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Chair's Distinguished Seminar Series

The Chair’s Distinguished Seminar Series brings scholars of national and international reputation who have made an impact in the field of aerospace engineering and beyond. This seminar series will cover a diversity of topics of current interest to those in academia, industry and the general public. It is our hope that these monthly seminars will encourage an exchange of ideas and bring aerospace engineering and science to the forefront.

William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Distinguished Seminar Series:

Spring 2018 Series
Mondays, 4-5pm
Guggenheim Hall 220
UW Campus, Seattle WA

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We welcome our Distinguished Guests:


Photo of Eric Loth

03.19.18 | ROBERT MOSES - Flyer
Sustaining Human Presence on Mars Using ISRU and a Reusable Lander
Aerospace Technologist, NASA

Note: The location of this talk is Guggenheim Hall 218

This presentation highlights a study of the impact of ISRU, reusability, and automation on sustaining a human presence on Mars, requiring a transition from Earth dependence to Earth independence. The study analyzes the surface and transportation architectures and compared campaigns that revealed the importance of ISRU and reusability. A reusable Mars lander, Hercules, eliminates the need to deliver a new descent and ascent stage with each cargo and crew delivery to Mars, reducing the mass delivered from Earth. As part of an evolvable transportation architecture, this investment is key to enabling continuous human presence on Mars. The extensive use of ISRU reduces the logistics supply chain from Earth in order to support population growth at Mars. Reliable and autonomous systems, in conjunction with robotics, are required to enable ISRU architectures as systems must operate and maintain themselves while the crew is not present. A comparison of Mars campaigns is presented to show the impact of adding these investments and their ability to contribute to sustaining a human presence on Mars. The author also mentions how the Earth’s Moon offers an opportunity to test some mission systems prior to insertion into a Mars campaign.

Photo of Christian Eigenbrod

04.16.18 | Christian Eigenbrod - Flyer
Fire Safety in Human Spaceflight
Scientific and Technical Director, ZARM Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity, University of Bremen

Fire onboard a manned spacecraft is the most dangerous scenario--even more so on future deep-space missions where an abort, escape and quick return are impractical. Even in situations less seriously hazardous for the crew, the risk to the immense investment cannot be underestimated. The design of a spacecraft cannot totally avoid the use of potentially flammable materials. All those materials must therefore pass tests regarding their flammability, flame propagation and extinction behavior. Exactly here lies the problem. Qualification tests in space are too expensive and too dangerous. But are ground tests realistic? In the past, based on some experience, it was assumed that fi res in space always burn less violently than on earth. Therefore, the ground tests were assumed to represent a worst case scenario. Today we know that an onboard fire really burns smaller and but more importantly, differently. Whether or not a material extinguishes depends on the balance between heat release and heat losses. Even though the heat release rate is typically reduced in microgravity, a material may burn self-sustained if the heat losses are reduced even more. Research by an international science team from the USA, Japan, Russia and several European countries is trying to gain a fundamental understanding of the solid fuel combustion processes in microgravity and is trying to develop new qualification standards based on the results. The focus of ZARM’s (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity) research is on the effect of surface structures on fire spreading. In a large scale experiment onboard the unmanned re-supply vehicle „Cygnus“ it could be demonstrated how massive the interactions between surface structures can support fire spreading.

Photo of Steven A. Chisholm

04.23.18 | Steven A. Chisholm - Flyer
Full Scale Fatigue Testing of Boeing Airplanes and Smarter Testing
Director of Structures Engineering, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Boeing has conducted full-scale fatigue tests on all of its major models, ranging from the 707 fuselage pressure hydro-fatigue test nearly sixty years ago to the recently completed full-scale test of the 787. Full-scale fatigue testing has long been a major part of Boeing structural performance data development, for both new models and airplanes retired from service. We will discuss this testing and explore the results from the 787 specifically. We will then discuss Smarter Testing. How does Boeing ensure that the structure and systems on its aircraft meet regulatory requirements? A rigorous building block approach verifies and validates analysis by tests, from the component to the assembly level. Smart testing through simulation maximizes the benefit of necessary tests, augments understanding of performance within and beyond the envelope of test data and minimizes unplanned tests in attaining certification.

Photo of Hong Wang

05.21.18 | DR. HONG WANG - Flyer
Stochastic Distribution Control and Its Applications - a Probability Density Function Shaping Theory for non-Gaussian Stochastic Systems
Chief Scientist and Laboratory Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Stochastic distribution control systems are widely seen in practical processes, where the aim of the controller design is to realize a shape control of the distributions of certain random variables in the process so as to minimize the impact of uncertainties or randomness to the operational performance of the system. Once the probability density functions (PDFs) of these variables are used to describe their distributions, the control task is then transferred into obtaining time-domain feedback control signals so that the output PDFs of the stochastic system are made to follow their target PDFs. In this talk, a summary of the recent developments on the research of stochastic distribution control systems theory will be made together with the discussions on future research directions. In particular, topics on the modelling, control and optimization of the stochastic distribution control systems will be described, where potentials of using such a theory to solve uncertainty quantification and minimization will be discussed for complex dynamic systems such as those seen in material processing, chemical reactions and transportation. Indeed, our recent research shows that stochastic distribution control theory can provide effective solutions to generic issues on modelling, data mining, signal processing and stochastic optimization for complex non-Gaussian and nonlinear systems.

  • Dr. Mason Peck (Cornell) | 10/09/17
  • Dr. Matthew Johnson-Roberson (U. Michigan) | 10/16/17
  • Dr. Paul McConnaughey (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center) | 10/30/17
  • Dr. Panagiotis Tsiotras (Georgia Tech) | 11/20/17
  • Philip M. Condit (The Boeing Company) | 12/04/17
  • Beverly McKeon (California Institute of Technology) | 01/22/18 - Flyer
  • Eric Paterson (Virginia Tech) | 02/05/18 - Flyer
  • Eric Loth (University of Virginia) | 02/12/18 - Flyer
  • Carlos E.S. Cesnik (U Mich) | 5/22/17 - Flyer
  • Christopher S. Lynch (UCLA) | 5/15/17 - Flyer
  • Gretar Tryggvason (Notre Dame) | 5/8/17 - Flyer
  • Geoffrey Spedding (USC) | 5/1/17 - Flyer
  • Angela Schoellig (U. Toronto) | 4/24/17 - Flyer
  • Marco Ceze (Amazon Prime Air) | 4/17/17 - Flyer
  • Thomas Jarboe (U. Washington) | 4/10/17 - Flyer
  • Krishnan Mahesh (U. Minnesota) | 4/3/17 - Flyer
  • Aaron Ames (Caltech) | 3/27/17 - Flyer
  • Satya Atluri (Texas Tech) | 3/6/17 - Flyer
  • Norman Wereley (U. Maryland) 2/27/17 - Flyer 
  • Lars Blackmore (SpaceX) | 2/13/17 - Flyer
  • Richard Wirz (UCLA) | 02/06/17 - Flyer 
  • Philippe H. Geubelle (U Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) | 01/30/17 - Flyer
  • Daniel Inman (U-Mich) | 01/23/17 - Flyer
  • Morteza Gharib (Caltech) | 12/05/16  -  abstract not available
  • Rodney Bowersox (TAMU) | 11/28/16 - Flyer | Video
  • Noel Clemens (University of Texas) | 11/14/16 - Flyer | Video
  • Zdenek P. Bazant (Northwestern) | 11/07/16 - Flyer | Video
  • Tom I-P Shih (Purdue) | 10/24/16 - Flyer | Video
  • Charbel Farhat (Stanford) |  10/10/16 - Flyer | Video