Press Release

NASA Langley Researcher Named AIAA Engineer of the Year

By SpaceRef Editor
July 26, 2011
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HAMPTON, Va. – A pilot who helped guide NASA’s ARES I-X test rocket through its successful launch is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2011 Engineer of the Year.

Jay Brandon, a senior research engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, won the award for his leadership of the Ares I-X Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) team. The Ares I-X test rocket made a two-minute powered flight Oct. 28, 2009 and splashed down about 150 miles down range from the Kennedy Space Center – demonstrating that the new, very tall and thin design could be controlled autonomously. The flight test provided NASA with an enormous amount of data that is being used to improve the design and safety of the next generation of American spaceflight vehicles.

“With any project of this size, success hinges on far more than any one person’s effort, and we would never have been successful without the outstanding GN&C team and larger Ares I-X project team,” said Brandon, a flight dynamics engineer who has flown more than 50 types of aircraft. “Many others put in the sacrifice, sweat, and application of tremendous talents. I am honored to have been singled out – but, of course, in large part it belongs to the rest of the team.”

As AIAA 2011 Engineer of the Year Brandon, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas, will receive an engraved medal, a certificate of citation, and a rosette pin. His citation reads, “For superb technical contributions in the development of the flight control system and high-fidelity simulation of the Ares I-X, which was successfully flown on 28 October 2009.”

Brandon will be presented his award at an AIAA conference in Portland, Ore. early next month. AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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SpaceRef staff editor.