April 24, 2013
Sue Ratz
314-977-8371

Alum Returns to Parks to Address Students at AIAA Conference

Fernando Abilleira, a mission design engineer and trajectory analyst with NASA, spoke about his experience helping to land the Curiosity Rover on Mars.

Pictured are, from left, Theodosios Alexander, Sc.D., dean of Parks College; Fernando Abilleira; John George, Ph.D., professor emeritus of aerospace and mechanical engineering; and Krishnaswamy Ravindra, Ph.D., associate dean.
Pictured are, from left, Theodosios Alexander, Sc.D., dean of Parks College; Fernando Abilleira; John George, Ph.D., professor emeritus of aerospace and mechanical engineering; and Krishnaswamy Ravindra, Ph.D., associate dean. Submitted photo

Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology hosted the Region V Conference of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) last week. Nearly 80 students from The U.S. Air Force Academy; University of Colorado Boulder; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; University of Minnesota; and Missouri University of Science and Technology attended and presented papers at the conference. Throughout the two-day event, students presented a total of 21 papers.

Parks students, Justin Krofta, Phillip Reyes, James Dreas and Joseph Kirwen took third-place in the team category competition of the conference. Their project was based on building an atmospheric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will fly on the planet Uranus to collect data. Additionally, Parks student Ben Winokur was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation Award by the Region V AIAA Student Regional Advisory Committee.

The conference concluded with a banquet and Parks alum as the keynote speaker. Fernando Abilleira (BSAE 99, MSAE 01) is a mission design engineer and trajectory analyst with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Abilleira spoke about his experiences with the Mars Sciences Laboratory project and the successful mission to land Curiosity Rover on Martian soil.

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