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Board # 73 : Developing an Aeronautical Engineering Technology Course for Commercial Space Operations

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Technology Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Tracy L. Yother Purdue University

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Tracy L. Yother is a PhD student in Career and Technical Education in the College of Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Ms. Yother currently teaches the undergraduate Powerplant Systems course in the Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AET) program. She possesses a B.S. and M.S. in Aviation Technology. She also holds an airframe and powerplant certificate.

Ms. Yother has 18 years’ experience in the aerospace and defense industry working for companies such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Pratt and Whitney. She has held positions in product support, customer support, and program management.

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Mary E. Johnson Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Mary E. Johnson earned her BS, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. After 5 years in aerospace manufacturing, Dr. Johnson joined the Automation & Robotics Research Institute in Fort Worth and was program manager for applied research programs. Fourteen years later, she was an Industrial Engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M - Commerce before joining the Aviation Technology department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2007 as an Associate Professor. She is a Co-PI on the FAA Center of Excellence for general aviation research known as PEGASAS and leads engineering efforts in the Air Transport Institute for Environmental Sustainability. Her research interests are aviation sustainability, data driven process improvement, and engine emissions.

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Brian Kozak Purdue University


James Thom Purdue University

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J. Mark Thom is an Associate Professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He teaches courses in the Aeronautical Engineering Technology program, as well as courses in design analysis. He is a co-director in Purdue’s National Test Facility for fuels and propulsion, and does applied research in fuel and propulsion. He has maintained research interests in propulsion systems and in fuels testing, and in areas related to the recruitment of women into aviation. He has worked on methods for re-integrating hands-on skills into engineering and engineering technology education. He was a team member on an international working group studying inappropriate crew response to engine malfunctions. Prior to coming to Purdue, he was a field engineer for a major aerospace corporation, and worked closely with major airframe and turbine engine OEM’s.

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Purdue University’s Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AET) program is engaging in curriculum development to cultivate the commercial space engineering technologists of the future. The engineering technologist is intended to be positioned between the design engineers who create the design, and the technicians who build and maintain the systems. The engineering technologist discipline has long been recognized in aircraft design and support, but is still an evolving area in the commercial space industry. The evolution continues as the new commercial space companies mature into organizational structures like legacy aerospace companies. The existing aviation focused engineering technology curriculum at Purdue prepares students for the needs of the aviation and aerospace industry today; however, the needs of the commercial space industry are different and require a different set of specialized knowledge in addition to the complementary knowledge. In this paper, the case is presented for the importance of the engineering technologist in the emerging commercial space industry. The case is also made for the value of having an engineering technology program that is combined with an external accreditation standard of sufficient standing to provide stability of the curricula in the program. Purdue’s AET bachelor’s degree program is accredited by the ABET – Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ABET-ETAC). Incorporation of the goals of Purdue’s IMPACT program are also discussed. Finally, the development of program outcomes of a first sophomore/junior course in a planned minor in space operations program are developed and mapped to the educational outcomes established by the AET program.

Yother, T. L., & Johnson, M. E., & Kozak, B., & Thom, J. (2017, June), Board # 73 : Developing an Aeronautical Engineering Technology Course for Commercial Space Operations Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27914

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