(March 29, 2021) AIAA Member Spotlight on Ms. Michelle Rouch

AIAA Associate Fellow
Technical advisor for major weapon systems produced at Raytheon
Chair for AIAA Tucson-Section
Member of SAT IOC
Renowned Aerospace Artist
When you think of the Apollo 15 mission and reading the depth of command module pilot Astronaut Al Worden poetry, one can understand the emotions of someone who has vast experience in deep space.
The author Al Worden with Francis French, and illustrator Michelle Rouch together created the children’s book, “Astronaut Al Travels to the Moon.” The author spent time looking for an illustrator and Michelle Rouch was happy to accept the challenge. The spark of the project all started during a fundraising event for Time in Cosmology, led by Czarina Salido who featured guitarist Gabriel Ayala, space artists Simon Kregar and Michelle Rouch with Emcee Geoff Notkin on March 6, 2018. At the end of the event while Michelle Rouch was tearing down her art display, Francis French had mentioned that Al Worden is looking for an illustrator for his children’s book, and the rest is history. The hardest part of the project was finding a publisher. The project continued with closed loop communication between Al Worden, Francis French and Michelle Rouch with the request in creating 13 unique illustrations that depicted the essence of the poem. A publisher was secured in mid-2020 and released the book on March 15, 2021 during CiLive in Des Moines, Iowa.
Children’s books have a profound effect on society. The unique perspective of Al Worden’s experience along with the colorful illustrations hopes to influence kids at an early age to consider a career path in the technical and scientific fields.  More details of “Astronaut Al Travels to the Moon” are available at www.astronautal.com and the illustrations can be viewed at rouch.com.  About the Illustrator: Michelle Rouch grew up in Dayton, OH and the strong aerospace history influenced her future. But it was her brother that influenced her to become an engineer, like him. Michelle Rouch is now a Senior Engineer with over 30 years of experience working for DoD, and serves as technical advisor for major weapon systems produced at Raytheon, covering product lines for all branches of the military. She is the Chair for AIAA Tucson-Section, member of SAT IOC, and recently earned her AIAA Associate Fellowship. Michelle Rouch is also a self-taught artist with over 40 years of experience. She continues to aim high to revolutionize the technical world with a contemporary artistic touch. She wants to capture the emotions of people living and thriving in an aerospace world on Earth and beyond, and create more illustrations for children’s books.

(August 31, 2020) AIAA LA-LV Member Spotlight on Col. Mark Pestana

Mark Pestana
Pilot- Engineer-Artist
AIAA Senior Member

Mark Pestana, Colonel, USAF (ret), is a research pilot, aerospace human factors engineer, and consultant for NASA, DOD, and the FAA, and teaches aerospace safety as adjunct faculty at University of Southern California. He’s flown over 5000 hours in over 30 aircraft types, from heavy transport to supersonic jet. As an Air Force pilot he logged 213 combat intelligence sorties. He served as an operations engineer in the NASA Astronaut Office, working in Russia developing the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft training. As a NASA pilot at Edwards AFB, CA, he flew aeronautics research and global Earth science mission. Besides missions collecting data on supersonic boom impact characterization, and hurricanes, atmospheric chemistry, global forestry, etc., he flew remotely piloted “drone” research on self-avoidance technology, and wildfire geo-location missions. Mark is an internationally award-winning artist, specializing in landscape, seascape, and aerospace art. His paintings are in corporate, government, and private collections. Fourteen of his paintings are in the Pentagon collection, and one of his paintings hangs in the Russian Space Mission Control Center, Moscow. Mark has the unique distinction of designing nine Space Shuttle mission patches for the astronauts. His art is in space!

“I am captivated and inspired from the great explorers of land, sea, air and space. My early influences in aviation and sciences were my father, a USAF air crew member, and my science teachers who promoted hands-on experiences, like dissecting a shark and collecting rocks in the Sierra Nevada range. The pioneering flights of the X-15 test pilots and the astronauts who ventured to the Moon gave me inspiration to pursue a science and engineering path in education and career. Similarly, my childhood pastime of drawing and coloring evolved into a serious avocation thanks to the inspiration of famed aerospace artists, like Chesley Bonestell’s visions of planetary exploration, and the mentorship of Robert McCall and Keith Ferris. As a volunteer board member for a non-profit STEM outreach corporation, I promote the creative relationships between the art and engineering processes to inspire youth…the “STEAM” approach. I attempt to convey the inherent art and science behind the emotion, wonder, and excitement of these subjects, depicting themes in aviation, space, landscapes, and seascapes…on Earth and beyond.”
https://pestanafineart.wordpress.com

Col. Mark Pestana
Col. Mark Pestana and F-15
The Silent War by Col. Mark Pestana

(August 24, 2020) AIAA LA-LV Member Spotlight on Prof. Jason L. Speyer

Prof. Jason L. Speyer
AIAA HONORARY FELLOW
Member, National Academy of Engineering

Ronald and Valerie Sugar Distinguished Professor,
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and
the Electrical Engineering Department, UCLA

AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award
AIAA Dryden Lectureship in Research
AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Award
Air Force Exceptional Civilian Decoration (1991 and 2001)
IEEE Third Millennium Medal
Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award

My very early focus in aeronautics and current wildest hopes

During the New England winters when I was about eight years old, I would pray for snow. Since I lived in a small city called Malden about four miles due north of downtown Boston, having a few snow storms in the winter was quite likely. It was not in my interest to crave snow so they might cancel school, which often happened, nor was I a big fan of winter sports, although I enjoyed ice hockey and an occasional snowball fight was great fun. To play hockey all you needed was a cold spell to freeze the nearby lake. The reason I prayed for snow was that once the storm was over, I offered to shovel away the snow on my neighbors’ driveways and walkways. I would work into the early night, making about a quarter to thirty five cents a driveway. Once having secured about sixty five to seventy five cents, I would beg my mother to drive me to the hobby store that was about three miles from our home where I would be able to buy two airplane model kits, each a quarter and a tube of glue for ten cents. These were balsa model kits that produced rather large models that flew, but usually not very well. It would take me about a week to finish one, and usually hung it up in my bedroom near the ceiling. There were all kinds of aircraft, from the British Spad and German Fokker to the spitfire and P-38 flying tiger. The construction of these balsa models had many similarities to the structure of old canvas covered aircraft, such as the Aeronca Model 7 Champion . The wings had balsa spars and cords that were covered with tissue paper, which after being wet would dry and shrink to be taut (make sure the grain of the paper is set correctly). The motor was a rubber band that came with the kit, which when tightly wound gave a bit of power once released.When there was no room to hang a new airplane model, I would take an old one, climb what we called the mountain, and launch it over a cliff. Sometimes they went well, but some were disappointing flyers.

In some sense I have never grown out of my fascination with flying machines: aircraft or spacecraft. Nevertheless, at eight I had a lot to learn. If I had some understanding of stability and control, maybe I could have enhanced how my planes flew. After all, the Wright brothers’ understanding of aircraft stability is their essential contribution. Although the technical breadth within aeronautics and astronautics is enormous, stability and control of aircraft or more generally the technical area of guidance, navigation, and control from both a theoretical and applied perspective has been the focus of my career. Currently, working with JPL, I am developing algorithms for navigating and guiding spacecraft in deep space. In particular, I have been focused on using pulsars that operate like a natural GPS system. I do hope in my lifetime that we will send a spacecraft 550 astronomical units from the sun. Starting at that distance, light will focus, because light passing the sun bends due to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, forming what is called a solar gravitational lens. If the spacecraft is guided to the right trajectory, then looking back toward the sun, we could see the planetary system of Alpha Centauri B. Since the magnification is about a billion, then we might see a planet of Alpha Centauri B with resolution of less than a kilometer.

I close with a short biography. I received the B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, Cambridge, in 1960 and the Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA, in 1968. I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Technion in 2013. Currently, I am the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Distinguished Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and the Electrical Engineering Department, UCLA. With W. H. Chung I coauthored, Stochastic Processes, Estimation, and Control (SIAM, 2008), with D. H. Jacobson I coauthored, Primer on Optimal Control Theory (SIAM, 2010) and with Amir Emadzazdeh I coauthored, Navigation in Space by X-ray Pulsars (Springer, 2011). I served as Associate Editor for Technical Notes and Correspondence (1975–1976) and Stochastic Control (1978–1979), IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control , for AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics (1977–1978), and for Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications (1981-present). I am a life Fellow of the IEEE and Honorary Fellow of the AIAA and was awarded the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, AIAA Dryden Lectureship in Research, Air Force Exceptional Civilian Decoration (1991 and 2001), IEEE Third Millennium Medal, AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Award, Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Jason L. Speyer

(October 19, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Al Globus

Al Globus
AIAA Member

AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee
Contract software engineer, NASA Ames Research Center – Retired

Al Globus worked at NASA Ames for 39 years as a contract software engineer on space settlement, asteroid mining, Hubble, space stations, X37, shuttle, Earth observation, TDRSS, cubesats, lunar teleoperation, spaceflight effects on bone, molecular nanotechnology, scientific visualization, and space solar power publishing dozens of papers on these and other topics. He founded and has run the annual NSS Space Settlement Contest for 7-12 grade students for over 25 years. The contest attracted 14,000 kids in 2020. Most recently, he found a way to build O’Neill-style space settlements with multiple orders of magnitude less mass and place them close to Earth, making launch from Earth practical.

Al is a member of the NSS Board of Directors, chairman of the Space Settlement Advocacy Committee, member of the Policy committee, and sits on the board of the Alliance for Space Development.

While earning his BA in Information Science at UC Santa Cruz, in 1978 Al’s housemate was hired to clean out someone’s garage. He brought home a stack of Co-Evolutionary Quarterly issues, including one on space settlement. It blew Al’s mind. He knew we just had to build these things. A few days later while he was raving to other students about space settlement a tall guy tapped him on the should and asked “Would you like to work at NASA?” Al jumped on it, went to NASA Ames when he graduated, the tall guy got a $500 bonus and became one of Al’s closest friend.

Al Globus

(October 12, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on André Bormanis

André Bormanis
AIAA Member

*Writer, consultant, and television producer, currently serving as a writer and co-executive producer of the Fox / Hulu television series, The Orville.
*Writer and consulting producer on the latest season of the Fox / National Geographic television series Cosmos, based on the award-wining PBS series created by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.
*Head writer and co-executive producer of the Mars documentary / drama series for the National Geographic channel.
*Star Trek science consult
*Writer / producer on the Star Trek: Enterprise series
*Writer and consultant for the Disney XD animated series Tron: Uprising

Mr. Bormanis is a writer, consultant, and television producer, currently serving as a writer and co-executive producer of the Fox / Hulu television series, The Orville. He was also a writer and consulting producer on the latest season of the Fox / National Geographic television series Cosmos, based on the award-wining PBS series created by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. In 2016 he was the head writer and co-executive producer of the Mars documentary / drama series for the National Geographic channel.

In 2010 and 2011, he worked as a writer and consultant for the Disney XD animated series Tron: Uprising, based on the feature film Tron: Legacy. In 2009, he was a writer and supervising producer for the ABC Studios series Legend of the Seeker. The previous year, he was a writer and producer on the CBS / Warner Brothers television series Eleventh Hour, and in 2005, for the CBS / Paramount television series Threshold. Prior to Threshold, he was a writer / producer for the Star Trek: Enterprise television series, and science consultant for Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation feature film series. He has written stories and teleplays for both Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager, is the author of a book, Star Trek Science Logs, published by Pocket Books in February 1998, and is a contributor to another book, New Worlds, New Civilizations, also published by Pocket Books. He co-authored the narration for Centered in the Universe, a planetarium show currently running at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. He has written numerous magazine articles for popular science publications including Sky & Telescope, Mercury, The Journal of Materials, and The Colorado Plateau Journal, and is a frequent contributor to the online space policy forum The Space Review.

Mr. Bormanis received a B.S. in Physics from the University of Arizona, and an M.A. in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from the George Washington University. His master’s thesis, directed by Dr. John Logsdon, was entitled A Program in Transition: Policy Aspect of U.S. Planetary Exploration.
Looking back, there were several key experiences in my childhood and early adulthood that paved the way to my career working at the intersection of art and science…

When I was seven years old, my family moved from Chicago, IL, to Phoenix, AZ. It was 1966. From the back yard of our house in those days, you could still see the Milky Way on a clear summer night. My father told me that the Milky Way was made of stars that were too far away to see as individual points of light. I was astonished by this. I checked out a book from the school library and started to learn more about astronomy. This was also the time of the Moon Race, and my father, through his work at the Motorola Government Electronics Division in Scottsdale, had some involvement in the Apollo program.

As a child, my favorite toy was Lego. It’s about the only thing I ever played with. Fueled by my interest in the space program, I started building spaceships out of Lego, creating ever more elaborate models as I got older. There were no Lego spaceship kits in those days, so I used pieces from house and Big Rig Truck models to build ships that featured airlocks, viewports, crew quarters, legs that folded out for landing on alien planets, and other features I learned about from science fiction television shows (mostly Lost in Space in those days). I took a piece of black cardboard and punched tiny holes in it with needles, then put a lamp behind the cardboard to create a starfield my miniature astronauts could see through their viewports. The astronauts themselves were inch-tall plastic figurines of characters from some of the cartoon shows I watched. I wrapped their bodies in aluminum foil and their heads in Saran wrap so they could go on EVAs. I converted bare patches of dirt in our backyard into alien planet landscapes, using ripped up sponges I spray-painted gray to make giant (at that scale) igneous boulders. I scattered colorful minerals and crystals around and added lichen and other foliage from model train sets to fill out my miniature landscapes.

When I was eleven years old I joined the Boy Scouts. One of our first summer camping trips was to Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, AZ. I knew I’d be able to see the Milky Way better from such a remote location, and sure enough, it glowed like a solid white band of light from horizon to horizon. I was amazed at the sight of it, and the sheer number of stars I could see with my eyes.

Coming home from that trip, I was determined to get a telescope. I looked in the Yellow Pages under “telescopes” and the first company listed was called Ad Astra. I called the number and asked the man who answered the phone — a brilliant optician named Max Bray — if he made reflectors or refractors. He said that he made telescopes that were a combination of both. I had never heard of anything like that! My dad drove me to Mr. Bray’s shop in downtown Phoenix a few nights later, where he set up a three-inch Maksutov Cassegrain telescope he’d made and pointed it at Saturn. The image of its small yellow disk encircled by a white ring literally took my breath away. I was hooked on astronomy and space science for life (and Max Bray and his son Wade, an acoustical engineer, became lifelong friends).

By the time I was in High School, I was also hooked on science fiction (particularly the “space opera” subgenre), the original Star Trek, and Carl Sagan. These three influences greatly encouraged my growing interest in writing and storytelling.

I majored in physics at the University of Arizona. One of my professors, Dr. Donald Huffman, was impressed with a report I had written for my senior year experimental physics lab. He told me there weren’t a lot of scientists who were also good writers, and he encouraged me to consider getting involved in technical writing. A short time later I was writing articles for popular science magazines, like Sky & Telescope, and eventually I worked up the nerve to take a screenwriting class at Arizona State. My teacher, an accomplished novelist and screenwriter named Stephen Geller, liked my work, which gave me more confidence to explore creative writing. I had already written a Star Trek spec script, and under Steve’s guidance wrote a screen adaptation of a science fiction novel (Fiasco, by Stanislaw Lem).

In 1991 I was offered the chance to earn a master’s degree in science, technology and public policy at The George Washington University under a NASA Space Grant Fellowship. It was an amazing opportunity and I loved learning about the interplay between NASA research and national science policy.

While I was at GWU, I also started shopping my scripts to agents in Hollywood, hoping to find one who could get me a meeting to pitch story ideas to the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was on TV at the time. After a number of rejections, I finally found an agent who was interested in representing me. She discovered that the Star Trek producers were looking for a new science consultant. They wanted someone with both a creative writing background and a science background, someone who understood the script writing process and knew the Star Trek series. To make a very long story short, they interviewed me, they liked me, and they hired me. And as luck would have it, they needed me to start literally to the week that my NASA Fellowship ended. And so in May, 1993, I moved from Washington DC to Los Angeles to be the new Star Trek science consultant.

Eventually I sold a few stories to the Star Trek: Voyager series, which premiered in 1995, and they soon asked me to write a full script. They liked that script well enough to ask me to write another one, and several more after that. Eventually I became a full-time writer / producer on the Star Trek: Enterprise series, and I’ve been writing for television ever since.

André Bormanis standing next to the big alien “Unk,” on the set of The Orville, from an early season 2 episode. (Courtesy of André Bormanis)
Ad Astra III
Bob Spacecraft

(October 5, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Douglas Yazell

Douglas Yazell
AIAA Associate Fellow

Honeywell-Retired; Teacher, Math & Robotics, Texas City High School
Mr. Yazell worked for Honeywell aerospace engineering from 1981 to 2011, mostly on NASA projects. He earned a BSEE degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, south of the Los Angeles area. The latter was mostly from the mechanical engineering department, with work in robotics, control systems, and equations of motion. He worked in Clearwater Florida 1981-1983, the Los Angeles area 1983-1992, and in the NASA/JSC community after 1992. Since 2016 he is a Teacher in public high schools with two teaching certificates, Math and Technology Education, including a year of teaching Robotics.

Mr. Yazell worked as a newspaper carrier and city recreation center leader, among other jobs, before starting to study electrical engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He was leaving the small city of St. Petersburg on the other side of Tampa Bay where he lived with his parents and an older brother since starting high school there in 10th grade 14 years earlier. His good reputation with the city recreation center work led to a student intern job with Honeywell in Clearwater Florida with the space shuttle entry flight control team. Upon graduation (BSEE), he represented Honeywell at the historic Rockwell International site in Downey California in the Los Angeles area. Five years later he continued to represent Honeywell at the McDonnell Douglas site in Huntington Beach, California. A brand new 8-story building was the site for the McDonnell Douglas Space Station Freedom team. As for becoming an AIAA Associate Fellow, he volunteered to be of service to the profession in various roles starting in 1998 in AIAA Houston Section in the NASA/JSC community. As for becoming a member of the Aerospace America editorial board for about 8 years with Editors Elaine Camhi and Ben Ionnatta, he was recommended by an AIAA leader because of his work as Editor of Horizons, the newsletter of AIAA Houston Section. The prior Editor, Jon Berndt, did an amazing job with thousands of downloads per issue (sometimes tens of thousands). Mr. Yazell enjoyed keeping up that tradition from 2011 to 2014, including the use of Microsoft Publisher (for layout editing), and later, Adobe InDesign. Mr. Yazell added climate change science, engineering, and public policy to Horizons since 2013 once PBS called it to his attention with the October 23, 2012 episode, Climate of Doubt. After seeing that hour of investigative journalism, the subject was on his radar for the first time, and he knew he could trust NASA, NOAA, national science academies, scientific professional societies, and the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2014, Ian Haney-López convinced Mr. Yazell that race was the most important problem in the USA, as Professor Haney-López was doing a book publicity tour for this 2014 book, “Dog Whistle Politics.” The author was a guest on the PBS show Moyers & Company. Mr. Yazell is now a member of the AIAA Diversity & Inclusion Working Group (DWG), led by Jandria Alexander. As for co-founding the since-2007 France-USA sister sections with AIAA Houston Section and 3AF-MP (www.3af-mp.fr), a Chinese sister section in Shanghai was popular with AIAA Houston Section since 1987. Its founder asked Mr. Yazell to continue that tradition, but Mr. Yazell lived in France aged 4-6 (1957-1959), studied French in high school, and married a French woman in 1985, so Mr. Yazell suggested that French tradition starting in 2004.

As for writing the successful nomination report for one of the AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum near the “right field” runways in Hobby Airport is a gem. The late airline Captain AJ High probably wrote most of that information for the museum website (https://www.1940airterminal.org/). The air terminal building was created using the “Art Deco” style. Ironically, the day of the award ceremony, when AIAA awarded the large bronze plaque to the museum, a rainstorm caused flash flooding all day long, and human-induced climate change makes every rainfall worse when air is warmer. Coincidentally, the museum work led Mr. Yazell to learn that the first aviator in Texas was French pilot Louis Paulhan, who performed in a 1910 Texas airshow.

(September 28, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Michelle Evans

Michelle Evans
AIAA Distinguished Lecturer
AIAA Member
Founder and President, Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com)
Writer, Photographer, and Communications Specialist in aerospace

Michelle Evans is the founder and president of Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com) and is a writer, photographer, and communications specialist in aerospace. She has written the bestselling book “The X-15 Rocket Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space” which was published by the University of Nebraska Press as part of their “Outward Odyssey, People’s History of Spaceflight” series.
Michelle’s background in aerospace engineering includes serving in the US Air Force working on missile systems, and later in private industry accomplishing environmental testing for systems used in airliners and spacecraft. Her current work with Mach 25 Media provides education and display services for astronaut appearances and other space-related events at government facilities, science centers, schools, and other venues across the country and overseas.
Michelle was elected as the President of the Orange County Space Society for 14 years, overseeing the group’s activities on science, exploration, and technology outreach throughout California, across the United States, as well as overseas in Izmir, Turkey. Working with Global Friendship Through Space Education, she helped partner school children in the United States with those in Turkey and other countries for programs at Space Camp Turkey. In conjunction with her work there, she also led a tour group to witness the total solar eclipse from Manavgat, Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. Locally, she has worked extensively with, and has provided permanent exhibit artifacts for the Tessmann Planetarium at Santa Ana College.
Michelle is a Distinguished Lecturer with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and her book on the X-15 was a finalist for the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. Michelle received the Diverse Community Leader Award from Orange County Human Relations, and was recognized as number 3 on the Orange County Register’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County. She has appeared in numerous publications, including Air & Space Smithsonian, Ad Astra, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. Michelle had a feature story about her life in Time magazine. She was a technical consultant on the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man,” and has consulted with National Geographic television.
On transgender issues Michelle is the founder of the TG Rainbow support group which has operated in Tustin for the past 10 years. She is also the Transgender Coordinator for the PFLAG Speakers Bureau for Orange County and Long Beach, and has spoken to high schools, colleges, universities, civic groups, private companies, governmental agencies, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy nearly 300 times over the past 13 years. She and her wife Cherie, have been vocal advocates for trans rights, specifically in the fight for marriage equality that raged for more than a decade before finally being settled in favor of all LGBTQ people by the Supreme Court. Michelle has also been instrumental in the education of medical insurance companies when it comes to the needs and rights of transgender patients.

Michelle Evans with X-15 pilot and astronaut Joe Engle. (Courtesy of Michelle Evans)
Michelle Evans with the X-15 at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. (Courtesy of Michelle Evans)

(September 21, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Dr. Henry B. Garrett

Dr. Henry B. Garrett
AIAA Fellow
Principal Scientist
OFFICE OF SAFETY AND MISSION SUCCESS
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Garrett has a doctorate in Space Physics and Astronomy. He has over 150 publications on the space environment and its effects with specific emphasis in the areas of atmospheric physics, the low earth ionosphere, radiation, micrometeoroids, space plasma environments, and effects on materials and systems in space. While on active duty in the Air Force he served as Project Scientist for the highly successful SCATHA program which studied the effects of charging on spacecraft. For this he was awarded the Harold Brown Award, the Air Force’s highest scientific award. In 1992, he was selected for a joint DoD/NASA assignment at the Pentagon as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization where he acted as the Deputy Program Manager for the Clementine Lunar Mission and Program Manager for the Clementine InterStage Adapter Satellite (ISAS). For contributions to these missions, he was awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement. After a 30 years career in the USAF Reserves, he retired in 2002 as a full Colonel and was awarded the AF Legion of Merit. During his 40 year career at JPL, he has been responsible for defining the space environment and its effects on reliability for many NASA missions. He has also published several textbooks on the space environment and its impact on spacecraft design and reliability. Dr. Garrett is an international consultant on the terrestrial and interplanetary space environments and spacecraft reliability having worked for INTELSAT, L’Garde, NASDA, LORAL, CNES, and other organizations. In 2006 Dr. Garrett received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for “his achievements in advancing the understanding of space environments and effects.” Recently, Dr. Garrett co-authored with Mr. Albert Whittlesey the primary NASA standard on spacecraft surface and internal charging for earth missions. Dr. Garrett retired from full time duties at JPL in 2017 but continues in an emeritus position. He was made a Fellow of the AIAA in 2019.
“I started my “career” in astronomy in 8th grade by grinding a 6 inch telescope and learning astrophotography for the state science fair. Each year after that I worked on my project ultimately making a complex reflector/refractor telescope camera that won me a first place in physics and the top award in optics at the 1966 International Science Fair in Dallas, TX. This allowed me to get into Rice University were I became the first undergraduate in their astronomy department based on my project. Ultimately I received my PHD and went on to a career in space physics and astronomy. Years later my high school science project came to the attention of my managers at NASA and I was made the chief optical inspector for the Hubble repair project (HARP)—you never know where your STEM activities will take you: from my youth in my backyard in Roswell, NM, to the planets and beyond!! (PS: Working at JPL has allowed me to “phone home”.”

(September 8, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Michael Staab

Michael Staab
AIAA Senior Member (Early Adopter), Fault Management and System Autonomy Principal Engineer for Lunar Missions at Northrop Grumman Corporation
Michael Staab is a Fault Management and System Autonomy Principal Engineer for Lunar Missions at Northrop Grumman Corporation. In this role, he supports the Gateway and Human Lander System missions as part of NASA’s Artemis Program, providing fault management and system autonomy design for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module and the Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Laboratory National Team HLS entry. In his previous roles with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he was a Fault Protection and Flight System Systems Engineer for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission, a Spacecraft Systems Engineer and Flight Director the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, and Flight Controller for the Cassini mission, and a Mission System Systems Engineer for the Mars Perseverance Rover. Michael is a PhD Student in the Department of Astronautical Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, under the advisement of Prof Azad Madni and Prof Daniel Erwin. His research interests include system autonomy, system resiliency, machine learning, and fault protection. Additionally, Michael is an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer in the United States Navy Reserves. Assigned to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIRSYSCOM), he supports the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) with the acquisition, development, testing, and deployment of air and weapons systems to fleet operators conducting joint operations around the world. With a lifelong fascination in spaceflight, Michael was inspired from an early age with the successful landing of the Mars Pathfinder mission, John Glenn’s flight aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, and frequent trips to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center; he is an aspiring NASA Astronaut, having applied twice to NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program. Michael holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University and a Master’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

(August 17, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Janet Grondin

Janet Grondin
AIAA LA-LV Member
Vice President, Defense Programs for Stellar Solutions, Inc.
Former Director, Northrop Grumman
Colonel, USAF-Retired
President, Women In Defense Greater Los Angeles Chapter (WID-GLAC) 
Executive Board Member, National Defense Industrial Association Greater Los Angeles Chapter (NDIA-GLAC)


Janet Grondin is Vice President of Defense Programs for Stellar Solutions, Inc, a small, woman-owned business providing high impact engineering services to significant national and international customers for 25 years. Prior to this role, she was Director of Overhead Persistent Infrared Exploitation for Northrop Grumman. Janet is a retired USAF Colonel with over 30 years of experience in navigation, remote sensing, satellite communications, launch, space superiority, and launch ranges. Her education includes a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the AF Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Strategic Studies, and a M.S. in Military Operational Art & Science. Janet is the President of the Women In Defense Greater Los Angeles Chapter (WID-GLAC) and an Executive Board Member of the National Defense Industrial Association Greater Los Angeles Chapter (NDIA-GLAC). Janet and her husband, Pat, have 2 sons in college and reside in San Pedro, CA. Janet’s father was a private pilot and a mechanical engineer. He held several patents and built his own Starduster II from blueprints. She got a ride in his Starduster just before he had to stop flying…it was a beautiful airplane! Janet caught the bug for aviation and space from her Dad and applied to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ. She was accepted and also, later, received an AFROTC scholarship. ERAU was the perfect school for her and Det 028 was a great launching pad for her AF career.