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News from the University of Maryland's Department of Aerospace Engineering  |  Fall 2019

Pioneering Breakthrough: Unmanned Aircraft Delivers Organ for Successful Kidney Transplant in Maryland

In a first-ever advancement in human medicine and aviation technology, a University of Maryland unmanned aircraft has delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore for successful transplantation into a patient with kidney failure. This successful demonstration illustrates the potential of unmanned aircraft systems for providing organ deliveries that, in many cases, could be faster, safer, and more widely available than traditional transport methods.

Faster, Safer, Cheaper

After a successful flight, the kidney is carried from the landing pad at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Photo courtesy of University of Maryland Medical Center.

Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics
Celebrates Five Years

Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WIAA) celebrates five years at the University of Maryland in 2019–20! The student-run WIAA fosters a professional and supportive community by empowering women with opportunities for leadership, technical and professional development, networking, outreach, and advocacy on behalf of female students. READ MORE.


Millennium Engineering Supports New Projects for the Maryland Near-Space Balloon Payload Program

Alumni Kerry Wisnoski (’86), co-founder of Millennium, provides new balloon payload project opportunities to help enhance student research capabilities.

Lockheed Martin Awards $3M to Clark School

A three-year, $3 million gift to the A. James Clark School of Engineering from Lockheed Martin will fund aerospace research while increasing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Dust in Space

Assistant Professor Hartzell is a participating scientist on the OSIRIS-REx mission currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu, and studies electrostatic forces to develop a better understanding of electrostatic forces on particles to improve understanding of the natural evolution of asteroids and helps inform the design of sampling methods and instruments on future asteroid exploration missions.

Map to Recovery

A University of Maryland drone pilot is heading to the Bahamas to provide an eye in the sky to help the island nation recover after category 5 Hurricane Dorian left at least 60 people dead and hundreds missing, causing an estimated $7 billion damage.

Five Years of Fearless Flight

The University of Maryland’s UAS Test Site is celebrating a milestone this year: five years since its launch in 2014 as a hub for research and innovation in the rapidly evolving field of unmanned aviation.

Reporters Experience UMD’s Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel

Reporters from major news outlets braved hurricane-force winds as they stood in the University of Maryland’s Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel (GLMWT) on August 14, 2019. The occasion: the university’s annual Wind Tunnel Media Day, which draws TV reporters from various national and regional networks to visit the facility, a state-of-the art low-speed wind tunnel that has been actively involved in aerodynamic research and development since 1949.


Taking Flight

Students Take Top Honors at 36th Annual Student Design Competition for the Vertical Flight Society (VFS). This year marks the 17th first place win for UMD in the Graduate Design Category and third straight win for students the Undergraduate Design Category.

Student Team Takes 2nd Place at IROS

An interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Huan “Mumu” Xu took second place in the autonomous drone racing event at the prestigious 2019 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Macau.

University of Maryland hosts AIAA Region 1 Student Conference; Win Four Out of Nine Awards

Found in Space

Student capstone design project which envisioned a three-armed space station comes alive in New York Times bestselling author Daniel Suarez’s latest book, “Delta-v.”


Aerospace Engineering Faculty Selected for Next Phase of Small Spacecraft Mission

Christine Hartzell, assistant professor in the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, is the mission scientist on Janus, one of three finalist missions selected by NASA for future small satellites.

Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus Appointed Director of Defense Research and Engineering

Mark Lewis has been named as the Pentagon’s new director of defense research and engineering for modernization and will be a deputy to Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin.

Distinguished UMD Alumnus and Faculty Member Dr. Norris J. Krone, Jr. Passes at 88

Dr. Norris J. Krone, Jr. (Colonel, USAF Ret.) passed away June 28, 2019. Krone was a driving force behind the development of the X-29 Forward Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator airplane, one of the first planes built with a practical forward swept wing design.


Alumna Demonstrates There are Many Roads to Becoming an Astronaut

During events on campus November 25, students, faculty, and visitors had the opportunity to listen to alumna Jeanette Epps (M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’00) discuss her experiences as an engineer and astronaut.

Aerospace Graduate's Gift Elevates Teacher's Legacy

Two years ago, a serious medical diagnosis for Jim Rand (’61, M.S. ’63, Ph.D. ’67) led the alumnus to reflect on his long career and many remarkable successes in aerospace engineering. He thought back to whom he wanted to thank—and how.

That person was Robert “Bob” Rivello (’43, M.S. ’48 mechanical engineering), who taught Rand and many other students in the University of Maryland’s Department of Aerospace Engineering before he passed away in 1991.

“Bob Rivello stood out,” says Rand, “as the one individual who helped me learn how to be an engineer, supported me in all my research, and was generally someone I looked up to.”
Are you looking to honor a faculty member who made an impact on a student, past or present?

The Department of Aerospace Engineering welcomes gifts to this or any scholarship fund. Learn more by contacting Almarie Wood at or 301-405-9836.

Or visit
Contributions to the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Maryland help create more educational and research opportunities for our students, faculty, and department. Your contribution, no matter how large or small, can have an impact on a student today, and create far reaching impacts for tomorrow.

The Aerospace Engineering Chair's Undergraduate Education Fund supports initiatives and awards for undergraduates at the discretion of the Department Chair such as, but not limited to awards, student team materials, conference and competition travel, and student grants. Learn More About How You Can Support Aerospace Engineering at Maryland
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