Astronaut to support aerospace

11 July 2013

Dr Greg Chamitoff: "Aboard the space station, you feel like you can reach out and touch the future."
Dr Greg Chamitoff: "Aboard the space station, you feel like you can reach out and touch the future."

'Reach out and touch the future' says renowned aeronautical engineer and NASA astronaut Dr Greg Chamitoff who has been appointed the Lawrence Hargrave Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Sydney.

The astronaut has previously been a visiting lecturer at the University of Sydney, teaching courses in flight dynamics and control, and leading a research team in the development of flight control techniques for autonomous aircraft.

For NASA, he has developed software programs for control, monitoring, analysis and maneuver optimisation for the International Space Station (ISS). He has conducted cutting edge science experiments while in space. During his time aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour he installed a particle physics experiment aimed at unlocking the mysteries of anti-matter and dark matter.

He also performed two spacewalks, the last of which marked the completion of the International Space Station assembly and was the final spacewalk of the Space Shuttle Program.

Dr Chamitoff says as a young boy he was captivated by space exploration and the science fiction television series Star Trek. His desire to become an astronaut was also fuelled by the international space race which dominated the news at the time.

Having achieved his boyhood dream, Dr Chamitoff says one of his new missions is to inspire the next generation of young space explorers to study aeronautical and space engineering both in the USA and here at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

"The technological world of today is the product of several generations of engineers and scientists who were similarly inspired, and grew up with a positive vision for the future and a passion for making it come true," said Dr Chamitoff.

After his first ISS mission he said: "Aboard the space station, you feel like you can reach out and touch the future."

Following his initial space mission Dr Chamitoff helped inspire Zero Robotics, the world's first space robot programming competition for high school students. The International Space Station competition has students write programs for free-flying satellites called SPHERES, soccer-ball-sized robots that fly around inside the space station. Teams selected for the championship have their programs tested via live broadcast from the ISS.

Professor Archie Johnston, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information and Technology, said:

"The University is delighted to have Greg accept the position of Lawrence Hargrave Professor of Aeronautical Engineering.

"With his with vast experience and insights from working with government and industry as part of the International Space Station program, he will help us achieve and develop a stronger aerospace industry in Australia."

Greg Chamitoff holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, a MS in Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech, a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and a MS degree in Space Science from the University of Houston Clearlake.

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