MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


Academic Year 1996-1997 was one of considerable change for the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. On the educational side, we graduated the first students under our new SB program into a very strong job market. We also graduate our first student from the new Master of Engineering degree program after the pilot year of the offering. Our undergraduate and graduate programs were again rated by U.S. News and World Report as the top Aerospace Engineering offerings in the U.S.

The combination of Department demographics and MIT's Special Retirement Incentive Program for faculty and staff led to an unprecedented number of simultaneous retirements - 20% of the Course 16 faculty and two research staff members: Mr. Raymond Ausrotas, Prof. Eugene Covert, Prof. Shaoul Ezekiel, Prof. Walter Hollister, Prof. Jack Kerrebrock, Prof. James McCune, Prof. Thomas Sheridan, Prof. Robert Simpson, Mr. Albert Supple, Prof. Harold Wachman. Individually and collectively these colleagues represent an enormous level of accomplishment, experience, and wisdom. With their departure, Course 16 will undergo a major transition as new faculty and staff are hired in their stead. Three will continue teaching for varying periods, up to five years. Others will continue at MIT as Professors Emeritus. We will continue to enjoy their conversations and ideas.

Professors Earll Murman and Daniel Hastings stepped down as Department Head and Associate Department Head at the end of the academic year. Both will return to the active teaching and research faculty. Professors Edward Crawley and Edward Greitzer replace them.


Undergraduate Enrollment over the Last Eleven Years


% of women
% of men


A total of 256 applications were received for the Fall 1995 term. Out of this, 116 were admitted and 57 accepted the offer of admission. Enrollment for Fall 1995 included 107 S.M., 72 Ph.D., 1 EAA, 3 Meng degree candidates for a total of 183. Total minority students: 10 (4 Ph.D., 6 S.M.). Total women students: 24 (6 Ph.D., 18 S.M.). In the Spring 1996 term we received 28 applications. We admitted 9 and 5 enrolled. Four women applied, 1 was admitted, 1 enrolled. One minority application was received, zero enrolled. Enrollment for Spring 1996 included 104 S.M., 69 Ph.D., 2 Meng for a total of 175. Total women: 22 (5 Ph.D., 17 S.M.). Total minority: 10 (4 Ph.D., 6 S.M.).

Degrees Awarded

Summer(Sept. 95)

Fall (Feb. 96)

Spring (June 95)


Fall 1995
Spring 1996
MIT Fellows/Tuition Awards
Outside Fellowship
Staff Appointments

(Afrapt, Draper Fellow, RA)
Teaching Assitants & Fellows
Engineering Internship Program
Other Types of Support

(Employer, Foreign, Self)


Professor Eugene Covert was awarded the Department Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Professor Edward Crawley was appointed Head of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department.

Professor Edward Greitzer was appointed Associate Head of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department.

Professor Nesbitt Hagood received the Young Investigators Award for 1996.

Professor Wesley Harris received the following honors; 1) Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, 9/95, 2) Recipient, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, 12/95. Received the following appointments; 1) Member, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee, 1996-2000, 2) Member, American Helicopter Society (AHS) Board of Directors, 1996-1998.

Professor James Kuchar PhD thesis was selected for the RTCA Jackson Award.

Professor Paul Lagace was reelected president of ICCM (International Committee on Composite Materials).

Professor Earll M. Murman concluded a six year term as Head of the Department.

Professor Dava Newman's space flight experiment went up to the Russian Mir Space Station. The MIT experiment will assess astronaut-induced disturbances to the microgravity environment.


The Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium now includes MIT (Lead), Tufts University, Wellesley College, Harvard University, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. The Wright Center at Tufts is responsible for education of pre-college teachers in space science and engineering, through summer workshops. The Program continues to support undergraduate research through the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. It increased the number of companies involved in placing students for summer employment in the aerospace industry, supported students for the summer at the NASA Space Academy and the International Space University, and offered graduate fellowships. It sponsored a popular undergraduate seminar subject on "Modern Space Science and Engineering" with emphasis this year on humans in space and several astronaut guest speakers. The annual public lecture this year was given by Dr. Robert Seamans, Professor Emeritus, MIT, Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics.

Massachusetts Space Forum

The second meeting of the Massachusetts Space Forum was held in November 1995. The goal of the Massachusetts Space Forum is to favorably influence national planning and to stimulate regional cooperative activity in space education and business opportunities. Over 80 leaders from academia, industry and government attended the workshops and the luncheon presentation by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin.

The next Space Forum is tentatively scheduled for early Fall 1996.



In its first year, the Active Materials and Structures Laboratory (AMSL) focused on the development of innovative technologies for active control of aerospace systems. Research has covered a broad range of disciplines including materials science, structural mechanics, structural dynamics, control, and solid state actuation systems. The laboratory has coordinated multidisciplinary research programs ranging from fundamental materials microstructure investigations to helicopter control systems feasibility studies. Major research thrusts were: development of new compositions and synthesis techniques for active materials suitable for control and sensing functions; development and characterization of active fiber composite material systems suitable for structural shape and vibration control; and the establishment of new control algorithms and microelectronics hardware for distributed control architectures. Fundamental research was motivated by a variety of ongoing applications programs. AMSL, a member of the Smart Structures Rotorcraft Consortium with Boeing, has continued to work on developing actively controlled helicopter rotor blades for vibration and noise reduction. In a cooperative program with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, AMSL developed ultrasonic motors suitable for space robotics applications. The laboratory also continued to advance applications projects in the active control of structural acoustics: both far field radiated sound from panels as well as control of interior noise in aircraft. The laboratory facilities available were in active material and device characterization, static and dynamic structural testing, and real time control.


The ASL has been involved in developing advanced alerting and flight information systems for aircraft, helicopters, and spacecraft. In these efforts, the lab attempts to integrate classical aeronautical engineering disciplines of instrumentation, control, and flight dynamics with the evolving techniques of "human centered design" and cognitive engineering. The laboratory also conducts fundamental research in flight safety related areas as well as applied research on human performance in space.

The laboratory has developed rapid prototyping techniques which employ graphical workstation technology to evaluate advanced cockpit information systems. Recent or current activities include: development of general methods to set threshold criteria in alerting systems; evaluating traffic conflict detection systems for unstructured "free flight" ATC systems; understanding and mitigating errors in advanced Flight Management Systems; applications of GPS navigation systems to aircraft and portable computer systems; evaluating automatic systems for spacecraft; and increased airport capacity through close parallel approach systems as well as flight guidance methods to minimize community noise impact.


Research leading to the development of a "distributed flow simulation environment" has continued. This effort brings together various areas of expertise within the Laboratory such as Computational Fluid Dynamics, Visualization and Aerodynamics. The developed tools are being used for research, teaching and design. A new effort in the field of active flow control and aeroelasticity has also been initiated. Research continues in the areas of configuration design, aircraft wing optimization and plasma physics.


The focus for research in FTL is on automation of processes involved in air transportation - for airlines, for airport operators, and for the operators of a proposed "Global Automated Air Traffic Control" system. Research has also continued in the area of airline revenue management, with work supported by Continental Airlines, KLM and Swissair. In conjunction with the Ocean Engineering Department and the Center for Transportation Studies, FTL completed a Market Analysis study for FastShip Atlantic, a potential transportation system innovation that promises cargo delivery characteristics between existing air and ocean services. FTL is also completing a study for NASA on the economic feasibility of a very large all-cargo aircraft system.


The FDRL is active in research concerning fundamental issues in fluid dynamics and aerodynamics. Current research projects include: an experimental investigation into roughness-induced boundary layer transition; the control of turbulent boundary layers using active wall motion to reduce drag and turbulent noise generation; the development of micron-sized shear-stress, pressure and velocity sensors for measurement and control of high Reynolds number, sub- and supersonic aerodynamic flows; analysis and simulation of the mechanics of fluids in micron-sized geometries, including fluid mechanics of a micro-gas-turbine engine; the development of theoretical models for the dynamics of near-wall turbulent flows; large-scale numerical simulations of unsteady transitional and turbulent shear flows; experiments and modeling of ice accretion on airfoils.


The "micro engines" (gas turbine engines of less than a centimeter in diameter) project has just ended its first year with a very successful program review. The research involves an integrated team of investigators in diverse disciplines (as well as different departments). The project, which is under the leadership of Professor Alan Epstein, brings together researchers in gas turbine fluid mechanics and structures, high speed bearing design, microfabrication of complex turbomachinery configurations, and microgenerators, with the goal of producing a working micro gas turbine engine.

The GTL has continued the strong collaboration with industry, as a source of problems which are not only technologically relevant, but have high intellectual challenge. There is also close collaboration with the

government propulsion centers. In particular, as part of the multidisciplinary "smart engines" research, first-of-a-kind active aerodynamic stabilization (i.e., extension of the stable operating range) of a transonic axial compressor stage has been achieved, at a NASA Lewis Research Center test facility. The work was carried out by Harald Weigl, a student of Professor James Paduano, who designed and built (at MIT) a set of high bandwidth fluid injection devices for use at this facility, as well as by NASA engineers.

For the second year in a row, research at the laboratory received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Gas Turbine Award for the outstanding gas turbine paper of the year (out of over 500). Both of these papers arose from the smart engines project; the awards are a measure of the high degree of recognition this work is receiving.

On 1 June, Professor Alan Epstein became the Director of the Laboratory.


In conjunction with the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development and Sloan School faculty, and funded by the Air Force and 17 aerospace companies, the LAI project's goals are to define the major change agents in acquisition, development, manufacture and related government and supplier regimes which can dramatically improve cost, schedule and quality in the U.S. military aircraft industry. Results from over two years of research have paved the way for a number of implementation activities in industry and government, and paved the way for a second three-year phase of the project.


Results of flight experiments conducted on the Space Life Sciences 2 Spacelab mission were presented by the Man Vehicle Lab at scientific meetings in September, and five papers have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Physiology and Experimental Brain Research. The Advanced Dynamic Load Sensors Experiment is being conducted on the Russian Space Station Mir this summer and fall. A experiment for the 1998 "Neurolab" mission is now starting the active development phase. Ground based research on human spatial orientation in real and virtual

environments, tactile cueing systems continues, EVA biomechanics, and a new research initiative on artifical gravity physiology and human factors has begun. FAA sponsored flight simulator research on cockpit displays for GPS instrument approaches is underway, in collaboration with the DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge.


Active Acoustic Launch Load Alleviation

Launch loads are the prime driver for spacecraft structural design. Reduction of these loads allows the opportunity to use more off-the-shelf and lighter weight components in the spacecraft, thereby reducing costs. While payload isolation is a fairly well developed field, acoustic load alleviation has not received much attention. Several steps are required to alleviate acoustic launch loads: 1. Understand and develop models of the interaction of the payload, enclosed fairing, and enclosed and external acoustics. 2. Develop distributed actuators and sensors that allow modification of the enclosed acoustic field. 3. Formulate control laws which make use of the developed models, sensors, and actuators to significantly reduce acoustic loads transmitted to the payload. The Active Acoustic Launch Load Alleviation team is pursuing each of these goals.

Middeck Active Control Experiment (MACE)

MACE was successfully completed on the STS-67 in March of 1995. Preparations for flight included finalizing the 0-g finite element model, designing on-orbit identification experiments, and design of pre-programmed controllers using the 0-g finite element model. These activities were carried out for 2 configurations of the MACE test article. The experiment collected invaluable data ,three types of protocols were implemented during the flight, identification, control, and input shaping. Flight operations went much better than expected, with 14 days of on-orbit test time instead of 6. Post-flight analysis of the several gigabytes of sensor/actuator data, as well as the more than 50 hours of video, is currently taking place and will continue to occur for a long time to come.

MIT Program in Smart Composite Structures

A fundamental technology development program in smart structures is underway involving multidisciplinary collaboration between the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics (SERC), and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The program, funded by the Army Research Office, attempts to achieve the goals of high authority/ high strength actuation and highly distributed integrated processing within the constraints of manufacturability and strength. The program achieves this goal through the development of a smart composite system composed of 1) an actuation layer incorporating both passive structural fibers and active high strain electroceramic fibers embedded in a high dielectric epoxy matrix 2) etched inter laminar electrodes which create in-plane electric field without compromising structural integrity and act as a 3) flexible circuit board back plane for a distributed microelectronics control system. The program encompasses Materials Research, Mechanics Research, and Electronics and Controls Research.

System Integration-Evolution Testbed

SIET is a proposal to provide a systems focus for the development and integration of existing and new technology into a constellation of small identical satellites. This consists of a coherent series of ground hardware testbeds and concurrent space flights that provide clear milestones to access progress. The testbed will consist of one or more "satellites" that will allow the evaluation of various control methodologies, communications technologies, measurement systems, attitude and modeled propulsion systems. It will allow single satellite station keeping and attitude control as well as multi satellite array formation and steering. Currently Task A has been funded and begins July 1, 1995.

Active Wing

The MIT/NASA Langley Active Wing has as its main objective the demonstration of new actuation technology for the suppression of vibrations and stabilization of transport aircraft wings. This project applies these new actuation techniques with state-of-the-art control designs to improve the gust response of a wing for both load alleviation and ride comfort. Made of a graphite/epoxy composite laminate, it has piezoelectric actuation packages distributed on the spar from the root to roughly 60% of the spar length. This spar construction is covered with a segmented aerodynamic shell to provide more realistic aerodynamics. Further investigations into methods of improving the performance are being conducted currently.


The Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory (SPPL) has been absorbed by the newly formed Space Systems Laboratory (SSL). The Propulsion activity has continued to focus on various aspects of Electric Propulsion and space mission planning. A very small (50W) Hall thruster has been designed and built, and will shortly undergo preliminary tests. Theoretical work has continued on alkali-seeded hydrogen arcjets, which offers high efficiency potential at moderate specific impulses; both, 2-D numerical simulation, and ionization/electrothermal stability analysis are being pursued. Hall thruster PIC models have been extended and refined, and will soon be applied to guide design efforts at BUSEK, Inc. A program of experimental probing of internal plasma properties in Hall thrusters has been initiated in cooperation with NASA Lewis R.C. The Gamma Ray Burst mission being prepared in cooperation with the Center for Space Research has evolved to an all-chemical propulsion architecture, involving an Ariane 5 ASAP launch; this will yield lower mission costs than the earlier Electric Propulsion version, and was made possible through trajectory studies performed by one of SPPL's graduate students (Chris McLain). A proposal was prepared by a NASA-Industry-University team, including MIT's SPPL, to develop electrodynamic tethers for the International Space Station; the tethers would provide either/or 5-10 kW of emergency-supplementary power, or use a similar amount of on-board power to provide of drag make-up thrust. MIT would be co-lead with the SAO in the definition phases of both, a 2-year demonstration flight phase, and a longer prototype and operational phases. Finally, a systems study is being completed of a future gaseous core nuclear rocket in which the strong vortex flow required for containment is provided by MHD forces using electricity generated on-board from the reactor's waste heat.


The Space Systems Laboratory (SSL), part of the Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was founded in 1995. The SSL has the mission of developing the technology and systems analysis associated with small spacecraft, precision optical systems, and International Space Station technology research and development. The laboratory encompasses expertise in structural dynamics, control, thermal, space power, propulsion, MEMS, software development and systems. A major activity in this laboratory is the development of small spacecraft thruster systems as well as looking at issues associated with the distribution of function among satellites. In addition, technology is being developed for spaceflight validation in support of a new class of space-based telescope which exploits the physics of interferometry to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in angular resolution. The objective of the Laboratory is to explore innovative concepts for the integration of future space systems and to train a generation of researchers and engineers conversant in this field.

Space Flight Programs

The SSL has conducted an exciting series of Space Shuttle technology experiments starting with the flight of the Middeck 0-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE) which flew on STS-48 in September, 1991 to investigate truss structure and fluid slosh dynamics in micro-gravity. The Middeck Active Control Experiment (MACE) flew on STS-67 in March of 1995 to explore advanced control concepts for attitude and instrument pointing control on future spacecraft. The Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) experiment flew on STS-62 to acquire the most comprehensive database on the effect of crew push-off loads on the micro-gravity environment of ISS. Reflight of DLS will occur in 1996 when it will be made a permanent facility on the Russian Space Station MIR. The SSL was a co-Investigator on the Shuttle Wake Shield facility and on the SAMPIE experiment on STS-62 which studied high voltage solar cells. The SSL also has experience with free-flying experiments. The SSL was a co-Investigator on BMDO's AMASS program to demonstrate active solar panel damping. The SSL has also teamed with the M.I.T. Center for Space Research to study.he ETA series of satellites for interferometric detection of gamma bursts.

Laboratory Facilities

Several world-class facilities comprise the SSL. The Middeck Active Control Experiment (MACE) facility provides students, staff and faculty with a state-of-the-art facility for the conduct of structural system identification and control experiments. The high bay, clean room environment accommodates a low frequency electric-pneumatic suspension system, signal processing data analyzers, and several realtime computers for LTI and adaptive control. The Interferometry facility consists of the testbeds and support equipment necessary for conducting nanometer and sub-arcsecond phasing and pointing control commensurate with the needs of space-based visible interferometry. Testbeds include a 3.5 meter tetrahedral truss structure and a pointing-phasing optics bench. Support equipment includes laser interferometers, delay lines, is a state-of-the-art computational facility for studies ranging from orbital mechanics to rarefied gas dynamics.siderostats, piezoelectric actuators, realtime computers, and miscellaneous optics. The ASTROVAC facility provides a 10-5 torr quality vacuum test chamber with a diameter of 12 feet and a height of 16 feet. Thermal, free-fall, clean room, and metrology capabilities are also provided. The CASL facility

Program Participations

The SSL is a member of NASA's Small Satellite Technology Initiative (SSTI), New Millennium Program, and International Space Station Technology Testbed Program. The Laboratory also has ties with the M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory, NASA Langley, JPL and the Air Force Phillips Laboratory as well as the Departments of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. and aerospace industries such as Draper, TRW, Lockheed-Martin, MDA and Hughes.


Over 30 students were involved with TELAC during AY 95-96 including 15 graduate students, 15 UROPers, and a number of students in 16.621/2 who performed their projects in TELAC. Two students finished their master's theses in the laboratory during this period. The laboratory issued a total of 14 reports during this period including a number accepted for publication in journals and proceedings. Laboratory personnel participated in conferences at the national and international level giving a total of 7 presentations. Included in these was a paper given by Mark Spearing at the biannual International Conference on Composite Materials held in Whistler, Canada in August where a new approach to the design of composite structures was introduced by the laboratory faculty. This philosophy had been developed by the laboratory faculty over the past several years and included discussions with government, industry and academic colleagues as well as the students at TELAC. Other major research accomplishments during the year include the development and verification of a universally-applicable nondimensional parameter to characterize the nonlinear response of pressurized cylinders at notches; achievement of an understanding of the bulging phenomenon in the damage arrest of metallic and composite pressurized cylinders (e.g. fuselages); continued extension of the understanding of impact behavior in composite structures, particularly in regard to shell configurations; development of an approach to consider probabilistic effects in the design of composite structures, particularly multifunctional ones; and development of an approach, using design diagrams, for the design of reliable layered materials. Through the generosity of the Instron Corporation, the Institute (through the Sloan fund), and NSF, the laboratory was able to make a major upgrade to its testing facilities. This includes retrofits of modern electronic controls on two existing large (100 kip) machines and the addition of two smaller machines (22 kip and 55 kip) along with associated equipment for high temperature testing. Refurbishment (software and hardware) of the current data acquisition and analysis equipment accompanied this effort.


The primary test activites fell into two classes. The first is the use of the wind tunnel for educational purposes. In the past year there were 16.621-16.622 projects:

These tests used 31.75 wind on hours.

The second were commercial use of the wind tunnel to determine wind loads and pedestrian level winds for proposed construction in Boston.

The other use was for calibration of Second Wind Anemometer.

The commercial testing used 69.25 wind on hours.



The James Means Memorial Award "for excellence in flight vehicle engineering" was given to Alex Y. Lee, a senior from Ontario, Canada; and to Sherwin S. Chen, a senior from Roslyn, N.Y.

The James Means Memorial Award "for excellence in space systems engineering" was given to Malinda K. Lutz, a senior from La Palma, CA; Robert L. Stephenson, Jr., a senior from Tellico Plains, TN; and Tresa V. Vidayathil, a senior from New City, N.Y.

The Henry Webb Salisbury Award "for achieving academic excellence in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics" was given to Dennis A. Burianek, a senior from Bremerton, WA; and Corinne R. Ilvedson, a senior from Auburn, WA.

The Admiral Luis De Florez Prize "for original thinking or ingenuity" was awarded to five students in the department. They are--Atif I. Chaudry, a senior from Greenwich, CT; Kerem Limon, a junior from Istanbul, Turkey; Peter S. Lively, a junior from Gaithersburg, MD; Jason Prest, a senior from Vero Beach, FL; and Craig A. Zimmerman, a senior from Big Lake, MN.

The Andrew G. Morsa Memorial Award was given to Jason C. Bunn, a senior from Manalapan, NJ; and Sherwin S. Chen, "for demonstrating ingenuity and initiative in the application of computers to the field of aeronautics and astronautics".

The Unified Engineering Award was given to Kei Y. Tang, a graduate student from Wilmette, IL, "for outstanding devotion to and leadership of the team of student assistance in Unified Engineering".

Takayuki Kohata (Taka) a sophomore from Yokohama-shi, Japan, is the recipient of the Yngve K. Raustein Memorial Award, "as the student in Unified Engineering who best exemplifies the spirit of the Norwegian Yngve Raustein, and for significant achievement in Unified Engineering."

The David J. Shapiro Memorial Award was given to Akwasi A. Apori, a sophomore from Houston, TX, for "foreign travel for the enhancement of scientific/technical studies by an undergraduate student in Aeronautics and Astronautics".

The Apollo Program Prize "for the best undergraduate research project on the subject of humans in space" was awarded to Patricia B. Schmidt, a senior from Biloxi, MS.

The General James H. Doolittle Scholarship was received by Christian L. Anderson, a junior from Cody, WY, for his "excellent academic record and breadth of interests."

The John F. McCarthy Jr. Scholarship was received by Dennis A. Burianek for his "superior scholarship achievement...".

The James E. Cunningham Scholarship was received by Corinne R. Ilvedson for her "superior scholarship achievement..."

The Boeing Company gave scholarships to Dennis A. Burianek, and to Tan T. Trinh, a senior from Lafayette, LA, for their "excellent work in the Summer 95 Internship Program."


Three graduate students were selected as the Departmental Teaching Fellows.

Leonard Lublin 16.060 Charles Stark Draper Teaching Fellow

Kei Y. Tang Unified Raymond Bisplinghoff Teaching Fellow

Sanjay Vakil 16.83 Jerome C. Hunsaker Teaching Fellow


The Aero/Astro Department is faced with a unique opportunity: the ability to reinvent itself.

In the coming year the department will conduct a broad ranging and thorough strategic planning exercise to develop a new mission statement, make plans for initiatives in education, teaching and leadership. We intend to do this with a strong eye to the competitive positioning of our department - what will be our markets in the future? Who will be our competitors? What must we do to be number 1?

The process will identify the educational and research areas MIT should be in, and then work with other MIT organizations and departments to identify how to best organize to meet these needs.

From this plan will flow staffing, budget and resource development plans for the next five years.

Edward F. Crawley
Edward M. Greitzer

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96