Dave Spencer elected to American Astronautical Society Board

Dave Spencer elected to American Astronautical Society Board
Atlanta, GA

AE Professor David A. Spencer has been elected to a three-year term on the American Astronautical Society's (AAS) Board of Directors, effective immediately.

AE Professor David A. Spencer has been elected to a three-year term on the American Astronautical Society's (AAS) Board of Directors, effective immediately.

The appointment was made December 15 during the AAS's scheduled Board of Directors meeting.

"Since membership is the lifeblood of the organization, my focus as a board member is to develop initiatives that can spur membership growth, especially with students and those at the beginning of their careers in aerospace," said Spencer. 

"I would also like to pursue the establishment of an AAS section in the Southeast, drawing upon the outstanding universities and aerospace companies in the region."

Founded in 1954, the AAS is recognized for the excellence of its technical meetings, symposia, publications and its impact on the U.S. space program. The organization has more than 1,400 members worldwide and produces one of the field's leading aerospace publications, the Journal of Astronutical Sciences.

In addition to teaching and mentoring students at GT-AE, Spencer serves as the director of the Center for Space Systems, a multi-disciplinary education and research center dedicated to excellence in space system engineering. He is the principal investigator for the U.S. Air Forces' Prox-1 mission, a spacecraft that will perform proximity operations for space situational awareness in low-Earth orbit. He also leads the Small Probes for Orbital Return of Experiments (SPORE) investigation within the NASA Small Business Technology Transfer program. The SPORE flight system architecture will utilize a modular design approach to provide low-cost on-orbit operation and recovery of small payloads.

Spencer also leads mission operations for the Planetary Society's LightSail-1 project, which seeks to demonstrate the deployment and controlled acceleration of a solar sail in Earth orbit.

Prior to joining Georgia Tech's faculty, Spencer spent 17 years with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, serving as the deputy project manager for the Phoenix Mars Lander, the mission manager for the Deep Impact and Mars Odyssey projects, and the mission designer for Mars Pathfinder.

At Georgia Tech, Spencer is conducting research on the application of collaborative observations for mapping chemical distributions in the coastal oceans. In this approach, aerial or orbital remote sensing observations provide an initial distribution that seeds an in situ survey by a network of instrumented underwater vehicles. In partnership with the NASA Langley Research Center and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, such a system is being developed for the mapping of oxygen-depleted zones in coastal waters.

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