News & Events


Student-Built Satellite Telescope Prepares for Space


After nearly a decade of work, a modular reconfigurable space telescope designed by students in the Ae 105 Aerospace Engineering class is nearly ready to launch. That telescope, which came to be known as AAReST (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope), was designed and built in large part by the students in the class, working in collaboration with the Surrey Space Centre in England and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. Professor Pellegrino says that the students working on AAReST have learned how to collaborate across continents and gained skills that will continue to serve them for years to come. In addition, he says, he's proud to have given several generations of aerospace students the opportunity to work on a real space mission. When the mission launches in 2019, dozens of past and present Caltech students—along with their collaborators nearby and abroad—will be watching and holding their breath to see whether their hard work pays off. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT alumni Sergio Pellegrino AAReST

Engineers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Professor Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks.[Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Soon-Jo Chung

Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition


GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]

Tags: honors GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino Michael Marshall

Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves


Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib Chris Roh postdocs

Richard B. Chapman Memorial Awards


Morgane Anne Marie Grivel advised by Professor Morteza Gharib, Kazuki Maeda advised Professor Tim Colonius, and Jason Schlup advised by Professor Guillaume Blanquart are recipients of the 2018 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Morgane's research focuses on using hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions to modify hydrodynamic flows. Jason's research utilized computational fluid dynamics to investigate the highly unstable combustion of hydrogen-air mixtures with a focus on accurate, cost-effective modeling techniques. Kazuki does research in multi-phase flow, computational fluid dynamics, and biomedical engineering. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

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Ares Rosakis Awarded the Timoshenko Medal


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, will receive the 2018 Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his pioneering work on unveiling the mechanics behind earthquakes. "Many of my mentors and scientific Idols have received this award, so I really feel especially honored and humbled to be recognized with them," Professor Rosakis says. [Caltech story] [List of award recipients]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Professor McKeon Receives Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching


Beverley J. McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, is the recipient of the 2018 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Professor Mckeon read, “she is a firm believer in the importance of having all students, regardless of their ultimate specialty, participate in laboratory coursework. Her courses serve as a solid foundation for graduate level research across disciplines, both technically and with regards to skills relevant to doctoral and industrial research. She takes tough subjects and uses her colorful approach to make the concept easy to comprehend.” [Caltech story]

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2018 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized three Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Gary Demos (BS '71, Engineering and Applied Science), Gary A. Flandro (MS '60, PhD '67, Aeronautics), and Ronald H. Willens (BS '53 Physics, MS '54 Mechanical Engineering, PhD '61 Engineering Science). Demos was recognized “for his pioneering achievement in the development of computer-generated images (CGI) for use in motion pictures, and in digital film scanning and recording.” Flandro was recognized for “his seminal contributions to the design and engineering of multi-outer-planet missions, including the Grand Tour, the course set for the epic explorations of the Voyager spacecraft.” Willens was honored for “his innovative and revolutionary contributions to advanced internet connectivity and telecommunications. He pioneered the Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) as an access server authentication and accounting protocol, which was adapted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards.” [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE alumni Gary Demos Gary Flandro Ronald Willens

Professor Ravichandran To Give 2018 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been selected to give the 2018 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Robert Henry Thurston Lecture at ASME Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in November. He has been awarded this lectureship "for pioneering contributions to mechanics of materials, particularly dynamic deformation, damage and failure, micro/nano mechanics, wave propagation, composites, active materials, cell mechanics and experimental methods.” The lecture was established by the first ASME president to provide an opportunity for leaders in engineering to give a thought provoking lecture on a subject of broad interest to engineers.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

Number One Ranking


The Caltech graduate programs in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical have been ranked first in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. [All 2018 Caltech graduate engineering rankings]

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