NASA honors academy aeronautics research efforts

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Brugman
  • Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Members of the Air Force Academy's aeronautics department received recognition from the NASA Johnson Space Center for their work on the X-38 crew return vehicle, which will serve as a lifeboat for the International Space Station.

Named as recipients of the NASA Group Achievement Award are Dr. Tom Yechout, aeronautics professor here; former cadet, now 2nd Lt. Steve Young; and Ken Ostasiewski, an engineering technician.

The award recognizes a group for an outstanding accomplishment which has contributed substantially to the NASA mission, according to NASA officials.

They were lauded for their work in resolving a yaw anomaly in the crew return vehicle. The vehicle started rolling upside down and over when it was not supposed to.

"Luckily they were able to deploy the parachute when it was in the up position after the roll," Yechout said. "Obviously, the next step was to find out why it happened.

They discovered that the flipping was caused by the blunt back end of the X-38 module.

"It's really nice to see that our results led to a successful next flight," Yechout said.