SAE International Honors Two with Aerospace Vehicle Design and Development Award

SAE International honored two aerospace professionals with the Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson Aerospace Vehicle Design and Development Award during the 2011 SAE International AeroTech Congress and Exhibition.

Ramesh K. Agarwal, William Palm Professor of Engineering and Director of the Aerospace Research and Education Center at Washington University, St. Louis; and Bruce Banks, Senior Physicist, Alphaport, Inc. at NASA Glenn Research Center were presented their awards during the AeroTech Awards Banquet.

The award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions during their career in the innovative design and development of advanced aircraft and/or spacecraft. The award was established by the SAE International Board of Directors to honor the memory of Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson and the enormous impact he had on the aerospace industry. His accomplishments include the creation of Lockheed's famed Skunk Works; also, he played a leading role in the design and development of more than 40 of the world's most advanced aircraft.

From 1994 to 2001, Dr. Agarwal was the Sam Bloomfield Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University in Kansas. From 1978 to 1994, he worked in various scientific and managerial positions at McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratories in St. Louis. He became the Program Director and McDonnell Douglas Fellow in 1990. From 1976 to 1978, he worked as a NRC Research Associate at NASA Ames Research Center and from 1975 to 1976 as a Principal Research Engineer at Rao & Associates in Palo Alto, CA. Over a period of 35 years, Dr. Agarwal has worked in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Computational Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and Electromagnetics, Computational Aeroacoustics, Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization, Rarefied Gas Dynamics and Hypersonic Flows, Bio-Fluid Dynamics, and Flow and Flight Control. He is the author and coauthor of more than 300 publications and serves on the editorial board of sixteen journals. He is a Fellow of 15 societies, including the American Association for Advancement of Science, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Physical Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Royal Aeronautical Society, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, SAE International, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Academy of Mechanics, American Society of Engineering Education, Academy of Science of St. Louis, Institute of Engineering & Technology, Institute of Physics, Energy Institute and World Innovation Foundation. He is the recipient of many prestigious honors and awards.

Banks holds bachelor's and master's degrees in physics. He has conducted and lead research on electric rocket engines, thin-film coatings, surface texturing processes and low Earth orbital atomic oxygen durability of spacecraft through his employment for 41 years at NASA and three years at Alphaport, Inc. He has authored or co-authored 228 technical publications, holds 38 patents, and has received 68 awards and/or honors for meritorious performance. Banks is the most patented scientist in the history of NASA Glenn Research Center; his efforts have resulted in 60 space flight experiments or functional applications of technology developed by him and his research teams. He developed and patented a means for fabricating large-area (30 cm diameter) closely-spaced dished ion optics, which allowed high thrust ion propulsion needed for durable and efficient deep space propulsion. Banks also developed textured surface technology to prevent sputter deposited materials from peeling away and then shorting out the ion thruster optics. This technology has now been successfully used for ion propulsion station keeping on at least 18 commercial communication spacecraft and for prime propulsion ion thrusters for the successful Deep Space 1 mission to asteroid 9969 Braille and comet Borrelly, as well as the Dawn mission to asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.   

SAE International is a global association of more than 134,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and voluntary consensus standards development. SAE International's charitable arm is the SAE Foundation, which supports many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.

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