MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The academic year 1997-98 was a rebuilding and refocusing year for the department. In the wake of the retirement of eight senior faculty in June 1996, the Department prepared a detailed extensive strategic plan. The result was a reaffirmation of our focus on the intellectually and industrially robust field of aerospace, coupled with a commitment to redirect the intellectual basis of the Department to set and serve the directions of this industry. The new vision of the department which emerges is one which stands on three broad disciplinary bases: the traditional engine and airframe disciplines; the disciplines of real time system critical aerospace information engineering; and the disciplines required to architect and engineer extremely complex systems.

During AY 97-98 our strategic plan was embraced by the administration and corporation, and we began implementation. Searches for three faculty in the aerospace information area were conducted, and an important relationship was developed with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. We launched a reform of our educational programs intellect to make the conception, design, implementation and operation of systems the engineering context of our education. Other Implementation teams focused on education, research and our System Architecture and Engineering thrust.

One faculty member was added, Professor J.P. Clarke in Humans and Automation. Professor Sheila Widnall returned to the faculty after serving four years as the Secretary of the Air Force. Professor Daniel Hastings is on leave as the Chief Scientist of the Air Force. Student enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate level was steady, and research activities increased markedly.


Undergraduate Enrollment over the Last Twelve Years






































































% of















% of














Under. Min.


A total of 235 applications were received for the Fall, 1998 term. Out of this, 127 were admitted and 58 accepted the offer of admission. Enrollment for Fall, 1997 included 124 S.M., 63 Doctoral., 2 EAA, 10 MEng degree candidates for a total of 211. Total minority students: 9 (3 Doctoral., 5 S.M., 1 MEng). Total women students: 31 (6 Doctoral, 24 S.M., 1 MEng.). In the Spring, 1998 term we received 17 applications. We admitted 7 and 4 enrolled. One women applied, 1 was admitted, 1 enrolled. Zero minority applications were received. Enrollment for Spring, 1998 included 119 S.M., 63 Doctoral, 2 EAA, 12 MEng for a total of 196. Total women: 29 (8 Doctoral, 21 S.M.). Total minority: 8 (2 Doctoral, 4 S.M., 2 MEng.).

Degrees Awarded






Summer (Sept. 97)






Fall (Feb. 98)






Spring (June 98)













FALL, 1997

SPRING, 1998

MIT Fellows/Tuition Awards



Outside Fellowship



Staff Appointments

(Draper Fellow, RA)



Teaching Assistants & Fellows



Engineering Internship Program



Other Types of Support

(Employer, Foreign, Self)







Prof. Edward Crawley became a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Dan Frey received an R&D 100 award for a set of analytical techniques useful in analyzing variation in machining processes.

Prof. Steven Hall has been named the first Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Fellow. The fellowship was endowed by the Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Fund, established in 1994 to honor Professor Bisplinghoff, former Head of the Department and Dean of the School of Engineering.

The fund was established to promote leadership and innovation in aeronautics and astronautics research and education by providing initiation funds to outstanding mid-career faculty in the department who exemplify Dr. Bisplinghoff's spirit of exploration.

During his three-year fellowship, Professor Hall will investigate innovative teaching methods and the use of technology to improve classroom effectiveness. He plans to conduct a trial of selected technologies, and if the results are favorable, to develop a plan to move the technology into the department's teaching program. Professor Hall received the SB (1980), the SM (1982) and the ScD (1985) from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics. His main research interests are the control of flexible structures, andhelicopter rotor dynamics, especially using piezoelectric actuators.

Prof. R. John Hansman received the 1998 Bose Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, and the FAA Excellence in Aviation Research Award for NASA/FAA Joint University Program (with Princeton and Ohio Univ).

Prof. Paul Lagace received the L. P. Coombes Award from the Institute of Engineers in Australia, and delivered the L. P. Coombes Lecture in July, 1997.

Prof. James Paduano received the 1997 Best Paper Award from the Controls and Diagnostics Committee of the International Gas Turbine Institute, for the paper "Active Stabilization of Rotating Stall and Surge in a Transonic Single Stage Axial Compressor", ASME Paper 97-GT-411, by H.G. Weigl, J. D. Paduano, L. G. Frechette, A. H. Epstein, E. M. Greitzer, M. M. Bright, and A. J. Strazisar.

Prof. Jaime Peraire received three awards:

D.Sc. from the University of Wales, UK, July 1997.

NASA Exceptional Award for work on "STARS - Structural Analysis Routines", October 1997.

First recipient of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM) "Young Investigators in Computational Mechanics" Award, May 1998.

Prof. Thomas Sheridan was awarded the Rufus Oldenburger Medal (for contributions in control engineering) by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) during the current period.

Prof. Mark Spearing was appointed to the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professorship in May. He was also re-elected as Chairman of the AIAA Materials Technical Committee.

Prof. Sheila Widnall received the Goddard Award from the National Space Club, elected Vice President of NAE, elected to the Board of the Sloan Foundation and selected honorary member of IEEE.

Prof. Larry Young received the Koetser Foundation Prize in Zurich, Switzerland in May 1998, for his contributions in Brain Research, and gave a public lecture to over 200 people there on the subject of Human Space Exploration. He was mentioned in the Tages Anzeiger (Switzerland's largest daily paper) for his achievements, and received an award of sFr 10,000 (about $7000.00).

The Weiken re-convention this year saw the initiation of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and Consortium of 7 universities organized to perform NASA's basic Biomedical Research paving the way for further human exploration of space. It contains research by several MIT members as well as Harvard Medical School and Prof. Young is the Director of this consortium with HQ's at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.


The Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium now includes MIT (Lead), Tufts University, Wellesley College, Harvard University, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Marine Biological Laboratory, Fice College Astronomy Department, 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 offered graduate fellowships. It sponsored a popular undergraduate seminar subject on "Modern Space Science and Engineering" with emphasis this year on humans in space with guest speakers from our industrial affiliates, and academic affiliates. The annual public lecture this year was given by Dr. John M. Logsdon of the Space Policy Institute.


The fourth meeting of the Massachusetts Space Forum was held in November, 1997. 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 50 leaders from academia, industry and government attended the workshops and the luncheon presentation by Mr. Robert Zubrin.

The next Space Forum is tentatively scheduled for early Fall 1998.



The Active Materials and Structures Laboratory (AMSL) focuses 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 in 1997/1998 were: development of micro hydraulic solid state transducers resulting in a DARPA funded program to develop micro-solid state energy harvesting mechanisms; development of new micromachining processes for fabricating silicon carbide components; development of new compositions, single crystal ceramics, synthesis techniques and damage models for active ceramic materials suitable for high actuation and sensing functions, and further work on the development of distributed structural acoustic control techniques. Fundamental research was motivated by a variety of ongoing applications programs. AMSL, a member of the Smart Structures Rotorcraft Consortium with Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, has continued to work on developing actively controlled helicopter rotor blades for vibration and noise reduction. Also a member of the Active Fiber Consortium together with Midé Technologies, CeraNova Corp., ACX Inc., Boeing, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, AMSL has further improved the modeling and manufacturing techniques of active fiber composites. The laboratory also continued to advance applications projects in the active control of structural acoustics: far field radiated sound from panels and cylinders, as well as control of interior noise in aircraft. Recently Westinghouse Corp. awarded AMSL a grant to investigate the active vibration control of torpedo radiated noise. The laboratory facilities available were: active material and device characterization; static and dynamic structural testing; structural acoustic testing; hover test stand, and real time control.


The objective of the International Center for Air Transportation is to improve the safety, efficiency and capacity of domestic and international air transportation and its infrastructure, utilizing information technology and systems analysis. The principle new thrust of ICAT over the past year has been in advanced Air Traffic Management. The activities in this area have ranged from evaluations of future operational concepts for the US National Airspace System; preliminary design of decision aids to improve airport departure rates; development of conflict and collision alerting; evaluation of Collaborative Decision Making between ATC and airlines; evaluation of analytical models of ATM systems and conducting fundamental human performance studies of pilot and controller interactions. ICAT has also continued to work in the areas of cognitive systems and decision aids for flight critical cockpit systems. This work includes advanced alerting systems, human understanding of advanced flight automation systems and other flight safety topics. ICAT has also developed and flight tested a single antenna GPS attitude determination system.

Over the past year, ICAT received the first FAA Excellence in Aviation Award as part of the NASA/FAA Joint University Program in Air Transportation with Princeton and Ohio University. ICAT has also participated in the FAA National Center of Excellence in Operations Research with the MIT Operations Research Center and the University of California at Berkeley.


The FDRL is active in research concerning computational, analytical and experimental issues in fluid dynamics and aerodynamics. Current research projects include: the development of a "distributed flow simulation environment" capability; aerodynamics of subsonic, transonic, and hypersonic vehicles; the development of tools for aerodynamic design; distributed visualization; computational and experimental approaches to active flow control; an experimental investigation into roughness-induced boundary layer transition; 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.


The "micro engines" (shirt button sized gas turbine engines) project has expanded to include about 40 faculty, staff, and students from three departments representing a diverse set of engineering disciplines. This multidisciplinary project is device oriented and has the aim of producing MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems produced with integrated circuit manufacturing techniques) based gas turbine engines for power production and airplane propulsion, micro compressors for analytical instruments, and rocket engines for spacecraft and micro-launch vehicles.

Professor Ian Waitz and his students have demonstrated an innovative technique for reducing the noise generated by jet engine turbomachinery. They have achieved a 10 decibel reduction in the tonal noise of a test fan in the MIT Blowdown Compressor Facility, a level of large practical significance. NASA now plans to build a large scale version of the MIT invention and test it in a national windtunnel.

Professors James Paduano, Alan Epstein and their students have demonstrated active stability control on a full scale jet engine, showing for the first time that with active feedback stabilization, an engine can be safely operated in a normally unstable regimes.

Professor Jack Kerrebrock showed that his new approach to turbine cooling, evaporative cooling, will work at heat flux levels approaching those encountered in modern jet engines.

Professor James Paduano, his collaborators, and students, have won the best paper award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Gas Turbine Institute. This is the seventh award the laboratory has received from the ASME since 1990.


The LAI project, initiated in September 1993 is a consortium of sixteen aerospace companies, fourteen U.S. government agencies, labor and MIT with the vision "To significantly reduce the cost and cycle time for military aerospace products throughout the entire value chain while continuing to improve product performance." Research is being conducted by twenty faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Management, twenty-one graduate students from Courses 2, 15, 16, TPP, TMP and SDM, and six research staff members from the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development. This year, LAI expanded in scope to include the space sector (satellites and launch systems) in addition to the previous airframe, engine and avionics/missiles sectors of the original Lean Aircraft Initiative. The Lean Enterprise Model (LEM), an organized compilation of LAI research findings and other related information, was reworked and released as a web based product. Further information on LAI can be found at


The Lean Sustainment Initiative (LSI) is a joint Air Force Material Command (HQ AFMC/LGL), Air Force ManTech, and MIT project. LSI was started in May, 1997. During the first year of LSI, the project baselined the current Air Force logistics and sustainment system, assessed the status of key initiatives to bring about major performance improvements and identified high-payoff opportunities for implementation of lean concepts. The project also established the necessary first step for defining research directions and priorities leading to fundamental longer-term changes. The research agenda has incorporated the specific expectations expressed by the leadership of the Air Logistics Centers (ALCs), within the context of characterizing the current logistics system. The current system is defined broadly to encompass both the organic base and the support infrastructure associated with it; this includes the commercial sector providers of contract repair services, service parts logistics, and transportation and distribution services engaged in sustainment support for the Air Force. Primary research focus was concentrated on the organic repair base.


MIT is one of the seven institutions in NASA's new National Space Biomedical Research Institute, headquartered at Baylor College of Medicine. Professor Larry Young of MIT is NSBRI's first Director. Dr. Charles Oman (XVI/CSR) and Professor Richard Cohen (VI/HST) lead NSBRI's multi-investigator, multi-institutional Neurovestibular and Cardiovascular research programs, respectively. Professor Newman is collaborating in a bone biomechanical modelling project. NSBRI supports a total of five new MVL research projects. Education and outreach activities are planned during the coming year. In the area of aerospace technology, an Advanced Dynamic Load Sensors Experiment has been conducted on the MIR space station to assess the impact of human space activity on the space station (Prof. D. Newman). Results indicate that microgravity disturbances on ISS will be less than previously thought. A new anthopmorphic robot has been acquired for research on the biomechanics of EVA. Dr. Oman's experiment on human visual orientation was successfully conducted on the STS-90 "Neurolab" mission flew in April, and represented the first use of virtual reality technology in space. Dr. Andy Beall played a major role. A follow on experiment using the Human Research Facility virtual reality suite on the International Space Station is now also in development, in collaboration with colleagues from France and Canada. Meanwhile, ground based research continues on human spatial orientation in real and human factors. A FAA flight and simulator research on cockpit displays for vertical navigation has been conducted, in collaboration with the Volpe Research Center (Dr. C. Oman). A new NASA project on advanced displays and controls for virtual microgravity simulation has been initiated (Drs. Oman and Beall).


The Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory (SPPL) is a part of Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) which focusses on interactive problems related to the propulsive and power generating systems of spacecraft. The Propulsion activity has continued to focus on various aspects of Electric Propulsion and space mission planning.

Our very small (50W) Hall thruster, has been subjected to a first series of performance tests at the Air Force Phillips Laboratory, in California. Results are being analyzed. A new trust balance has been fabricated for use in the Astrovac facility in Bldg. 33, and is in final assembly; this will allow in-house testing and design iteration on our small thrusters, beginning with the 50 w. Hall thruster.

Theoretical work has continued on alkali-seeded hydrogen arcjets, which offer high efficiency potential at moderate specific impulses. Two-dimensional model results confirm the favorable characteristics previously found using simplified 1-D analysis, and open the way for consideration of laboratory tests of the concept.

A study was completed of the potential of microfabricated ion engine clusters for powering very small satellites, and of the performance and economic benefits of local clusters of such satellites to replace larger single satellites. The micro-ion engines were found to be unattractive due to their unfavorable performance scaling.

Hall thruster PIC models have been extended and refined, and were applied to guide design efforts and data evaluation at BUSEK, Inc. A program of experimental probing of internal plasma properties in Hall thrusters was completed in cooperation with the Air Force Phillips Laboratory at Edwards AFB, CA. Detailed comparisons are being conducted between these data and the 2-D model predictions. Our previously developed code to analyze the effects of Hall thruster plumes on spacecraft has been extended to allow it input thrust exhaust profiles to be directly provided by the 2-D Hall thruster code.

The Laboratory is participating in an advisory capacity in the design of a bare tether demonstration mission that will fly in 1999 as a secondary Delta payload. The mission grew out of theoretical studies by Prof. Martinez-Sanchez and visiting professors J. Sanmartin and E. Ahedo on a novel design containing a long bare section for electron capture. A related ongoing activity is the development of a particle simulation code that will analyze the capture of electrons from the ionosphere by the bare tether, in the presence of the plasma reactive velocity and of the Earth's magnetic field.

In collaboration with the Draper Laboratory, a new Health monitoring system for large liquid propellant rockets has been developed. The system is a model-based algorithm capable of distinguishing between sensor and plant failures, and it uses data from sensors that monitor the engine's thermodynamic data. An extension is underway to incorporate vibration data, which have faster and much less damped dynamics.


Submicron Dynamics and Thermal Snap Response of Deployable Truss Structures

The hunt for Earth-like planets orbiting other is one of the primary objectives of NASA_s Origins Program, which will launch a number of space-based observatories, starting early in the next decade. Due to the size constraints imposed by the payload bay of carrier spacecraft, these telescopes will undoubtedly require some form of on-orbit deployment mechanism, including joints or hinges which will introduce non linearity to the structure. The success of the Origins missions will hinge on whether positioning of the optical elements can be maintained to within fractions of the viewing wavelength. Consequently, any minute disturbance will pose a serious threat to the stability of the precision optical systems. Acquiring a better understanding of the effects of damping and structural nonlinearities on the submicron-level dynamics is therefore essential to the telescope design.

The overall objective of the ongoing research is to perform an experimental and analytical investigation of the microdynamics of deployable truss structures. Specifically, the main goal is to characterize the dynamic response of such nonlinear structures at sub-microstrain levels of mechanical and thermal excitation. In the case of mechanical excitation, the response will be characterized in terms of modal parameters (the natural frequency and damping ratio). The response to thermal excitation will be characterized in the time and frequency domains.

Distributed Satellite Systems

The goal of the program in Distributed Satellite Systems (DSS) is to identify the functions within spacecraft and between spacecraft that can benefit from distribution. Over the past several decades, the computer industry has evolved from using large, expensive mainframes for solving computationally intensive problems to using smaller, cheaper, more adaptable distributed sets of workstations collaborating to solve equivalent sized problems. Likewise, DSS will demonstrate how distributed arrays of smaller, cheaper spacecraft can achieve the same missions as current larger, more expensive, monolithic spacecraft with improved performance at lower cost.

To achieve this goal, the DSS program employs systems analysis concurrently with experimental work. Presently, U.S. Air Force space missions are being classified according to how much they might benefit from distribution, and metrics for evaluating DSS designs are being developed. All experimental work is done with the DSS Testbed. Phase I of the Testbed, which demonstrated the capability to perform acoustic interferometry, has been completed. Phase II of the Testbed, which will demonstrate achieving function with a distributed system of "satellites," is currently being designed with construction to begin later in the summer. Future milestones include developing software for controlling distributed satellite systems, designs of actual DSS missions, and a possible space flight experiment.

NASA: Advanced Spacecraft Architectural Concepts

The goal of the ACRP is to develop Advanced Spacecraft Architectural Concepts (ASAC) using Modular & Multifunctional units (MMSC). Functions conventionally provided by various specifically designed single function components are integrated into standardized modules. Given spacecraft functionality requirements and technical specifications, the spacecraft can then be built by assembling these basic modules together. Interfaces among these modules can also be standardized to allow easy assembly as well as flexibility for the spacecraft design.

To achieve this goal, the ASAC project moves forward in three phases. Phase I, which has already been completed, included a review of current NASA spacecraft architectures, identification of spacecraft missions and subsystems that could benefit from the MMSC concept, and requirements definition. Phase II, currently underway, consists of designing the MMSC modules and developing the interfaces and protocols between modules. Phase III will culminate with a full end-to-end design of a NASA science mission using MMSC concepts developed in Phases I and II.

Active Acoustic Load Launch Alleviation

The MIT Space Systems Lab (SSL) is teamed with Air Force Phillips Lab and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace on the Active Acoustic Launch Load Alleviation (AALLA) project. The goal of the project is to reduce the acoustic loads on spacecraft during launch by controlling the transmission and reflection of sound through the payload fairing. If successful, this research could significantly reduce the loads that account for more than 40% of first-day spacecraft failures.

An impedance matching control method is being developed for this project. This method is unique in that it only requires knowledge of the fairing structure and local acoustic coupling. In addition, sensors are only required on the fairing, not on the payload where they may interfere with deployment or performance. Currently, research at MIT is focused on proving the impedance matching concept through experiments in an acoustic test chamber.

Precision Space Telescope Testbed

The MIT Space Systems Laboratory has designed and constructed a testbed whose structural dynamic response is similar to that of proposed next generation space telescopes: the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) and the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). The research goal is to address challenges faced by NASA's Origins Program telescopes in areas related to dynamics and control, and to ensure that the results are applicable to these missions.

The testbed is designed to be as satellite-like as possible, and is neutrally stable at its axis of rotation to enable a one-axis slew maneuver. A reaction wheel assembly mounted at the bottom of the spacecraft bus section is used to slew the testbed. Disturbances traceable to those anticipated for the next generation space telescopes are engendered by the reaction wheels. The testbed's performance is measured with an optical system, which simulated the optical train of the space telescopes.

Dynamics and Control Analyses of Space-based Interferometers

Interferometry provides the means for significant advances in astronomy. In order to ensure that stringent performance and stability requirements are satisfied, future structurally connected space borne interferometers will rely heavily on modeling and analysis efforts conducted during early design phases. Work is underway to support the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in developing modeling and analysis tools that can be applied to the proposed Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) and validated on the JPL Micro-Precision Interferometer (MPI) testbed and the MIT Origins testbed. Specific areas of work include: (1) reaction wheel disturbance modeling, (2) disturbance, sensitivity, and uncertainty analysis methodologies, (3) system optimization techniques, (4) organization of complex, integrated models, and (5) uncertainty model creation from experimental data.

Middeck Active Control Experiment Reflight

The MIT Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space have teamed up to refly the Middeck Active Control Experiment. MACE was originally flown on STS-67 in March 1995 with the objective of goal exploring approaches to achieving high precision pointing and vibration control of future spacecraft and satellites. MACE Reflight, slated for launch in late 1999, will extend the results of the original experiment.

Advanced nonlinear modeling and control techniques will be demonstrated on the test article for MACE Reflight. Extensive ground testing will preceed the on-orbit experiments to validate models and controller designs. Currently MACE hardware and software are updated to accommodate different control design techniques. Research focuses on two major areas; firstly the modeling of nonlinear multibody flexible structures, and secondly the isolation of

disturbances caused by reaction wheel imbalances.


Over 45 students were involved in TELAC during AY 97/98 including 16 graduate students, over 20 UROPers, and a number of students in 16.621/2 who performed their projects in TELAC. Five students finished their master's theses in the laboratory during this period and one doctorate was completed. In addition, the laboratory was host to a visiting faculty member, Pin Tong of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, for a brief period in the late spring and to several visiting international students through the year. 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 9 presentations. Included in these was an invited briefing to the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Research Council given by Mark Spearing. The new approach to the design of composite structures which has been developed by the laboratory faculty over the past several years was further described with a focus on failure and durability. This approach continues to be presented and discussed around the country and the world and is continuing to receive widespread acceptance and support. Of note in this regard was a panel hosted by Paul Lagace and Mark Spearing at the International Conference on Composite Materials in July of 1997 where several world-renowned experts discussed the current drawbacks, needs, and the future of the failure of composites. Over 300 people participated in this discussion. A paper based on the discussion is being developed. Mark Spearing also participated in a panel discussion on fatigue life prediction of composites at the AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials meeting in the spring. The faculty continue to build further on this overall thrust and have currently acquired early sponsored work in this general area. Important progress was made in a number of research areas throughout the year. These include the development of mechanism-based models for the elevated temperature fatigue of titanium-graphite hybrid composite laminates; the initiation of work on the damage tolerance of composite sandwich structures used in secondary aircraft structures; early work investigating the reliability of solder and adhesive joints under piezo-loading; the development, implementation, and testing of a piezoelectric wafer attachment for model high-speed composite compressor blades for aircraft engines; further development of integrated fire damage modeling; a completion of the modeling of the degradation of polymer matrices exposed to high temperatures and the verification of such by experiments; further modeling and associated experiments for the combined effects of thermo-hydro-mechanical cracking of composite laminates; the development of a cryogenic thermal cycling facility; the development of models for the charging of composite spacecraft structures; and the completion of experimental and numerical work to better understand composite shell response to transverse loadings which simulate damage-causing impact events. Once again, a significant event during the year was the "Student Symposium on Composite Materials" held for the third time this year with continued participation by and between the students working on composites at Virginia Tech and those in TELAC at M.I.T. This year the event went back to Virginia Tech and was held in late May after a postponement in March due to a New England snowstorm which prevented travel. This year, the University of Maryland was invited to participate on a trial basis and Professor Tony Vizzini and two of his students attended. Tony is a graduate of the laboratory and earned his doctorate with Paul Lagace in 1986.


The primary test activities fell into two classes. The first is the use of the wind tunnel for educational purposes. In the past year there were no 16.621-16.622 projects.

The second were commercial use of the wind tunnel as described below.

* Sanders Associates: Evaluation of aerodynamic braking

* Environmental Protection Agency: Calibration of stack gas pressure and flow angle

probes over a realistic Reynolds number range.

The Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel is the only privately owned pressurized wind tunnel in the United States. This feature gave use to an extended program with the Environmental Protection Agency to calibrate their smoke stack probes at the same Reynolds number as encountered in use. That is, the Reynold's number in a hot stack gas can be simulated by testing in air at low pressures.

The commercial testing used 104 wind on hours this year.



The student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) awarded the department's undergraduate teaching award to Prof. Winston R. Markey. Prof. Paul A. Lagace received the chapter's departmental advising award. Both Markey and Lagace are prior recipients of the teaching and advising awards. Prof. Mark Drela received the Sigma Gamma Tau Honor Society Graduate Teaching Award.

The following undergraduates were inducted this academic year into the Sigma Gamma Tau Honor Society. They are: Keith Amonlirdviman, Marc V. Berte, David A. Carpenter, Mark A. Kepets, Ching-Chieh Lu, Jacob Markish, Brian D. McElwain, Philip J. Ogston, Sumita Pennathur, Bradley M. Pitts, Jeffrey G. Reichbach, and Julie A. Wertz. The following were elected officers: Scott A. Uebelhart - President, Stephanie J. Thomas - Vice President, Jonathan K. Wong - Secretary, and Marshall D. Brenizer - Treasurer.

Senior Takayuki Kohata was invited to join the Xi Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society for his excellence in academic achievements.

The David J. Shapiro Memorial Award was given to --David A. Carpenter, a sophomore from Tyler, TX, for support and enhancement of scientific/technical studies" at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, England; Phillip E. Reich, a junior from El Cajon, CA, "for support to pursue research on flight control and stability systems" at the European Space Agency, Noordwijk, Holland; Tyra E. Rivkin, a junior from Hoffman Estates, IL, "to design, analyze, construct, and test airframe configurations to provide a better understanding of MAV (Micro Aerial Vehicles) aerodynamic qualities;" and a team of three students -- freshman Bernard F. Ahyow of Irvine, CA, sophomore Jacob Markish of Chelmsford, MA, and junior Philip J. Ogston of Kalamazoo, MI, "to design, build, and fly a high speed electric powered model aircraft in the 1998-1999 AIAA/Cessna/ ONR Student Competition."

The Apollo Program Prize was given to Sean C. Tytler, a senior from Plantation, FL, "in recognition of his Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) contributions to the definition of an artificial gravity research program, as part of the further human exploration of space."

The Yngve K. Raustein Award is given this year to Sumita Pennathur, a sophomore from Foxborough, MA, "whose enthusiasm and outstanding achievement in Unified Engineering, while simultaneously pursuing her life-long love of music, exemplifies the spirit that Yngve brought to Unified Engineering."

The Andrew G. Morsa Award was presented to seniors David M. Matsumoto from Kapolei, HI, and Alvar Saenz-Otero from San Jeronimo, Mexico "for demonstrated ingenuity and initiative in the application of computers to actively stabilize and control a tethered grapple."

The Thomas B. Sheridan Award (shared with Mechanical Engineering) was recently established by Prof. Tom Sheridan to recognize "creativity in the improvement of human-machine integration or cooperation". The award was presented for the first time by Prof. Sheridan himself to junior Keith Amonlirdviman "for creativity in the development of a distributed simulation facility, including a unique simulation control interface, which integrates cockpit and Air Traffic Control simulators to enable interactive studies of pilot and controller decision aids."

The newly-established Pratt & Whitney Award "for outstanding achievement in the design, construction, execution, and reporting of an undergraduate experimental project" was given to Paraag M. Dave of Sutton-Surrey, UK, and Kelvin B. Khong of Bukit Batok, Singapore. Messieurs Dave and Khong are exchange students from Imperial College, London, England.

The Admiral Luis De Florez Prize's recipients are senior Seth Kessler of Farmington Hills, MI, and junior Thaddeus B. Matuszeski of Washington, D.C. "for the conception, design, equipment design and acquisition, and execution of cryogenic tests of composite materials in direct support of the X-33 program". Seniors Erik S. Bailey of Reading, PA, and Todd S. Harrison of Hattiesburg, MS, also shared the prize "for the design, construction, and testing of a novel load cell, and its application to low-speed airfoil experiments."

The James Means Memorial Award recognizes excellence in flight vehicle engineering and in space systems engineering. This spring, students teamed up to work on the X-Prize Competition -- the first international prize to promote the development and flight of vehicles able to provide low-cost commercial transport of humans into space. The department's Means award was given to junior Keith Amonlirdviman of Chicago, IL "for creation of an outstanding trajectory simulation program to study X-Prize vehicle mission and design configurations and for excellence in the aerodynamic design of the X-Prize vehicle." Senior Christopher E. Carr of Seattle, WA, also received the Means award "for leadership in developing the business plan as a key driver for the X-Prize vehicle design."

The Henry Webb Salisbury Award was given to seniors Takayuki Kohata of Yokohama-Shi, Japan, and Christopher S. Protz of Panama City, FL, "for achieving academic excellence in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics."


Mr. Nicholas Savoulides, a senior from Athens, Greece, was awarded the John F. McCarthy Jr. `50 Memorial Scholarship; and Ms. Viengvilay Oudonesom, a junior from Houston, TX, received the General James H. Doolittle Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Adriane J. Faust, a senior from Ellicott City, MD, completed her second year as the recipient of the James E. Cunningham `57 Memorial Scholarship


Fall 1997

Anand Karasi

Edward Taylor Teaching Fellow

Reid Noguchi

Raymond Bisplinghoff Teaching Fellow

Jennifer Rochlis

Micail Tryfonidis

Judy Resnik Teaching Fellow

Charles Stark Draper Teaching Fellow

Spring 1998

Anand Karasi

Reid Noguchi

Jennifer Rochlis

Edward Taylor Teaching Fellow

Raymond Bisplinghoff Teaching Fellow

Judy Resnik Teaching Fellow


The department has now established its strategic direction and refined the implementation plans for new thrusts in System Engineering and Architecture, Information Engineering, the Engineering Context of Education, Research and Educational Program. The next year will focus intensely in recruiting the faculty to implement this new vision, implementing the action plans, and forging relationships with industry necessary to accomplish our goals.

Robert A. Brown

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98