The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has recently honored three engineers with Iowa State ties in deeming them 2013 Fellows.

According to an AIAA press release, Christina Bloebaum, Kathleen Howell and Dennis Muilenberg join 26 others in sharing this year’s honors.

The award is “conferred upon those members of the Institute who have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics and astronautics,” AIAA said.

Christina Bloebaum, Dennis and Rebecca Muilenburg professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State, is one of the honorees in large part for her efforts in multidisciplinary design optimization.

Bloebaum said this concept “is about finding the best design, whatever you define ‘best’ to be in an environment where you have multiple disciplines like structures, controls, whatever it happens to be, interacting with one another.”

She went on to explain where she is at in her research currently.

“What I am doing right now in this environment is looking at how multidisciplinary design optimization fits into a bigger picture of design of complex engineered systems.”

Also honored was Kathleen Howell. Howell possesses a BS degree from Iowa State and is currently the Hsu Lo Professor of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue University.

Her current research, which was fundamental in earning her AIAA recognition, involves working on “trajectory analysis and design for spacecraft,” she said.

“I am particularly focused on non-Keplerian environments. That means libration points in various systems as well as resonant trajectories. The Earth-Moon L1 and L2 libration points have been considered recently by NASA as potential locations for a human facility or 'space station',” Howell explained.

With her graduate students at Purdue, Howell also explores trajectory options that could enable future spacecraft missions. This includes both robotic and human-crewed scenarios.

Lastly, Dennis Muilenberg has earned AIAA recognition largely due to his rise to president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

According to Boeing, Muilenberg holds a BS degree from Iowa State and maintains strong local ties by serving as Boeing’s executive focal for Iowa State.

Being recognized by AAIA in this capacity is a highly prestigious honor in the aerospace and astronautics industry and it does come with perks.

“I will be able to attend a yearly meeting in Washington, D.C. that is Fellows only,” Bloebaum said. “I will be in incredibly prestigious company, I am so honored.”

Howell reiterates a sense of humility and thankfulness for her efforts and research receiving recognition.

“It is a significant recognition for me,” Howell stated. She further illustrates this honor dually serves as recognition, “for my institution as well as the institutions that educated me,” one of which includes Iowa State.

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