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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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Guidance, Navigation and Control Graduate Award

This program was instituted in 1998 by the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Technical Committee. Eligible applicants will be participating (or plan on future participation) in research endeavors that will impact one or more of the areas of guidance, navigation, and control as part of their graduate studies. Official recognition will be in conjunction with the Awards Presentation Ceremony at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum (SciTech). In addition, the AIAA Foundation will present the recipient with a special recognition plaque in honor of this award. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply, as are students at non-U.S. schools. Past winners are ineligible for 3 years, after which they can apply again
  • Full Name: Ved Chirayath
  • Category: Graduate
  • AIAA Citation: Graduate Award
  • Notes: Born to Belgian and Indian immigrants in Arizona, Ved Chirayath grew up in Southern California with a passion for human space exploration. In 2003, as a sophomore in high school, he modified a consumer digital camera and telescope to detect a new extra-solar planet, 150 light years away and roughly twice the size of Jupiter. Later that year, Ved received the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Distinguished Scientist Award and enrolled as the first American at Moscow State University’s Physics Department. After four and a half years in Russia, Ved transferred to Stanford University’s Physics Department to study Astrophysics and is currently pursuing his dream of becoming the first LGBTQ identified astronaut while a graduate student at Stanford’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 2011, he demonstrated the first controlled flight in history of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle using plasma actuators-novel, lightweight, efficient flow control devices blended onto the surface of the wing with no moving parts. Currently, he is working with NASA Ames on developing a fundamentally novel telescope system called HiMARC.