NASA honors Schonberg for space debris work

Posted by
On January 12, 2015

Dr. William P. Schonberg

Dr. William P. Schonberg

Dr. William P. Schonberg

Dr. William P. Schonberg

Dr. William P. Schonberg, chair and professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has been selected to receive a NASA Engineering and Safety Council (NESC) Honor Award.

Schonberg and a group of colleagues who share a research focus in orbital space debris, received the NESC Group Achievement Award. The award recognizes a team of government and non-government personnel for outstanding accomplishment through the coordination of individual efforts that have contributed substantially to the success of NESC’s mission.

The team, led by Michael Squire, principal engineer for NESC, was honored for their work in evaluating the risk from orbital debris to a satellite that will be launching in 2017 called the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).

“Bill was an integral part of this team,” says Squire. “He specifically analyzed the equations, known as ballistic limit equations, used to describe how well certain materials and components resist micrometeroid orbital debris damage. His findings may help JPSS choose more appropriate ballistic limit equations, which would improve the risk assessments.”

The team evaluated two models that simulate the amount of space debris found in a given location in the Earth’s orbit and compared those models to others. The team also examined factors that went into the risk assessments and how the accuracy of those assessments could be improved.

“The work done by this team will not only effect the JPSS Project, but will be important for all spacecraft flying in Earth orbit in understanding MMOD risk and risk predictions better,” Squire says.

In addition to Schonberg and Squires, team members included Dr. Williams Cooke, NASA Meteoroid Environment Office; Dr. Steven Cornford, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Scott Hull, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Dr. Alan Jenkin and Dr. Glenn Peterson, The Aerospace Corp.; Donald Kessler, NASA Johnson Space Center (retired); Dr. Williams Vesely, NASA Headquarters; Dr. Joel Williamsen, Institute for Defense Analysis; Linda Burgess, Melinda Meredith and Christina Williams, Analytical Mechanics Associates; and Roy Savage, NASA Engineering and Safety Center.

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