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ODU Faculty Members Get State Aerospace Reappointment

Gov. Timothy Kaine has reappointed two Old Dominion University faculty members to positions on the state's Aerospace Advisory Council.

Bob Ash, professor of aerospace engineering and director of the Wind Tunnel Enterprise Center, and Billie Reed, assistant professor of engineering management on assignment as executive director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, were reappointed to one-year terms on the council.

Since the late 1990s, Ash has led a team of ODU researchers who have done public- and private-sector research into the aerodynamics of vehicles - from models on up to tractor-trailer trucks - as well as garden sheds and wind turbines.

The ODU team has used the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel at Langley Air Force Base, the largest university-led wind tunnel in the world. Built in 1931, the tunnel is scheduled to be decommissioned this year by NASA, which has governing authority.

Reed was the first director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA), an agency created to position the state at the leading edge of the growing market of commercial space flight. The "home port" of the VCSFA is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), a public-private partnership utilizing the historic Wallops Island launch facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

As contracts start to be signed with large corporations and NASA, ODU's investment of money and expertise in the 1990s, including the loan of Reed to become the VCSFA executive director, may turn out to be prescient.

The MARS partnership includes ODU, NASA and the states of Virginia and Maryland. The spaceport is operated by the VCSFA, the ODU Research Foundation is its fiscal agent. ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology offers technology and aerospace engineering support for MARS.

Other Aerospace Advisory Council members include academic, business and government leaders in Virginia's burgeoning aerospace industry.

This article was posted on: September 14, 2009

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