Honors & Awards

Below is a list of honors and awards earned by SSDL students and faculty.

2016

  • Prof. Marcus J. Holzinger received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award for his proposal titled "Dynamic Data Driven Electro-Optical Sensor Detection, Tracking, and Multi-Objective Control”
  • AAS 15-748, "Analytical Assessment of Drag-Modulation Trajectory Control for Planetary Entry with Application to Real-Time Guidance," authored by SSDL researchers Zach Putnam and Robert Braun was named as the best paper from the 2015 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference.
  • An AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets article co-authored by Professor Braun and Robert Manning of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was named as one of the four most-cited articles published by the journal between 2005 and 2010. Mars Exploration Entry, Descent and Landing Challenges documents previous Mars entry, descent, and landing systems and demonstrates the benefits of potential technologies in increasing landed performance for future robotic and human exploration missions. AIAA has made the top four articles from this timeframe available for free download at http://arc.aiaa.org/page/topcitedarticles​

​2015

  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Hisham Ali who was selected in September 2015 to receive an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation PhD Fellowship.
  • In May 2015, at the American Astronautical Society conference Astronauts and Robots: Partners in Space Science and Exploration in Pasadena CA, Professor Braun received the inaugural AAS Space Technology Award "for extraordinary contributions in technology to enable the landing of vehicles on other planets, and for creating NASA technology development programs designed to build our nation's future space capabilities and solve grand societal challenges on Earth."
  • Congratulations to SSDL alumnus Ian Clark who was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Council of Outstanding Young Alumni in May 2015. Ian received this honor for his efforts at JPL as the principal investigator of NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project. Ian earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering in August 2009, performing this research in SSDL.
  • Congratulations to SSDL alumnus and Purdue University Professor Michael Grant who was recognized for excellence in teaching with the 2015 School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Elmer F. Bruhn Best Teacher Award as voted upon by the Purdue undergraduates. This is the second teaching award Mike has received since joining the Purdue faculty in 2012. He earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering in May 2012, performing this research in SSDL.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student, Francesca Favaro, who was awarded the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship for the second time in three years.
  • Congratulations to SSDL professor, Dr. Joseph H. Saleh, who was recognized by the Journal of Engineering Design for his 2009 article, "Flexibility:a Multi-disciplinary Literature Review and a Research Agenda for Designing Flexible Engineering Systems" as the fourth most read and cited paper in the journal's archives.
  • In January 2015, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) announced the selection of SSDL Professor E. Glenn Lightsey into the 2015 Class of AIAA Fellows. AIAA confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics. AIAA is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, serving a diverse range of more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and 95 corporate members.
  • Professor Robert D. Braun has been selected by the California Institute of Technology for its  Moore Distinguished Scholar Program. Professor Braun will begin residency on the Pasadena campus in January 2015, returning to Georgia Tech in the Fall 2015 semester. While at Caltech, Professor Braun will have research and teaching responsibilities.

2014

  • Congratulations to SSDL undergraduate research scholar, Veronica Foreman, who was named the 2014 Undergraduate Woman of Distinction at the Women's Leadership Conference held at Georgia Tech on Saturday, October 25. Veronica was one of 5 women honored for her accomplishments and was awarded a $1000 scholarship.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Hisham Ali who received a best poster award at the 11th International Planetary Probe Workshop in Pasadena, CA in June 2014 for his poster entitled, "In Situ Magnetohydrodynamic Energy Generation for Planetary Entry Vehicles."
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Zach Putnam who was awarded the Best Student Paper at the 2014 AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference in June 2014. His paper, AIAA 2014-2381, is entitled, "Extension and Enhancement of the Allen-Eggers Analytic Solution for Ballistic Entry Trajectories." This is the second Atmospheric Flight Mechanics best student paper won by an SSDL student in 2014 and the sixth such award since 2007.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate students Dave Blette, Sean Chait and Adam Sidor who were each competitively awarded a 2014 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship.
  • Congratulations to SSDL undergraduate researcher, Veronica Foreman, who was named by the Georgia Tech College of Engineering as an Outstanding AE Undergraduate Researcher. This is the first time that an SSDL undergraduate student has received this award.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate students Andris Jaunzemis and Johnny Worthy III who were competitively selected for 2014 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Chris Cordell who was awarded the Best Atmospheric Flight Mechanics paper at the 2014 AIAA Science and Technology Forum (January 2014 at the National Harbor, MD). His paper, AIAA 2014-1093, is entitled, "An Analytic Approach to Modeling Supersonic Retropropulsion Flow Field Components." This is the fifth time in the last seven years that an SSDL student has won an AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics best paper award.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Robert D. Braun, David and Andrew Lewis Professor of Space Technology who was recently elected as a member of The National Academy of Engineering(NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education. Dr. Braun was elected for significant contributions to space exploration and technologies for entering planetary atmospheres from space.

2013

  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate students Hisham Ali, Alexandra Long and Peter Schulte who were each competitively awarded a 2013 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship.
  • Based on his campus activities and contributions made to the aerospace industry, Kip Hart was selected by Aviation Week & Space Technology as one of the magazine's twenty 20s. Kip will receive this award on November 14 in a ceremony at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • In just his second year on the faculty of Purdue University, Professor Michael Grant was awarded the W.A. Gustafson Award for Outstanding Teaching. The recipient of this award is selected by the juniors and seniors of the Purdue AAE student body. Mike earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering in May 2012, performing this research in SSDL.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Lin Li who was competitively selected for a 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Soumyo Dutta who was awarded the 2013 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship by the National Space Club for his work in the development of advanced estimation techniques with application to entry, descent and landing system performance and vehicle design. This award was presented during the Club's annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, a black tie event on Friday, March 22 in Washington, D.C. Soumyo is the second SSDL student in four years to receive this honor.
  • Congratulations to Professor Spencer and the Prox-1 team who won this year's University Nanosat Program competition sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Georgia Tech Prox-1 mission is designed to demonstrate automated trajectory control in low-Earth orbit relative to a deployed CubeSat. This spacecraft has been designed, fabricated and tested by a team of undergraduate and graduate students who will also be responsible for mission operations. As the winner of the UNP-7 competition, the Prox-1 mission will receive an Air Force launch slot (likely in 2015) as a secondary payload.

2012

  • SSDL graduate student Milad Mahzari received the Sam Nunn Security Fellowship for 2012-2013.
  • SSDL alumnus Luke Walker received first place in the 20th annual Frank J. Redd Student Scholarship Competition at the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah on August 15, 2012. Luke's paper is entitled "Automated Proximity Operations Using Image-Based Relative Navigation." His work focuses on the development of an automated navigation system for orbital proximity operations using continuous thrust propulsion and passive visible and infrared imaging. His research has been developed under the advisement of Prof. David Spencer as part of the Prox-1 University Nanosat project within the Center for Space Systems and the Space Systems Design Laboratory. Luke received a $10,000 award along with this honor.

Luke at Small Sat

  • Aerospace Engineering and SSDL alumnus Dr. Ian Clark was recognized with a Presidential Early Career Award for exceptional leadership and achievement in the pursuit of advanced entry, descent and landing technologies and techniques for space exploration missions. Dr. Clark's Ph.D. research at Georgia Tech focused on the Aerodynamic Design, Analysis and Validation of a Supersonic Inflatable Decelerator. This research led directly to the NASA Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project for which he is now the Principle Investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ian is one of six individuals associated with NASA to receive this award in 2012. This is highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of careers.

Ian with President Obama

  • Professor Braun was awarded the 2012 Alvin Seiff Memorial Award at the 9th International Planetary Probe Workshop for contributions to space science and technology. This award is bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to the technology, science, and mission planning of atmospheric entry probe missions that advance the knowledge of planets or moons in the solar system, and the mentoring of young engineers and scientists in these fields.
  • SSDL graduate students Keir Gonyea, Amit Mandalia and Grant Rossman were selected as part of the 2012 class of NASA Space Technology Research Fellows.
  • Professor Braun delivered the College of Engineering commencement address at the Pennsylvania State University on May 4.
  • SSDL graduate student Rachel Haga was awarded the Sigma Xi Best Undergraduate Research Award in March 2012 for research completed in 2011.

2011

  • Professor Braun was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal by NASA's Administrator Dr. Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver on September 21, 2011. This honor is the highest award which may be bestowed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on behalf of the United States of America. The citation that accompanies this award reads, "In recognition of distinguished service in fostering cultural change, the advancement of crosscutting technology, and innovative approaches within NASA and the Government."
  • SSDL graduate students Nicole Bauer, Cole Kazemba, Demyan Lantukh, and Zach Putnam were awarded NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships.
  • SSDL graduate student Som Dutta received the Sam Nunn Security Fellowship.
  • The AIAA honored Professor Braun with the Von Karman Lectureship in Astronautics on January 6, 2011. 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.

2010

  • SSDL graduate student Mike Grant and his co-authors were awarded the Best Atmospheric Flight Mechanics paper at the 2010 AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference (August 2010 in Toronto, Canada). His paper, AIAA 2010-7810, is entitled, "Rapid Entry Corridor Trajectory Optimization for Conceptual Design," and was conducted in collaboration with personnel at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. This is the fourth consecutive year that an SSDL student has won an AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics best paper award and the third such award for Mike.
  • SSDL graduate student Kevin Bokelmann received the NASA GSRP Fellowship.
  • SSDL graduate student Ashley Korzun was awarded the AIAA Foundation Open Topic Graduate Award for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • SSDL graduate student Grant Wells was awarded 3rd place in the IPPW-7 Poster Competition.
  • SSDL graduate student Ashley Korzun was awarded the 2010 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Scholarship by the National Space Club for her work in the development of entry, descent and landing technologies for advanced planetary exploration.
  • Professor Braun was named NASA's Chief Technologist on February 3, 2010. In this capacity, he will serve as the NASA Administrator's principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning Agency-wide technology policy and programs. He will also develop an advanced space systems concepts and technology development program leading to new approaches to future NASA missions and solutions to significant national needs.

2009

Mike with Boeing Engineering Student of the Year Award

  • Professor David Spencer was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in June 2009 for his work as Deputy Project Manager of the Phoenix Mars Scout mission.
  • SSDL graduate student Mike Grant and his co-authors were awarded the Best Atmospheric Flight Mechanics paper at the 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting (January 2009 in Orlando, FL). His paper, AIAA 2009-0522, is entitled, "Smart Divert - A New Entry, Descent and Landing Architecture," and was conducted in collaboration with personnel at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. This is the third consecutive year that an SSDL student has won an AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics best paper award and the second such award for Mike.
  • SSDL graduate student Zarrin Chua was awarded a NASA Graduate Student Research Program fellowship from the NASA Johnson Space Center.

2008

  • Dr. Saleh has been named an AIAA Associate Fellow.
  • SSDL graduate student Jarret Lafleur was awarded first place in the AIAA student paper competition at this year's Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit (August 2008 in Honolulu, HI). His paper, AIAA 2008-6213, is entitled, "Mars Entry Bank Profile Design for Terminal State Optimization," and reports on research he conducted in collaboration with personnel at the NASA Johnson Space Center. This is the second consecutive year that an SSDL student has won this AIAA award.
  • SSDL graduate students Jarrett Lafleur and Ashley Korzun were awarded first and second place in the student paper competition at the 6th International Planetary Probe Workshop in June 2008.
  • Ian Clark, Allison Hutchings, Chris Tanner and Robert Braun received the Best Paper Award at the 2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference for their paper entitled, "Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators for Use on Future Robotic Missions to Mars."
  • The Georgia Tech Pharos team of Jonathan Sharma, Jarret Lafleur, Jillian Apa, Kreston Barron, Nilesh Shah, and Jonathan Townley was awarded 1st place and $5,000 in thePlanetary Society's Apophis Mission Design Competition for their design of a mission and flight system to rendezvous with the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. This competition received 37 mission proposals from 20 countries on 6 continents. Dr. Braun and Dr. Saleh served as the team's class instructors.
  • Professor Ryan Russell and Adam Brinckerhoff received the Best Paper Award at the January 2008 AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting in Galveston, TX for the paper entitled, "Eccentric Orbits around Planetary Moons," AAS 08-181.

2007

  • SSDL graduate research assistant Richard Otero received the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
  • A Georgia Tech team of Kristina Alemany, Nittin Arora, Michael Grant, Sachin Jain, Gregory Lantoine, Richard Otero, Benjamin Stahl, Bradley Steinfeldt, and Grant Wells, led by Professor Ryan Russell, earned third place in the 3rd Global Trajectory Optimization Competition. This yearly competition pits the best minds in orbital mechanics on a difficult interplanetary mission design problem requiring a globally optimum solution. The 2007 competition focused on design of a low-thrust, multiple near-Earth asteroid rendezvous mission with return to the Earth. Twenty-six teams, including many from professional organizations, declared their intent to enter this competition. First place was won by CNES, second place by JPL. Congratulations to the entire Georgia Tech student team.
  • Dr. Braun has been named an AIAA Fellow.
  • SSDL graduate student Mike Grant was awarded first place in the AIAA student paper competition at this year's Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit (August 2007 in Hilton Head, SC). His paper, AIAA 2007-6393, is entitled, "Mars Science Laboratory Entry Optimization Using Particle Swarm Methodology," and reports on research he conducted in collaboration with personnel at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
  • SSDL graduate students Ian Clark, John Theisinger, and Chris Tanner and SSDL undergraduate student Amanda Verges each won student paper or poster awards at the 5th International Planetary Probe Workshop in Bordeaux, France.
  • The Georgia Tech Heavy MEDL team of Chris Tanner, Mike Grant, Shawn Johnson, Kathy Goben and Ryan Mitchell was awarded first place in the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program University Student Competition on the subject of Mars entry, descent and landing. Dr. Braun and Dr. Cruz served as the team's class instructors.
  • The Georgia Tech Mars Heavy-Payload Entry, Descent and Landing Team of Ashley Korzun, Greg Dubos, Curtis Iwata, Ben Stahl and John Quicksall was awarded third place in the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program University Student Competition on the subject of Mars entry, descent and landing. Dr. Braun and Dr. Cruz served as the team's class instructors.
  • The Georgia Tech Pharos Team of Jillian Apa, Kreston Barron, Jarret Lafleur, Nilesh Shah, Jonathan Sharma and Jonathan Townley was awarded 2nd place in the NASA ESMD Space Grant Systems Engineering Paper Competition for their mission and flight system concept to explore the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. Dr. Braun and Dr. Saleh served as the team's class instructors.
  • The Georgia Tech South Team of Kevin Flaherty, Mike Grant, Ashley Korzun, Ben Stahl and Brad Steinfeldt was awarded third place in the NASA ESMD Space Grant Systems Engineering Paper Competition for their human Mars mission architecture. Dr. Wilhite served as the team's class instructor.
  • The Georgia Tech ASTI Team of Amanda Verges, Adam Maser, Matt Panaro, Bala Radharamanan, and Masa Yano was awarded 1st place in the 2007 AIAA Undergraduate Space Systems Design Competition for their mission and flight system concept to explore the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. Dr. Braun and Dr. Saleh served as the team's class instructors.

2006

  • Grant Wells was awarded first place honors in the 2006 SAIC student paper competition for his work entitled, "Mars Entry Descent and Landing Parametric Trades."
  • SSDL graduate research assistant John Christian received the AIAA Willy Z. Sadeh Award in Space Engineering and Space Sciences.
  • SSDL graduate research assistant Kevin Flaherty received the DOD SMART Fellowship.
  • SSDL graduate research assistant Ashley Korzun received the NASA GSRP Fellowship.
  • SSDL undergraduate student Jarret Lafleur was named to the 2006 USA Today All-Academic Team and earned an AIAA Foundation Scholarship.
  • The Georgia Tech team of John Christian, Chris Tanner, John Theisinger, Patrick Satyshur, Gregory Lantoine, Greg Dubos, and Ryan Mitchell was awarded 2nd place in the NASA/USRA RASC-AL National Design Competition (Graduate Division) for their Human Mars Outpost.
  • SSDL graduate research assistant Kristina Alemany received the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
  • The SSDL softball team won the Georgia Tech intramural graduate league softball championship.
  • Jarret Lafleur and Amanda Verges, undergraduate research scholars, were awarded 2nd place in the 2006 AIAA Southeast Regional Undergraduate Paper Competition for their paper entitled, "Parachutes and Propulsive Descent of Human Mars Exploration."
  • Honors & Awards: 2005
  • The Georgia Tech Archer Mars Scout Team won the Forum Favorite Award in the NASA/USRA RASC-AL National Design Competition (Undergraduate Division).
  • The Georgia Tech Reusable Launch Vehicle Space Tourism Team was awarded 2nd place in the NASA/USRA RASC-AL National Design Competition (Graduate Division).
  • Jarret Lafleur, undergraduate research scholar, was selected for an Astronaut Scholarship.
  • Kevin Flaherty and Amanda Verges, undergraduate research scholars, were selected for Georgia Tech Presidential Undergraduate Research Awards.
  • Honors & Awards: 2004
  • The Georgia Tech Cadmus Europa Lander Team was awarded 1st place in the NASA/USRA RASC-AL National Design Competition (Undergraduate Division).
  • The Georgia Tech Advanced Hypersonic Spaceplane Team of James Young, Kristina Alemany, Devin Kipp, and J.D. Reeves was awarded 1st place in the NASA/USRA RASC-AL National Design Competition (Graduate Division).