Embry-Riddle Flight Teams Repeat Success in National Competition

Once again, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University dominated the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) held May 4-10 at Middle Tennessee State University in Smyrna, Tenn.

The Golden Eagles flight team from Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz. campus captured first place and the Eagles flight team from the Daytona Beach, Fla. campus placed third in the national competition.

It was the first back-to-back national championship for the Golden Eagles, which took the top spot last year at NIFA SAFECON, as well as in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2005. The Eagles of Daytona Beach took first in 1992.

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Cool Science in a Warm Place

Embry-Riddle to Host Antarctic Space Sciences Workshop

Daytona Beach, Fla., Sept. 14, 2007 – The Space Physics Research Laboratory at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will host an Antarctic Space Sciences Workshop Sept. 27 and 28 at the university’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus. The meeting is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The workshop will bring together nationally renowned scientists who conduct space science research at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and other sites in Antarctica. Scientists will review the status of their research, identify scientific criteria for future investigations, and talk about how to increase visibility for space sciences research in Antarctica.

Participating in the workshop will be researchers from Augsburg College, Colorado Research Associates, Dartmouth College, Embry-Riddle, National Science Foundation, Oberlin College, Raytheon Polar Services Co., Siena College, and SRI International. Scientists also will attend from Stanford University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Colorado, University of New Hampshire, University of Saskatchewan, Utah State University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Embry-Riddle’s Space Physics Research Laboratory designs and operates passive electro-optical instruments to remotely sense the near-Earth space environment for research directed by professors Abas Sivjee and Irfan Azeem. Instruments developed by the lab operate at many locations in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, gathering data on auroras, atmospheric airglow, and space climate. Research is supported by NASA and NSF, and assisted by graduate and undergraduate students.

For more about the Antarctic Space Sciences Workshop or space science research at Embry-Riddle, contact Dr. Azeem, associate professor of physical sciences, at azeem71d@erau.edu.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than 34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, and through online learning.

For more information, visit http://www.erau.edu.

ERAU Students Set Record With Rocket Launch

A team of Aerospace Engineering students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University made history on March 22 when they successfully launched their two-stage Icarus rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

With 3,500 pounds of thrust in the first stage and 900 pounds in the second stage, the rocket set an altitude record for a student-built vehicle — 37.8 miles — and became the first two-stage student sounding rocket to launch from a NASA facility.

“The Embry-Riddle student-designed rocket was the most complex student project we have supported to date,” said Phil Eberspeaker, chief of NASA’s Sounding Rockets Program Office. “NASA subjects these student rockets to the same scrutiny as a NASA sounding rocket to ensure the flight can be conducted in a safe manner.”

Embry-Riddle student Mike Stackpole founded Project Icarus in 2003 with assistance from other students in the Embry-Riddle Future Space Explorers and Developers Society and has led the effort ever since. Current team members are Jon Barnhart, Brandon Boekelman, Josh Chatham, Jacklyn Duff, Curtis Ewbank, and Kevin Mock. Former team members who made significant contributions are Ron Driggers, Steven Trout, and Markus Zimmerman, all of whom have graduated in the past year. The team’s faculty advisors are Dr. Eric Hill and Dr. Rick Perrell.

“The mission of Project Icarus is to promote student rocket projects at Embry-Riddle, combining classroom knowledge with hands-on experience in rocket design and construction,” said Stackpole. “Icarus is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of vehicles, each pushing the envelope slightly more. The eventual goal is to create a rocket that reaches space.”

According to Stackpole, analysis of NASA radar and on-board telemetry data showed that the Icarus rocket performed nearly perfectly: The first stage blasted the rocket off the pad to reach a velocity of Mach 2.5 at an acceleration of 13.2 g’s; after the first stage fell away, the sustainer reached Mach 4.04 and a height of 37.8 miles.

The 16-foot-long rocket weighed 268 pounds fully loaded and carried a 15-pound electronic payload, including a telemetry system to relay information back to the ground via UHF radio signals. Data was collected on barometric pressure, acceleration, spin rate, GPS, altitude, and the temperature of the nose cone. The payload also included a capacitor discharge initiation system that ignited the second stage at a specified time during flight. The solid propellant, similar to that used by the solid rocket boosters on the space shuttles, was manufactured by Loki Research of Pennsylvania.

“The Icarus team put in a sustained effort over the years, and the importance of their achievement can’t be overstated,” said Dr. Perrell. “One of the many impressive aspects of this project is how efficiently the students used the monetary contributions they received in support of their work. The Icarus experience will stand them in good stead as they graduate into the real world of the aviation and aerospace industry.”

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Online Physiology Program

The Center for Professional Education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in association with Fitness Technologies, Inc., a leader in fitness and allied health information transfer have begun accepting enrollment in Personal Physiology: Your Body & You, a new ERAU Premier Series in continuing education courses offered in a convenient, self-paced, online format.

The courses, originally developed to assist allied health and fitness professionals, are intended for individuals who are interested in improving their physical well-being. Whether your job requires strenuous activity or simply sitting at a desk, there are techniques available to assist you in enhancing your ability to deal with physical and psychological stress.

Embry-Riddle is launching this program in partnership with Dr. Frank I. Katch, a world renowned researcher, author, and lecturer on human physiology. The courses provide a scientific foundation in interval training, resistance training, unilateral training, and plyometrics, as well as an understanding of societal factors and warning signs that point to problems such as eating disorders and overtraining. Participants read course materials online and take learning assessments at their own pace. The university provides Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for successful completion of its professional education courses.

For more information, contact the Center for Professional Education at (866) 574-9125 from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Mon-Fri., EST. Or to register online, go to: http://www.erau.edu/ec/soctapd/phy.html

Aviation Software Experts to Meet

A committee of international computing specialists who develop guidelines for software-intensive aviation systems will gather from March 19-23 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus for a Meeting on Software Considerations in Aeronautical Systems.

The committee of 150 professionals from industry, government, and academia meets twice a year, alternately in Europe and the United States. It is a collaborative undertaking by RTCA Inc. and the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE).

Organized in 1935 as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, RTCA is a private, nonprofit corporation that develops recommendations on communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management systems. EUROCAE was created in 1963 as a European forum for administrations, airlines, and industry to discuss technical problems and prepare performance specifications for airborne electronic equipment.

In the meeting at Embry-Riddle, the committee will be tasked with updating the aviation industry’s guideline on the software aspects of certification of airborne equipment and systems.

Aircraft depend on a variety of digital on-board systems for autopilots, engine control, navigation, and radar, and on-ground systems for air traffic control and management. These software-intensive systems must interact by data links to perform ground system interrogation of on-board transponders, aircraft broadcast of position and status information, and other critical tasks. The system’s correctness relies on the correct operation of the associated software.

“Good software engineering practices are critical for producing dependable software,” says Andrew Kornecki, professor of computer and software engineering at Embry-Riddle. He says Embry-Riddle is an ideal place for the worldwide meeting, because “we place a special emphasis here on software process and the dependability and safety of embedded computer systems.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than 34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning.

For more information, visit http://www.erau.edu

Embry-Riddle Team Wins Spot in NASA PR Contest

In their first try, a team of students studying communication at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University reached the finals in the NASA Means Business Competition, an annual national public relations contest to promote NASA to the next generation. The contest is sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium.

The students submitted their 50-page proposal in November, featuring their concepts for print media, a website, and community outreach, as well as a commercial storyboard, research analysis, and communication/marketing strategy.

The team is advised by communication professor Joanne Detore-Nakamura and led by Kelly Billon, a junior communication major. Other students are Joseph Antonucci, a junior business major; Victoria Demore, a sophomore communication major; Ivens Jean, a graduate student in the MBA program; Kevin Mock, a junior aerospace engineering major; and Melanie Pugh, a senior communication major.

As finalists, the students receive a $1,000 cash award, an invitation to ”behind-the-scenes” tours at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center, and a travel award for one team member. The competition culminates May 7-9, 2007, when the team pitches its finished plan to NASA officials at Kennedy Space Center. If the Embry-Riddle students win the grand prize, NASA will use their commercials on national TV and present their award in Washington, DC in Sept. 2007.

“By winning a spot in the finals, we have defied all odds and joined some very distinguished competition from much larger programs,” said Detore-Nakamura. “With only one PR class under their belts, our students produced a creative, research-based proposal that drew from their interdisciplinary strengths. Although this is the first time we have ever entered this communication competition, we intend to go all the way!”

Last year, Embry-Riddle public relations students generated some buzz with promotional plans they created for non-profit organizations in central Florida. (See http://www.erau.edu/er/newsmedia/newsreleases/2006/publicity.html.)

Detore-Nakamura teaches the public relations courses in the communication program, which focuses on the aviation and aerospace industries. For more information on the program, see the following web site: http://www.erau.edu/db/degrees/b-communication.html.

The students are now looking for corporate and community sponsors who would like to help finance the team’s expenses and cross-promote their organization with NASA and the Embry-Riddle team.

For more information about the Embry-Riddle team or to sponsor the team, contact Detore-Nakamura at detor6ee@erau.edu. Information about the NASA Means Business competition can be found at http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/nmb/.

Embry-Riddle, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates more than 32,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through the Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning.

Dr. John C. Mather wins Nobel Prize for Physics

The Nobel Prize Committee announced Tuesday that NASA scientist and Goddard Fellow Dr. John C. Mather is this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics. Mather is currently serving as senior project scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope program.

Mather shares the prize with George Smoot of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. They received the award for their work that helped cement the Big Bang theory of the universe and deepened our understanding of the origin of stars and galaxies.

“I was thrilled and amazed when I found out we won the Nobel Prize,” Mather said. “The dedicated and talented women and men of the COBE team collaborated to produce the science results being recognized. This is truly such a rare and special honor.”

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SpaceStationSim ISS Simulator game

The Space Foundation announced today that it has officially recognized the SpaceStationSim ™ video game from Vision Videogames, LLC, as a Certified Space Imagination Product. This certification, part of the Space Foundation’s Space Certification Program, recognizes superior entertainment products used to increase interest in and excitement for space.

“We feel very privileged to copublish such a unique and realistic game as SpaceStationSim,” said Paul Lombardi, chief executive officer of Enlight Interactive, USA. “In more than twenty years of developing and publishing state-of-the-art simulation games, rarely have we been so excited about a title.”

SpaceStationSim is Vision Videogames’ first PC-based video game and is a true 3-D construction SIM that encourages players to engage their imagination and build thousands of different configurations of the International Space Station (ISS) using dozens of modules and stylized components from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its four exploration partners, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Russian Space Agency (RSA).

“The Space Foundation is pleased to certify Vision Videogames,” said Kevin Cook, director of Space Technology Awareness for the Space Foundation. “SpaceStationSim really engages the player, integrating the science and psychology of life in space and creating a sense of ownership in the worldwide effort to explore space and improve life on Earth.”

In addition to creating a unique ISS, the player of SpaceStationSim, in the roll of the Administrator of NASA, creates astronaut crewmembers to live and work aboard. The astronauts have unique needs, abilities and personalities, and the player manages their activities and personal relationships. Astronauts face mission critical situations, including fires and equipment breakdowns, while conducting micro gravity experiments and dealing with space tourists shipped aboard by the Russians. Through strategy, design, management, discovery, and care of the crew, the player’s ISS may usher in the dawn of a new age for man in space.

SpaceStationSim also is the first space station game developed in collaboration with NASA via a NASA Space Act Agreement. For more information and an online demo, visit www.spacestationsim.com

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Hubble sees faintest stars in a globular cluster

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered what astronomers are reporting as the dimmest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster. Globular clusters are spherical concentrations of hundreds of thousands of stars. Seeing the whole range of stars in this area will yield insights into the age, origin, and evolution of the cluster.

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Embry-Riddle Partners to Expand Space Research and Technology

Three Florida universities have signed an agreement to cooperate on space research and technology programs, including the creation of a joint institute to coordinate their activities.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Institute of Technology, and Florida State University will combine their capabilities to pursue emerging research, technology development, and educational opportunities associated with government and commercial space and aerospace initiatives. The universities signed the agreement Oct. 5 in Orlando.

“FSU, Florida Tech, and Embry-Riddle each have unique aerospace-related capabilities, and our partnership on space programs can do much to expand and diversify Florida’s role in the industry,” said Rodney Piercey, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Arts and Sciences. “This is an exciting time for the space industry, with exploration, defense, and commercialization programs accelerating in the U.S. and abroad.”

“This is a winning partnership of public and private institutions, building on the strengths of some of the top space-related research and education programs in the United States. With Florida Tech’s roots planted deeply in the U.S. space program, we welcome a collaboration that will further this mission,” said Frank Kinney, vice provost for research at Florida Institute of Technology.

“This collaboration couldn’t be more timely or fitting for Florida or NASA,” said Kirby Kemper, vice president for research at Florida State University. “The future of our country’s aerospace industry depends on a better-trained, domestically produced workforce of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. With stronger ties to the space industry, Florida’s research universities can strengthen both their gradate training in these fields and their research capabilities, as well.”

The joint institute will be open to participation by other universities and will work to develop collaborative programs with government agencies like NASA and Space Florida, as well as with commercial aerospace firms.

For program information, contact:
John Olivero, chairman of physical sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (386) 226-6453 or oliveroj@erau.edu