Press Release

NASA Chief Technologist Braun Receives AIAA Von Karman Award

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2011
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The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) honored NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun with the Von Karman Lectureship in Astronautics.

The award is given annually to someone who has performed notably and distinguished themselves technically in the field of astronautics. Braun was recognized for significantly advancing the understanding of the challenge of Mars entry, descent, and landing, and for the development of systems concepts and technologies enabling Martian exploration programs.

As part of the award, Braun delivered the speech “Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Technology Advancements” Thursday during the AIAA’s 49th Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Orlando. The award honors Theodore von Karman, an early astronautics pioneer responsible for breakthroughs in understanding supersonic and hypersonic airflow characterization and the value of the swept wing design.

“I am honored to be recognized by the AIAA and to speak at this year’s conference about the challenging work done by the scientists and engineers in NASA’s entry, descent and landing technical community,” Braun said. “My hope is that engineering students around the country will share in the excitement of planetary exploration, developing new technologies and advancing our nation’s forays in space. By investing in space technology, NASA makes a difference in our lives every day.”

Braun has more than 20 years experience performing design and analysis of planetary exploration systems as a member of the technical staff at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research has focused on systems’ aspects of planetary exploration, where he contributed to the design, development, test and operation of several robotic spaceflight systems.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named Braun chief technologist on Feb. 3, 2010. Braun serves as the principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning agency-wide technology policy and programs. Braun received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Penn State in 1987, M.S. in astronautics from George Washington University in 1989, and Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford in 1996.

For Braun’s complete biography, visit:

For information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.