University of Colorado
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Department Update | Spring 2014
Alumni Profile: National Space Club Honors Darrell F. Zimbelman
Darrell F. Zimbelman (BS Aero '86, MS '87, PhD '90) received all his aerospace engineering degrees at CU-Boulder. Although his career started in the private sector at the Fairchild Space & Defense Corporation, by 1994 he began his civil service career at NASA working on various scientific missions, including TOPEX/Poseidon and two Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Missions.

"The time I spent at CU was one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life," says Zimbelman. "The education I received not only established the foundation for my technical career, but assisted in preparing me to become a nationally recognized leader in the field of aerospace engineering." That leadership includes his current role of Director of the Electro-Optical Imagery Satellite Systems in the NRO, and membership on the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service.

Zimbelman was honored March 7 at the 57th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C. with the Dr. Joseph V. Charyk Award for his outstanding personal contribution in the national intelligence space program and its mission.

"It's been both my personal and professional pleasure to watch the Aerospace Engineering Sciences program grow into a nationally ranked power house. I am proud to be the son of a CU graduate, a CU graduate myself, and the parent of a CU graduate!" says Zimbelman.

Full citation: "Dr. Darrell F. Zimbelman distinguished himself as Program Manager responsible for delivering two multibillion-dollar major system acquisitions by leading his team to overcome nearly insurmountable challenges in the reactivation of the Director of National Intelligence's top priority intelligence program after a two-year hiatus. His outstanding leadership enabled his team to successfully develop, integrate, and launch two imagery intelligence spacecraft, delivering the second satellite six months early and 14 percent under budget. These new systems are providing unprecedented intelligence capabilities to the Intelligence Community, the nation's warfighters, and the President of the United States."
Student Spotlight: Leadership Lessons in the Alaskan Backcountry
Asa Darnell (MS AeroEngr '14) spent 75 days in the Alaskan wilderness last year through a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course. He aspires to become an astronaut, one who is an explorer rather than an operator. The seven leadership skills taught by NOLS (Expedition Behavior, Competence, Communication, Judgment & Decision Making, Tolerance for Adversity & Uncertainty, Self-Awareness, and Vision & Action) "apply nowhere better than they do in space where the environment is the most extreme," says Darnell. "Every decision may be life or death, and the outcome may depend on how well you know yourself, your team members' and your equipment's abilities and limitations."

Thirty of those 75 days were spent backpacking and traversing the heavily crevassed terrain of the Nabesna Glacier. Rappelling down one snow slope took close to 19 hours, six times longer than they expected. Does what he learned in the back country help with his studies in BioServe Space Technologies at CU? "You bet," says Darnell. "Whether it's traveling in the wilderness or working on a project, you never have a clear idea of what's next or how long each step will take. The patience I learned in the backcountry serves me well."
Faculty Feature: Battling Space Junk with Static Electricity
Out of 1,200 large objects in geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Earth, two-thirds of them are dead communications and Earth-observing satellites, spent rocket bodies, or pieces of such objects. Such debris creates a growing hazard for still-functioning satellites.

"The trouble is that many of these objects are tumbling. Approaching something tumbling is very risky: You can get whacked and generate more debris," says Professor Hanspeter Schaub, who has come up with a "touchless" approach he calls the Geosynchronous Large Debris Reorbiter. It uses an electrostatic force field to keep the tugging spacecraft away from the tumbling debris as the debris is slowly pulled into a higher orbit. Read more about Schaub in this WIRED magazine article.
Alumni Class Notes
Michael Van Portfliet (AeroEngr '73) retired in April after 34 years with Lockheed Martin and 40 years total in the aerospace industry.

Jim Hansen (BS AeroEngr '92, MS '93) was given the Navy Meritorious Civilian Award for his service as research and development lead in the Piracy Attack Risk Surface project. You may remember Jim from his 2011 talk at CU - "Cloudy with a Chance of Pirates" - on using computer modeling and forecasting techniques to prevent piracy off the coast of Somalia.

David B. Spencer (PhD AeroEngr '94) has been promoted to professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University.

Andrew Shulman (AeroEngr '06) recently moved from Indianapolis, where he worked as a systems engineer at Raytheon, to Washington, D.C. where he is a strategy consultant for the U.S. Air Force at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Brandon Benjamin (AeroEngr '11) was offered a job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He plans to join JPL as a systems engineer in the mission operations group after completing his master's at CU-Boulder.

We are delighted and proud to announce that Engineering Advisory Board member and longtime friend of the department, Lanny Pinchuk, has been selected by the CU Board of Regents to receive an Honorary Doctorate at the May 9, 2014 commencement ceremony.

> Send us your updates for the next edition of Class Notes!
Note from the Chair, Penny Axelrad

With the spring semester at the halfway mark, I am delighted to share with you news about the activities and successes of our faculty, students, and alumni. Everyone is, of course, busy with exciting research projects and educational activities. Also, we have been actively working this year to expand our engagement with industry as part of CU-Boulder's AeroSpace Ventures Initiative (CU-ASV).

In April, we will host two days of industry-focused events:

AeroSpace Ventures Day on Thursday, April 17:
An open forum for industry representatives to learn about technology developments and recruit CU-Boulder AES students interested in internships and full-time positions in the aerospace sector; that evening, the Colorado Space Business Roundtable will be at CU-Boulder to host its quarterly Aerospace Exchange event.

Our senior and graduate project symposium on Friday, April 18:
Student groups will present their final project designs and results, and visitors will have a chance to hear the presentations and to interact with the students demonstrating their projects at this event.

CU-ASV is pleased to welcome our founding industry partners - Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Blue Canyon Technologies, Braxton Technologies, and Surrey Satellite Technology U.S. Each of these companies plays an important role in supporting aerospace education, research, and students at CU-Boulder.

Please visit our website to find out more about AeroSpace Ventures Day, read the latest department news, or check out our upcoming seminar schedule. Alumni and friends are always welcome to drop by for a visit.

Mahmoud Hussein's research on decoupling heat from electricity through nanopillars in thermoelectric materials is garnering great interest in scientific publications (see Yale Environment 360 from Feb. 27 and IEEE Spectrum from Feb. 21). Watch for details in our summer e-newsletter.

Our new brochure on student projects is out! Please email Patti Gassaway if you would like one sent to you. Limited quantity available.

AeroSpace Ventures Day is April 17! You or your company may be interested in recruiting students and learning about new technologies at this special event to be held 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the Stadium Club at Folsom Field. Two separate tracks on innovation and workplace/recruitment offer a wealth of information on new tech, student and faculty research, and recruiting opportunities. Learn more and sign up today.

Honors & Awards
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the AES graduate program #9 in the country, up from #14 last year. Among public institutions, AES was ranked #6, up from #9.

Col. David Goldstein (PhD AeroEngr '00, CCAR) will be honored with a 2014 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award April 25

Hanspeter Schaub was elected an AAS Fellow

Xianjing Liu, Outstanding Student Paper Award, AGU
Michael Lotto, Goddard Memorial Scholarship
Gauravdev Soin, Best Paper Award, AIAA Design Engineering
Juliana Feldhacker and McArthur Jones, Jr., AES 2014 Graduate Student Service Award
Paul Anderson and Lauren Blum, John A. Vise Graduate Student Excellence Award

KatieRae Williamson and Jonathan Wu of LEOPARD, Second Place Team Winners at the International Student Conference, AIAA SciTech Forum

Support AES  |  Connect on LinkedIn  |  Visit the AES Website  |  Update Your Alumni Info  |  Alumni Home

Aerospace Engineering Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Science | P: 303-492-6417 | F: 303-492-7881
429 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0429

Be Boulder