New Mars exploration technologies topic of annual H.S. Stillwell lecture
Over the past 20 years, there have been significant advances in landing scientific payloads on the surface of Mars. These advances are largely from continued evolution and refinement of Viking-era spaceflight technology. According to Robert D. Braun, in this past decade, a suite of new entry, descent, and landing technologies has been matured and is rapidly approaching readiness for mission infusion. Braun is the Smead professor of space technology and dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and this year’s speaker for the H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture.
This year’s lecture, hosted by the University of Illinois’ Department of Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering, is on Monday, Sept. 24, at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium on the first floor (room 1122) of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana, Illinois.
The title of Braun’s presentation is “Entry, Descent and Landing Technology Investments to Enable a New Era of Mars Exploration.”
According to Braun, his presentation will provide an overview of present entry, descent, and landing capabilities and discuss the basis for this set of technology investments. Looking forward, the benefit of these technology investments will be characterized in terms of the potential future missions that may soon be possible. Although Mars exploration will be the focus of this talk, the application of some of these same technologies to science missions to other planetary bodies and a variety of Earth-based applications will also be discussed.
Braun is a recognized authority in the development of entry, descent, and landing systems and the advancement of space technology. He has contributed to the formulation, development, and operation of multiple space flight missions. In January 2017, Braun became dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.
From 2003 to 2016, he served as a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he led the Space Systems Design Laboratory and founded the Center for Space Technology and Research. Prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty, Braun was a member of the technical staff of the NASA Langley Research Center for 16 years. He served as the NASA chief technologist in 2010 and 2011.
Braun is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, vice chair of the National Academies Space Studies Board, a Fellow of the AIAA and AAS, and the author or co-author of over 300 technical publications in the fields of atmospheric flight dynamics, planetary exploration, design optimization, and systems engineering. He received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Penn State, an M.S. in astronautics from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University.
The H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture was established in honor of Professor H.S. (Shel) Stillwell. In 1944, when he was 27 years old, Professor Stillwell founded the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and served as department head for 32 years. Professor Stillwell was influential in the design of the first ramjet-powered missile and highly respected for his contributions to aerospace engineering education.