive Committee of the Museum's Board of Trustees yes-terday.

Bonnie extends an open invitation to readers to visit the Museum when in Seattle. For more informa-tion see:

(Source: Ms. Bonnie Dunbar, and The Museum of Flight)

SPACEHAB Subsidiary Wins $4.9 Million Contract

Houston, Texas, September 29, 2005 – SPACEHAB, Incorporated (NASDAQ/NMS: SPAB), a lead-ing provider of commercial space

sion capabilities:

Period 1 a) External unpressurized cargo

delivery and disposal, b) Internal pressurized cargo deliv-

ery and disposal, c) Internal pressurized cargo deliv-

ery, return and recovery. Option Period 2 d) Crew Transportation. […] The objective of these space flight capability demonstrations is to stimulate commercial enterprises in space and lead to innovative, cost effective access to low-Earth orbit. It is anticipated that upon the suc-cessful demonstration of any one of the mission capabilities prior to 2010 timeframe, NASA may issue a request for proposals to competi-tively procure commercial orbital transportation services to resupply the International Space Station. NASA anticipates that these ser-vices will be needed through at least 2015.

(Source: NASA,

services, announced today that its Astrotech Space Operations subsidi-ary has been awarded a new contract by NASA/Kennedy Space Center to provide payload processing services from the Company’s high-tech fa-cilities in Titusville, Florida.

This indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract, valued at up to $4.9 million, is for spacecraft processing services in support of several NASA spacecraft anticipated for launch next year. Currently un-der contract are the STEREO obser-vatory ( and the Dawn mission ( Also expected to be included in this con-tract is processing support to NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft.

For more information, see

(Source: SPACEHAB)

NASA/JSC and Commercial Orbital Transportation Services

NASA/JSC plans to solicit proposals from industry for Earth to orbit space flight demonstrations of any combination of the following mis-

A Lunch and Learn

Summary Report Dr. Kumar Krishen, Chief Tech-nologist for the NASA JSC Tech-nology Transfer Office, attracted a crowd of 32 on 9/29 to hear the status and accomplishments of the JSC Small Business Innovative Re-search (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Pro-grams. The SBIR and STTR Pro-grams provide opportunities for small, high technology companies and research institutions (RI) to participate in Government spon-sored research and development (R&D) efforts in key technology areas. JSC currently has 18 million dollars worth of SBIR STTR con-tracts. The SBIR Program was es-tablished by the U.S. Congress in 1982 to provide increased opportu-nities for small businesses to partici-pate in R&D, to increase employ-ment, and to improve U.S. com-

petitiveness. The program's specific objectives are to stimulate U.S. technological innovation, use small businesses to meet federal research and development needs, increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D, and foster and encourage participation by socially disadvan-taged businesses. Legislation enacted in 2000 extended and strengthened the SBIR program and increased its emphasis on pursuing commercial applications of SBIR project results. The STTR Program awards con-tracts to small business concerns for cooperative research and develop-ment with a non-profit RI, such as a university. The goal of the Congress in establishing the STTR program is to facilitate the transfer of technol-ogy developed by an RI through the entrepreneurship of a small busi-

ness. The small business and its partnering institution are required to sign an agreement on how intel-lectual property will be shared be-tween them. Modeled after the SBIR Program with the same basic requirements and phased funding structure described above, STTR is nevertheless a separate activity and is separately funded. The SBIR Phase 1 contracts last for 6 months with a maximum funding of $70,000, and Phase 2 contracts last for 24 months with a maximum funding of $600,000. The STTR Phase 1 contracts last for 12 months with a maximum funding of $100,000, and Phase 2 contracts last for 24 months with the maxi-mum contract value of $600,000. Historically, the ratio of the num-ber of Phase 1 proposals to awards for SBIR is 7:1 and for STTR 5:1.

For more information about NASA’s SBIR STTR Programs, please visit

Small Business Innovative Research/Small Busi-ness Technology Transfer Programs TIM PROPP, VICE CHAIR - TECHNICAL

About 40% of the completed Phase 1 projects receive funding for Phase 2 development. Two

JSC/SBIR-developed technologies were inducted in the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2004: Autonomous Technologies and Cybernet). Additionally, two JSC SBIR

companies were chosen for the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2005: Argonide Corporation

and Triangle Research & Development Corporation.

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 19

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leads the United States economy in net ex-ports.

(2) The aerospace industry contributes directly to the economic and national security of the United States through military, space, air transport, and in-formation technology appli-cations.

(3) A skilled and educated workforce represents the most valuable asset of the United States economy.

(4) In 2004, total employment in the aerospace industry fell to its lowest point in 50 years.

(5) 27 percent of the aerospace manufacturing workforce will become eligible for retirement by 2008.

(6) Students in the United States rank near the bottom of the leading industrialized countries of the world in mathematics and science test performance.

(7) To ensure the stability of high-skilled jobs and the global competitiveness of the domestic aerospace industry, the United States requires coordinated Federal Government policies to sustain and expand the science, mathematics, engineering, and manufacturing workforce.

The Bill calls for the creation of an interagency task force , whose duties will be to: “… develop a strategy for the Federal Government for aerospace workforce development, including strategies for-- (1) maximizing cooperation among departments

and agencies of the Federal Government and the use of resources of the Federal Govern-ment in fulfilling demand for a skilled work-force across all vocational classifications;

(2) developing integrated Federal Government policies to promote and monitor public and private sector programs for science, engineer-ing, technology, mathematics, and skilled trades education and training; and

(3) establishing partnerships with industry, or- ganized labor, academia, and State and local governments to-- • collect and disseminate information on

occupational requirements and projected employment openings; and

• coordinate appropriate agency re- sources, including grants, loans, and scholarships, for the advancement of workforce education, training, and certi-fication programs.”

For more information on this bill, another bill rele-vant to the aerospace industry, or any bill at all, a use-ful site is: www.GovTrack.US

In the past months since our article on Education and the Future Workforce, the issue continues to be prominent in the news, and in the nation’s capitol. In the September 26 issue of the Houston Chronicle, employment correspondent Rebecca Maitland wrote: “For the last five years, those in engineering manage-ment around the country have been making it known that a new generation of engineers is needed. Roughly 50 percent of today's engineers are approaching retire-ment.” The story discusses the High School for Engi-neering Professions (HSEP) — a magnet school pro-gram in HISD. You can read more about the HSEP at a team web site: Fredericksburg High School—as seen in this issue of Horizons — also has an active program to expose students to engineering and science. The Aerospace Industries Association held a panel discussion this May about several issues of interest to the aerospace industry. One of those involved wor-force issues. George Yohrling, President and CEO of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, described one of their solutions to the problem: “Like everyone else, we're finding that our workforce is aging, particularly engi-neers. There have been many instances, fortunately, where our most talented engineers don't like full retire-ment and we've been able to bring them back on a con-tract to help train new, younger employees. We've also established scholarships at three engineering schools close to our major manufacturing sites. This is getting us expo-sure and a recruiting edge. We're looking at extending that to internships where students would come in and work hands-on with our senior people.“ Bigelow Aerospace recently opened up an office in Houston. In an article in, a Bigelow repre-sentative said: “One of the most difficult aspects of the aerospace field is quality people. It is difficult to identify, hire and find good engineers. The aerospace workforce is becoming a concern.” The problem is now being acted on with legislation. Bill H.R. 758 passed in the House on October 25 and has moved on to the Senate. The stated purpose of the bill is: “To establish an interagency aerospace revitali-zation task force to develop a national strategy for aerospace workforce recruitment, training, and culti-vation. The Findings of the bill are: (1) The aerospace industry generates nearly 15

percent of the gross domestic product of the United States, supports approximately 11,000,000 jobs in the United States, and

More on Education and the Workforce: H.R. 758 JON BERNDT, EDITOR


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A Lunch and Learn

Summary Report

Apollo EVA: Lessons Learned BILL WEST, EVA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE CHAIR The Houston AIAA EVA Techni-cal Committee held a Lunch N' Learn on Thursday, October 20th, entitled "Lessons Learned from Apollo EVAs." Dr. Dean Eppler from Science Applications Interna-tional Corporation discussed the results of interviews conducted in 1994 with eight of the Apollo as-tronauts that walked on the Moon. In the interviews the crewmembers discussed their EVA experiences, what worked and what didn't work, as well as viewed what was then new EVA hardware for both the ISS as well as the Space Explo-ration Initiative. The presentation by Dr. Eppler covered the results

of these interviews and covered such topics as mission operations philosophy to suit and tool design. Dr. Eppler also briefly talked about his own experiences devel-oping advanced EVA hardware and testing it during Desert RATS. Approximately 70 people attended the LnL. The LnL presentation and a copy of the paper co-authored by Dr. Eppler are available at the AIAA-Houston website: The web site for the Apollo Lunar

Surface Journal is at: The site features a huge ar-chive of information. The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal is a record of the lunar surface operations conducted by the six pairs of astro-nauts who landed on the Moon from 1969 through 1972. Also featured at the ALSJ is a page about Dean Eppler, including im-ages of newer space suit designs undergoing field tests:

A Lunch and Learn

Summary Report

Advent Launch System ANDY PETRO, PROPULSION AND POWER TECHNICAL COMMITTEE CHAIR [See feature article this issue on Advent Launch Services] The Propulsion and Power Systems Technical Committee co-hosted a Lunch and Learn seminar along with the JSC chapter of the NASA Alumni League on October 6, 2005. The topic was the Advent Launch System presented by James Ak-kerman and Glen Smith. Both presenters are retired NASA engineers with extensive experience in propulsion and aerospace system development. Among his many innovations, Mr. Akkerman is known for the left-ventricular assist device, an important contribution of NASA technology to the field of heart disease treatment. In the presentation, Mr. Akkerman described the design, development plans and the long- term strategy of the Advent Launch Service organiza-tion. Working locally, with modest resources, they have developed a launch vehicle concept which employs a number of features which are intended to allow for frequent flights and rapid turnaround of the reusable vehicle resulting in radically lower operations cost. It is a multi-stage vehicle but stages of various sizes would be devel-oped by scaling a common stage design. The concept could deliver payloads ranging from 1000 pounds to 100,000 pounds or more. The Advent team has performed ground testing of the engine and propellant tank assembly and an ac-tual engine was on display at the presentation along with photographs of their testing activities. About 40 people attended the presentation at the Gilruth Center.

Advent Launch System staging concept.

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 21

Jayme Tucker was awarded the Houston Section “Spirit of Apollo” Scholarship of $1000 for the 2005-2006 academic year. Jayme is a Senior Aerospace Engi-neering student at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA). Jayme is at the top of her UTA engineer-ing class and on-track to be an honors graduate; while also work-ing part-time for an aerospace company and as a volunteer men-tor. Jayme is also an AIAA student member. Jayme was selected by the scholarship committee from a

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2005-2006 “Spirit of Apollo” College Scholarship Award DOUGLAS SCHWAAB, SCHOLARSHIP

highly competitive field of six ap-plicants from several Texas Col-leges.

The “Spirit of Apollo” Schol-arship honors the historic accom-plishments of the Apollo Space Program by encouraging out-standing students at Texas Col-leges to continue their studies in engineering, math or science. Qualified applicants must have completed their freshman aca-demic year with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The qualified

applicants must provide an essay, three letters of recommendation, college transcripts, along with a description of extracurricular ac-tivities and work experience. Ad-ditional information and the appli-cation form for our annual scholar-ship can be found on the Houston Section’s webpage.

Congratulations to Jayme Tucker as this year’s scholarship winner -- and to all the other ap-plicants for their distinctive ac-complishments!

Outreach and Education

Assistant Newsletter Editor Needed The Houston section is looking for some help in producing the news-letter. The assistant editor would be responsible for helping to collect articles for the upcoming issue, proofread, etc. Please contact the editor for more information at [emailprotected].

2006 Congressional Visits Day Scheduled

You’re invited! Every year, AIAA

engineering and technology bring to America.

The 2006 CVD is scheduled for 4-5 April 2005 in Washington, D.C. Anyone who is interested in attend-ing this year as part of the Houston Section contingency, please contact Nicole Smith at [emailprotected]. For more information about AIAA Public Policy (including CVD and our Legisla-tive Action Center), please visit the following link:

members come to Washington, D.C. to take part in our annual Con-gressional Visits Day (CVD). Here, you’ll meet with national decision-makers to discuss critical industry issues in civil aeronautics, civil as-tronautics, and defense.

What’s our goal? Through face-to-face meetings with Members of Congress, congressional staff, key Administration officials, and other decision-makers, Congressional Visits Day raises their awareness of the long-term value that science,


AIAA Houston October Glider Workshop JOY CONRAD KING, PRE-COLLEGE

The AIAA Houston Section hosted a Glider Workshop on Sat-urday, October 22 at the Johnson Space Center Gilruth pavilion. The weather was crisp that morn-ing as three pilots (Helen DCouto, Glen Doggett, and David Fuller) talked about flying and answered questions from the audience. Each of the 120 students who attended then built their own glider out of balsa wood, glue, and clay. They were given basic instructions, but there were quite a few design modifications made! 12 volunteers were on hand to help them as well as several parents. After the gliders were built, the students could

compete in two competitions, one for accuracy and one for length of flight. The winners in the length of flight competition were:

K – 2nd grade Clay Woodcook (5.40 second flight)

3rd – 4th grade Megan Murphy (7.00 second flight)

5th – 8th grade Jesse Ramirez (10.56 second flight)

Congratulations to all the students who participated (even the two whose gliders ended up on the roof!).





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[Dates, events, and times are subject to change. See the AIAA Houston web site for more informa-tion at:] November

7 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 10 Lunch n’ Learn: " Systems Engineering Benchmark Study" by Jack Gavalas/Booz-Allen-

Hamilton (JSC) 15-16 American Astronautical Society (AAS) National Conference (South Shore Harbour)


5 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) TBD Dinner Meeting (Gilruth) TBD Lunch n' Learn


9 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 19 Dinner Meeting: "First Flight of a Mars Airplane" by Dr. Robert D. Braun/Georgia Tech

& AIAA Distinguished Lecturer; Joint with USALA/NMA Gilruth) 20-21 Future City Competition - Houston Regional, Phase II (San Jacinto Central) 21 Mars Rover Model Competition (UH) TBD AIAA Aerospace Historical Site Dedication at JSC TBD Lunch n' Learn


6 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 24 Engineers Appreciation Social – During National Engineers Week (Gilruth) TBD Lunch n' Learn


6 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) April

3 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 6-8 Student Paper Contest, College Station 12 Yuri's Night - World Space Party 27-29 Region IV Student Paper Conference (Texas A&M University, College Station) TBD “Space Trivia Night” (Gilruth) TBD "Spirit of Flight" Airshow (Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston) TBD Texas A&M University Student Branch Banquet (College Station)

May 1 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 5 “Space Day” Event 19 Annual Technical Symposium (Gilruth) 20 Career & Professional Development Workshop (Gilruth) TBD Mixer with the Mars Society - Houston Chapter


5 Executive Council Meeting (ARES Corp.) 15 Annual Honors & Awards Banquet: "SR-71 Blackbird – An Engineering Marvel" by Col.

R. Graham/USAF Retired & AIAA Distinguished Lecturer (Gilruth)

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Last Issue Last month’s oil well puzzle was from Chapter 12 of Martin Gard-ner’s Sixth Book of Mathematical Games from Scientific American (1971). Referring to this figure, because adding the dashed lines make a set of right triangles, we have, E2 = A2 + C2 and G2 = B2 + D2

So, E2 + G2 = A2 + C2 + B2 + D2

Similarly, F2 + H2 = A2 + D2 + B2 + C2 Since the right hand side of the last two equations are the same, we can say, E2 + G2 = F2 + H2

Since three of these distances are given in the problem, it is easy to solve for the missing distance, which works out to be 27,000 feet. Correct solutions were received from: Wendell Mendell Brian Johnson Josh Gibson Brandon Burns Frank Baiamonte Glenn Jenkinson

Current Cruncher

Referring to the figure at right, compute the area of the shaded region. Both figures are squares, and point D is at the center of the smaller square.

Send solutions to Bill Miller at [emailprotected]. The answer, along with credits, refer-ences, and names of the solvers, will be provided next time.


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The Engines of our Ingenuity John Lienhard, M.D. Anderson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston, wrote of “Amateurs and Professionals” in his column “The Engines of Our Ingenuity”: “…Goddard's invention of the high-altitude rocket in the 1920s was a one-man effort. Goddard was a highly trained professional, but he changed the world by thinking like an amateur. His rocket didn't reflect established expertise. It was a leap of the mind and a leap of the heart. Goddard had no guarantee of success, and he saw a lot of failure before his rockets flew… The creative part of engineering is often done by professionals, but only in that moment when they lay expertise aside and behave like amateurs. Invention, by its nature, lies outside the professional's arsenal of established knowledge. You can spot the pros in a group of professionals and amateurs. Their faces are blanked and detached. They limit contact with the amateurs, because amateurs are potentially dangerous. They [amateurs] don't play by rules. They risk error. They're the ones who join the game with their hearts – as well as their heads.” At left: Robert Goddard stands beside one of his early rockets.—this one is the first liquid fueled rocket.

Who is the man above, left? He was credited (until recently) with the initial invention of a common household device. From the Library of Congress web site: “[He] might easily have been content with the success of his invention. His many laboratory notebooks demonstrate, however, that he was driven by a genuine and rare intellectual curiosity that kept him regularly searching, striving, and wanting always to learn and to create. He would continue to test out new ideas through a long and productive life. He would explore the realm of communications as well as engage in a great variety of scientific activities involving kites, airplanes, tetrahedral structures, sheep-breeding, artificial respiration, desalinization and water distillation, and hydrofoils. … However, these interests may be considered minor activities compared to the time and effort he put into the challenge of flight. By the 1890s, [he] had begun ex-perimenting with propellers and kites. His work led him to apply the concept of the tetrahedron (a solid figure with four triangular faces) to kite design as well as to create a new form of architecture. In 1907, four years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, [he] formed the Aerial Experiment Association with Glenn Curtiss, William "Casey" Baldwin, Thomas Selfridge, and J.A.D. McCurdy, four young engineers whose common goal was to create airborne vehicles. By 1909, the group had produced four powered aircraft, the best of which, the Silver Dart, made the first successful powered flight in Canada on February 23, 1909. [He] spent the last decade of his life improving hydrofoil designs, and in 1919 he and Casey Baldwin built a hydrofoil that set a world water-speed record that was not broken until 1963. Months before he died, [he] told a reporter, "There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things." The Library of Congress holds a collection of Alexander Graham Bell family papers here:

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These images are not from the recent JetBlue landing at Los Angeles International Airport, but from a prior similar inci-dent in 2001.


For Kids and Parents: Celebration Seltzer Rockets [From:] These rockets can't burn anyone! Parental supervision is recommended. What You Need Film canister with snap on lid (Fuji) Toilet paper roll (double roll size, preferred, Waxtex wax paper rolls appear to fit the film canisters, without having to cut them.) Construction paper Scissors Scotch tape Markers, crayons, or paints Stickers, optional Alka-Seltzer tablets (generic works fine) Water in a container Eye protection (glasses) How To Make It 1. Cut straight up the side of the toilet paper roll. 2. Insert the film canister at one end, making sure the end with the lid sticks out about 1/8". 3. Tape along one edge of the toilet paper roll onto the film canister. Roll the toilet paper roll around the canister and tape tightly into place. 4. Cut a circle out of construction paper, cutting a pie shaped wedge out of the circle. Experiment with different sizes of circles to see if it makes a dif-

ference in how the rocket reacts upon launch. 5. Roll the paper into a cone shape and tape onto the other end of the toilet paper tube. 6. Decorate your rocket with markers, stickers, crayons, or paints. 7. Cut 4 squares out of construction paper to make fins if you wish. Tape on to lower sides of rocket. 8. Take outside: the rocket, water, Alka-Seltzer tablets, and eye protection. 9. Put on your eye protection. 10. Turn the rocket upside down, remove the lid from the canister, and fill 1/4 full with water. Drop in tablet and immediately replace lid and set on

ground. Back up! Experiment with using one or two tablets into the canister to see if it will shoot up higher. Be sure to look for the tablets after the rocket fires, we were able to reuse some of them a couple of times. Be sure to rinse off your driveway or sidewalk after finishing with your rockets.

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 26

Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System Repair Flight Experiment In-duced Contamination Impacts K. Smith, C. Soares, R. Mikatarian, and D. Schmidl, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; C. Campbell and S. Koontz, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; D. McCroskey and J. Garrett, Open Source Initiative, Moun-tain View, CA Recent Improvements in Ion Cyclotron Heating Efficiency in the Vasimr Engine E. Bering and M. Brukardt, University of Houston, Houston, TX; J. Squire, V. Jacobson, T. Glover and G. McCaskill, Muniz Engineering Inc., Houston, TX Analysis of ISS Plasma Interaction B. Reddell, J. Alred and R. Mikatarian, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; J. Minow, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; S. Koontz, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Impact of Plasma- Induced Arcing on ISS Touch Temperature J. Alred and R. Mikatarian, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; T. Schnei-der, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; S. Koontz, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Current Collection Characteristics of ISS Russian Thermal Blanket Mate-rial T. Schneider, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; K. Hwang, Morgan Research Corporation, Huntsville, AL; J. Vaughn and J. Minow, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; K. Wright, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; B. Reddell, J. Alred, R. Mikatarian, and P. Leung, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; and S. Koontz, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Impact of Solar Array Position on ISS Vehicle Charging J. Alred and R. Mikatarian, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; S. Koontz, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX First Data from ISS FPMU On- Orbit Ionosphere and Floating Potential Measurements B. Reddell, R. Mikatarian and L. Kramer, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; K. Wright, National Space Science and Technology Center, Huntsville, AL; C. Swenson, Utah State University, Logan, UT; J. Alred, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX Internal EMU Resistance Impact on Suit Arcing During EVA L. Kramer and P. Leung, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; T. Schneider, J. Vaughn and T. Black, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; D. Hamilton, Wyle Laboratories, Houston, TX Plasma- Induced Dielectric Breakdown of Chromic Acid Anodized Alumi-num Surfaces T. Schneider and J. Vaughn, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Hunts-ville, AL; L. Kramer, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; P. Leung, The Boeing Company, El Segundo, CA; T. Black and B. Teipel, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Page 26

Upcoming Conference Presentations by Houston Section Members COMPILED BY THE EDITOR FROM AIAA AGENDAS

44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit Reno, Nevada 9 - 12 Jan 2006 Water Recovery Systems for Exploration Missions K. Pickering and M. Anderson, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; L. Carter, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; B. Motil, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH; M. Flynn, NASA Ames Re-search Center, Moffett Field, CA; and J. Garland, Dynamac Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, FL Research and Development Needs for Active Thermal Control Systems for Human Rated Space Vehicles D. Westheimer, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; M. Hasan, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH BLIMPK/Streamline Surface Catalytic Heating Predictions on the Space Shuttle Orbiter J. Marichalar and W. Rochelle, ESCG/Jacobs Sverdrup, Houston, TX; B. Kirk and C. Campbell, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Oral Presentation: Quantitative Applications for Optical Emission Spec-troscopy in Plasmas (Invited) V. Donnelly, University of Houston, Houston, TX Exploration- Related Research on ISS: Connecting Science Results to Fu-ture Mission J. Rhatigan, J. Robinson and C. Sawin, NASA Johnson Space Center, Hous-ton, TX In Situ Resource Utilization: Technical and Programmatic Efforts Under the NASA Vision for Space Exploration K. Sacksteder, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH; W. Larson, NASA Kenedy Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, FL; G. Sanders, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; R. Schlagheck, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL The In- Space Soldering Investigation (ISSI): Experiments Aboard the International Space Station R. Grugel, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; L. Cotton, The Boeing Company, Houston, TX; P. Segre, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; J. Ogle, Sverdrup, Huntsville, AL; G. Funkhouser, Morgan Research, Huntsville, AL; and F. Parris, Sverdrup, Huntsville, AL Developing Fabrication Technologies to Provide on Demand Manufactur-ing for Exploration of the Moon and Mars M. Hammond, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL; J. Good, Muniz Engineering, Houston, TX; S. Gilley, Tec-Masters, Inc., Hunts-ville, AL; and R. Howard, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Huntsville, AL Weather Support to the Space Shuttle: An Overview W. Vaughan, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; B. Boyd, U.S. Air Force Weather Service, Patrick AFB, FL; D. Bellue, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; J. Madura, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Ken-nedy Space Center, FL; T. Garner, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; J. Weems, U.S. Air Force Weather Service, Patrick AFB, FL; and H. Herring, Computer Sciences Raytheon, Patrick AFB, FL

Information here is taken from AIAA conference agendas. As such, it is subject to change. AIAA-Houston members can also inform the editor of any upcoming presentations at any conference (AIAA or other) via email at: [emailprotected].


Triton Systems Stellar-J - AIAA Houston· AIAA and its Houston Section are poised to respond to these needs. At the National level, AIAA pro-vides a wide variety of conferences throughout - [PDF Document] (27)

AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 27

This year the Modeling and Simulation Technologies (MST) Conference provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the current state of technologies in modeling and simulation used by the aerospace industry. The conference brings together the foremost authorities on aircraft and space-craft simulation from around the world. Technical papers are being solicited in the following topic areas: - The History and Future of Flight Simulation - Future-Based Technology Challenges - Next-Generation Training Concepts and Needs - Unmanned Systems Modeling and Simulation - Space Systems and Simulations - Threat, Weapons, and Engagement Simulation - Distributed Flight Simulation Technologies - Mobile, Reconfigurable and Embedded Flight Simulators and Training Aids - Training System Acquisition and Program Overviews and many more! Prospective authors are invited to electronically submit abstracts of 500-1000 words, all abstracts must be received no later than 27 January 2006. AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference and Exhibit AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit 21-24 August 2006 Keystone Resort & Conference Center Keystone, CO

Page 27

A Numerical Study of the Accuracy of the Immersed Boundary Method F. Pacull and M. Garbey, University of Houston, Houston, TX Plasma Deatchment Simulation in the VX- 30 System A. Ilin, Muniz Engineering, Inc., Houston, TX; F. Chang Diaz, NASA John-son Space Center, Houston, TX; J. Squire and T. Glover, Muniz Engineering, Inc., Houston, TX Stereo PIV for Near Wall Measurements I. Ekoto and R. Bowersox, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; L. Goss, Innovative Scientific Solutions Inc., Dayton, OH Partially- Averaged Navier- Stokes Method for Turbulent Flows: k- w Model Implementation S. Lakshmipathy and S. Girimaji, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Marathon UAV Development Z. Reeder, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Investigation of Turbulent Rectangular Jets Using PANS Method S. Girimaji and T. Lavin, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Functional Decomposition of a Portable Life Support Subsystem for the NASA Extra-Vehicular Activity Mobile Unit Used in Explorations 1 Through 5 L. Wiseman, S. Abdelfattah, T. Lalk, M. Schuller, and E. Marotta, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

The Effect of Diamond Injector Geometry on Supersonic Jet Interaction Secondary Flow J. McLellan, R. Bowersox, and R. Srinivasan, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Upcoming Conference Presentations by Houston Section Members CONTINUED ...

AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference and Exhibit Call For Papers Open!

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AIAA Houston Horizons September / October 2005 Page 28

Houston Section P.O. Box 57524 Webster, TX 77598

AIAA Mission

Advance the arts, sciences, and technology of aerospace, and nurture and promote the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. AIAA seeks to meet the professional needs and interests of its members, as well as to improve the public understanding of the profession and its


Are you interested in becoming a member of AIAA, or renewing your membership? You can fill out your membership application online at the AIAA national web site: Select the AIAA membership option.

Become a Member of AIAA

Non-Profit Organization


Webster , Texas

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What is AIAA standard? ›

The purpose of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Standards Program is to provide the technical standards and guidance needed by the aerospace industry to enable cooperation and provide a basis for competition.

What is AIAA in aviation? ›

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

What is the role of the AIAA? ›

AIAA organizes and hosts the aerospace industry's most important conferences and events, where aerospace professionals exchange information, present findings, network, and collaborate. Every year, AIAA organizes and hosts some two dozen conferences on key aerospace topics.

What is the mission statement of the AIAA? ›

AIAA is dedicated to being the forum for innovation, technical excellence, and global leadership for aerospace professionals. Its mission is to advance the state of aerospace science, engineering, technology, operations, and policy to benefit global society.

What do you need to qualify for the AIAA? ›

Must have completed at least 1 academic semester of full-time college work. Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.300 on a 4.000 scale unless otherwise noted. Unless otherwise noted, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university within the United States or U.S. Territories.

What is AIAA format? ›

General Formatting. The default font for AIAA papers is Times New Roman, 10-point size. In the electronic template, use the “Text” style from the pull-down menu to format all primary text for your manuscript. The first line of every paragraph should be indented, and all lines should be single-spaced.

Is AIAA prestigious? ›

AIAA is the Leading Aerospace Publisher

For the most authoritative technical publications, look to AIAA.

What are the benefits of joining the AIAA? ›

AIAA elevates your career with opportunities to discover, connect, and actively grow your network. Events – Attend forums and seminars for inspired idea exchange and relationship building with people who can influence your career and offer insight on your work.

How much is an AIAA membership? ›

The Young Professional Membership rate is $67.50 a year until you reach 36 years of age or upgrade to Senior Membership. At age 36 or if you upgrade to Senior Membership before age 36, members can renew annually at the member dues rate of $135.

What are the goals of the AIAA? ›

AIAA's vision is to be the voice of the aerospace profession through innovation, technical excellence, and global leadership.

How big is AIAA? ›

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, serving a diverse range of more than 35,000 individual members from 80 countries, and 100 corporate members.

Is AIAA a non-profit? ›

Founded in 1996, the AIAA Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization committed to offering a wealth of resources that support students and educators at both the K-12 and university level.

What is an associate member of the AIAA? ›

AIAA associate members work or are interested in the aerospace profession but DO NOT hold a science or engineering degree, or professional qualifications through professional experience in aeronautics or astronautics.

What are the requirements for the AIAA paper? ›

In the electronic version of the template, all margins and other formatting are preset. There should be no additional lines between paragraphs. Your manuscript should be typed in single-column, single-spaced format, to fit on an 8.5” by 11” page. Margins should be 1” on all sides.

What is the AIAA Standards Committee? ›

The AIAA Committees on Standards oversee the development of new standards, update current standards, and set the direction for the Institute's standardization work.


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