Missouri S&T spacecraft engineering experts available for comment

Spacecraft engineering experts from Missouri University of Science and Technology are available to discuss the first U.S. spacecraft successfully landing on the moon in over five decades.

Dr. Hank Pernicka, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of aerospace engineering, has been a member of the Missouri S&T faculty since 2001. After earning a Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1990, he worked in space-focused academic and industry and government roles before coming to S&T. He has worked with entities such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Boeing.

Pernicka is director of the university’s Space Systems Engineering Laboratory and advisor of the Missouri S&T Satellite Research Team, which will soon have a student-designed cube satellite launched into space. Some of his research interests include spacecraft design, astrodynamics, orbital mechanics and satellite attitude dynamics. He was managing editor of The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences from 1999-2011.

Dr. William Schonberg, professor of civil engineering, has been a member of the Missouri S&T faculty since 1999. After earning a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from Northwestern University in 1986, he has worked in academic and industry positions around the globe and focused on spacecraft protective system design and space debris research. He has also worked with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

A large amount of Schonberg’s work is focused on improving the safety of astronauts in space. His research areas include spacecraft vulnerability and survivability, spacecraft shielding against meteoroid and orbital debris, and new design concepts for future lunar habitats. In 2010, he received a NASA Engineering and Safety Center Honor Award, and in 2019, he served as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Australia. He was also a member of a 2011 National Research Council committee that issued a report sounding the alarm of the dangers of space debris. According to studies published by Stanford University, he continues to be among the top 2% of scientists cited in his field for his career-long impact.

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