S&T grad student earns NASA fellowship to work on spacecraft re-entry technologies

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On November 10, 2017

Mario Santos, a Ph.D. student at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has earned a prestigious NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF). By earning the fellowship, Santos joins a small group of students from throughout the United States who show potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative space technologies for the nation’s science, exploration and economic future.

Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology (ADEPT) (right) concept as deployable re-entry technology (Image courtesy of NASA).

The three-year fellowship includes a stipend for students’ research work, tuition allowance, faculty advisor allowance and an on-site NASA experience. Santos, an aerospace engineering student from Overland, Missouri, will now spend his summers at the Vehicle Analysis Branch of NASA’s Langley Research Center working on deployable re-entry technologies. His project is titled “Multi-Fidelity Modeling and Simulation for the Analysis of Deployable Re-Entry Technologies Under Uncertainty.”

Santos’s fellowship research will focus on the identification and validation of multifidelity modeling methods for computationally efficient and accurate modeling and simulation of the hypersonic flow, aerodynamic heating and thermal response of deployable re-entry technologies. The methods will be used in the analysis, design and reliability assessment of re-entry technologies under uncertain operating environments. Those technologies include the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator and Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology concepts, which are being developed by NASA to enable large payloads to land on Mars, Venus and any other planet with an atmosphere, which is not possible with the current re-entry capsules with rigid aeroshells.

“The eventual goal will be to use deployable re-entry technologies to send humans to Mars and this further emphasizes the importance of Mario’s research under this fellowship” says Dr. Serhat Hosder, associate professor of aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, who is Santos’s Ph.D. advisor and who will serve as the principal investigator for the NSTRF project.

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) oncept as a deployable re-entry technology (Image courtesy of NASA).

For more information about the fellowship, visit nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/strg/nstrf_2017.

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On November 10, 2017. Posted in Featured, People

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