Dr. Alok Das, a member of the Scientific and Professional Cadre of Senior Executives, is Senior Scientist for Design Innovation, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force base, Ohio. As the laboratory’s chief innovation officer he serves as the principal advisor to the commander in formulating, planning and implementing technology and process innovation strategies throughout the organization. He also leads the AFRL Center for Rapid Innovation that utilizes spiral development and collaboration to provide near-term, technology enabled solutions to the warfighter’s highest priority urgent needs. His rapidly fielded operational prototypes have filled capability gaps and boosted our national military supremacy, particularly in the face of an agile and asymmetric threat. His contributions have been commended by the Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan, the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering.
Dr. Das started his career as a controls engineer at the Indian Space Research Organization, designing attitude control systems for some of India’s initial earth observation satellites. In 1984 he joined the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory. As the technical lead for the emerging large space structures area, he developed it into the Defense Department’s premiere facility for developing and demonstrating advanced technologies for modeling and precise control of such systems. Later, working closely with the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, he was instrumental in the development and transition of the emerging smart structures technology. He also worked with NASA on several initiatives, including the New Millennium Program.
Prior to his current assignment, Dr. Das focused the research of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate on exploring revolutionary space mission architectures, satellite designs and technologies to radically reduce the cost, while enhancing the capability and operating flexibility of space systems. Dr. Das has received numerous awards and commendations for his work and has contributed to the scientific body of knowledge with more than 60 technical articles on space technologies.
1976 Bachelor of Engineering, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
1978 Master of Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
1982 Doctor of Philosophy, Aerospace Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
1. 1978-1980, Controls Engineer, Indian Space Research Organization, Bangalore, India
2. 1982-1984, Research Associate, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
3. 1984-1986, Aerospace Engineer, Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
4. 1986-1988, Aerospace Engineer, Astronautics Laboratory, Edwards AFB, Calif.
5. 1989-1993, Technical Advisor, Space Vehicle Structures and Controls Division, Space Technology Directorate, Phillips Laboratory, Edwards AFB, Calif.
6. 1993-1996, Technical Adviser, Space Vehicle Structures and Controls Division, Space Technology Directorate, Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
7. 1996-1998, Technical Advisor, Space Vehicle Technologies Division / Space Vehicle Integration and Demonstration Division, Space Technology Directorate, Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
8. 1999-2004, Senior Scientist for Space Structures and Control, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
9. 2004-2007, Chief Scientist, Space Vehicles, AFRL, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
10. 2007-present, Senior Scientist for Design Innovation and Director of AFRL Commander’s Center for Rapid Innovation, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
AWARDS AND HONORS
1988 Scientist & Engineer Excellence Award, Air Force Astronautics Laboratory
1991 Meritorious Achievement Award, American Defense Preparedness Association
1995 NASA Achievement Award, Small Spacecraft Technology Initiative Team
1999 Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
2000 Smart Structures and Materials Achievement Award, International Society for Optical Engineering
2004 Fellow, Air Force Research Laboratory
2006 Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Medal
2008 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award
2012 Presidential Distinguished Rank Award
2015 Inducted to the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Academy of Engineering Excellence
2016 Inducted to the Inaugural Virginia Tech Academy of Aerospace Engineering Excellence
2019 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Former member, Organizing Committee, 1st and 2nd NASA & DOD Control & Structures Interaction Conf.
Former general chairman, 1st and 2nd U.S. Air Force and NASA Workshop on System Identification and Health Monitoring of Precision Space Structures
Former member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Structural Dynamics Technical Committee
Former member, Joint AIAA/American Society of Mechanical Engineers and SPIE Planning Group, AIAA SDM Conference
Former general chairman, First Conference on Smart Structures and Materials, SPIE
Former member, Program Committee, SPIE Conference on Smart Structures and Materials
Former executive program chair, Space Technology Conference and Exposition, AIAA
(Current as of February 2020)