Aerospace Professor Named AIAA Fellow

Dr. Robert Braun, the David and Andrew Lewis Associate Professor in Space Technology in Georgia Tech's Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, has been named a Fellow by The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The distinction of 'Fellow' is bestowed by AIAA and its board of directors to members who have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology in aeronautics or astronautics. Presentation of the new Honorary Fellows and Fellows will take place at the Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 15 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington D.C.

In 1933, Orville Wright became AIAA's first Honorary Fellow and today, AIAA's Honorary Fellows and Fellows are the most respected names in the aerospace industry.

As director of Georgia Tech's Space Systems Design Laboratory, Braun leads a research and educational program focused on the design of advanced flight systems and technologies for planetary exploration. His research group has a strong emphasis in the areas of space systems engineering, systems analysis and design optimization. Recent research projects include entry, descent and landing concepts for human-Mars exploration, pinpoint landing technology assessment for robotic exploration systems, entry system architectural concepts for human return from the Moon, and engineering strategies for asteroid rendezvous and planetary defense. He is responsible for undergraduate and graduate level instruction in the areas of space systems design, astrodynamics and atmospheric entry and is the author or co-author of more than 100 technical publications in the fields of atmospheric flight dynamics, planetary exploration systems, multidisciplinary design optimization and systems engineering.

Prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty, Braun worked for sixteen years at the NASA Langley Research Center. While at NASA, he contributed to the design and operations of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Microprobe flight systems, performing analyses pertaining to Mars entry, descent and landing. He was responsible for Earth Entry Vehicle technology and flight system development efforts for the Mars Sample Return project from 1999 to 2000. From 2001 to 2003, Braun served as the Mission Architect for the ARES Mars airplane mission. In this capacity, he was responsible for balancing science, implementation risk and cost across the ARES mission architecture and managing Mars airplane technology development, including the successful ground-based and high-altitude flight test program. Braun was a member of the Aircraft Design Group at Stanford University from 1991to 1996 and developed the collaborative optimization architecture during his time there. This architecture was shown to have significant computational and operational benefits in the optimization of large, loosely coupled design problems. Since completing his initial research in this area, several university and industry groups have applied this technique in the solution of a diverse set of engineering design problems.

AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the institute serves over 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations and government.