(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.

(May 22, 2020 e-Happy Hour) e-Gallery Reception: Meet the Artists: Michelle Rouch, Mark Pestana, and Aldo Spadoni

RSVP and Information: https://conta.cc/3fQbvGu

Virtual Online Aerospace Art Gallery (May 9 – July 11, 2020): https://conta.cc/2YHEZjO

YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/CE-K-ukt7zs

YouTube AIAA LA-LV Channel: 

May 22, 2020: e-Gallery Reception / e-Happy Hour: Meet the Artists / Virtual Aerospace Art Gallery

First Ever AIAA LA LV Virtual Online Aerospace Art Gallery Exhibition

May 9, 2020 @ 6:00 am July 12, 2020 @ 12:00 am PDT

First Ever AIAA LA LV Virtual Online Aerospace Art Gallery Exhibition with Michelle Rouch, Mark Pestana, and Aldo Spadoni

Starts: May 9, 2020 6:00 AM (PT)

Ends: Jul 12, 2020 12:00 AM (PT)

RSVP and information: https://conta.cc/2YHEZjO

Volunteers are needed for all AIAA activities, please contact


Virtual Aerospace Art Gallery Exhibition

(First Ever by AIAA LA LV !)

May 9 – July 11, 2020

Selected Artwork by

AIAA Engineers and Renowned Aerospace Artists:

Aldo Spadoni, Michelle Rouch, & Mark Pestana

All are welcome! (Free!)

[RSVP is required!]

Registrants will receive the instruction for entering the virtual gallery.

Event Calendar

RSVP and Information: https://conta.cc/2YHEZjO

Upcoming Events aiaa-lalv.org/events

Aldo Spadoni

Michelle G. Rouch

Col. Mark Pestana

Aldo Spadoni is an MIT graduate with an aerospace engineering career spanning over 35 years. He has made significant technical contributions to numerous advanced aircraft, missile, and spacecraft programs for NASA, DARPA, and the U.S. Armed Services. He began his engineering career at Hughes Space & Communications Group as a spacecraft configuration design engineer working on the Galileo Jupiter spacecraft. Later, he joined TRW Defense & Space Systems as a navigation systems engineering specialist working on ICBMs and spacecraft programs. Aldo joined Northrop in 1985, supporting the advanced design team in the area of advanced avionics system integration and project management. He created and managed an award-winning creative simulation team at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. Aldo is a recipient of NASA’s 2004 Turning Goals Into Reality team award for Reusable Launch Vehicle Development. He is an accomplished self-taught artist and concept designer with four U.S. patents to his credit. He is a Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and is currently serving on its Board of Trustees. Aldo’s consulting company, Aerospace Imagineering, specializes in the conceptual design, visualization and prototyping of advanced technology products and concepts. His visualizations have appeared in numerous magazines and television documentaries. He has worked closely with hard science fiction authors such as Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle to bring their technological visions to life. As an aerospace concept designer and technology consultant to the entertainment industry, he supported the production of APOLLO 13, SUPERNOVA, STEALTH, IRON MAN 1 & 2, and other movie projects. He helped produce the 2009 National Geographic Channel documentary called HITLER’S STEALTH FIGHTER. Aldo’s personal goals are to promote STEAM education and create compelling visions of humanity’s spacefaring future.


Michelle Rouch has 30 years of engineering experience working for the Department of Defense. She served for 20 years as lead systems engineer on major weapon systems at Raytheon Missiles Systems, covering product lines for the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy, Air Force and the Army.

Rouch serves as a technical advisor on all aspects of generating reports for the customer to quantify the impacts to cost, schedule, and technical performance on several major military acquisition programs by offering the program office insight to engineering design vulnerabilities. She possesses a strong technical background in program management and systems engineering activities from Risk Reduction, Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD), Transition to Production, Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), to Full Rate Production (FRP) phases.

Rouch is also self-taught artist with over 37 years of experience combines her technical knowledge to create unique pieces of aerospace subjects. Her artwork promotes science and engineering and continues to develop new techniques to redefine aerospace art with a contemporary approach.

She is committed in giving back to the community by contributing to Boy Scouts of America, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, Wright Flight, University of Arizona, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Youth On Their Own, and many more organizations and museums. For the past 8 years her artwork has raised over $150,000 to support kids interested in Aviation.

Growing up in Kettering, Ohio for 23 years Rouch has a deep appreciation for Aviation History. She is an Aluminist with Wright State University, where she earned her first degree in Electrical Engineering and later earned a Master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from Western International University in Arizona.

Rouch serves as Chair for American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) Tucson Section and has earned first place for several years in AIAA Precollege Outreach Award for outstanding STEM K-12 Outreach Program, and offers public speaking for her STEM activities. She is a member of AIAA Society & Aerospace Technology Integration and Outreach Committee (SAT IOC), the Founder & Co-chair of the Tucson-Chapter of International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) Professional Artist, appointed Tucson Public Arts Council Board Member for District 4, was the Artist Judge for Arizona Congressional District 2 and served for 4 consecutive years. Rouch was nominated for the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards 2014-2016 and still serves as Congressional Advisor for Youth Outreach Program for Boy Scout Troop 739.


Mark Pestana, Colonel, USAF (ret), is a consulting research pilot and aerospace systems engineer, supporting NASA, FAA, and DOD. He is adjunct faculty in the Aviation Safety & Security Program at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering.

As a NASA research pilot at Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB, CA, he flew aeronautics research and global Earth science missions. He also flew remotely piloted UAVs for airspace integration research and sensor testing. He previously served at NASA Johnson Space Center as a flight crew operations engineer in the Astronaut Office, developing crew interfaces, procedures, and payload integration for the International Space Station and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

In the USAF, Col Pestana served as an orbit analyst in the NORAD Cheyenne Mtn. Complex, Colorado, and as a space operations officer with the DOD Space Test and Space Shuttle Programs. A rated Command Pilot, he logged 213 combat intelligence sorties. Col Pestana flew as a test operations pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. He’s flown over 5000 hours in over 30 aircraft types.

Col Pestana earned a BS in Natural Sciences and a USAF ROTC commission from Loyola University Los Angeles, and an MS in Systems Management/Research & Development from University of Southern California. Decorations include the Air Medal (9), Distinguished Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, and NASA Exceptional Service Medal. An award-winning aerospace artist, he’s a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and the American Society of Aviation Artists. Fourteen of his paintings are in the USAF Pentagon collection. He has the unique distinction of designing nine Space Shuttle mission patches for the astronauts. Col Pestana is a board member of the non-profit Arts, Science, and Technology Corporation, providing volunteer support and education outreach services for K-12 STEAM programs (STEM + Art). He is an AIAA Senior Member. Hobbies include backpacking, photography, and astronomy.




May 9, 2020 @ 6:00 am PDT
July 12, 2020 @ 12:00 am PDT
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AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section