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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Momentum Member Spotlight – October 2014

    AIAA Congratulates Dr. Roger M. Myers

    By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications

     

    Roger_M_MyersThe Member Spotlight shined its beam in a westerly direction this month, falling on Woodinville, Washington, and singling out Dr. Roger M. Myers, AIAA Fellow, and Executive Director of Advanced In-Space Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

    Myers joined Aerojet Rocketdyne in 1996, and oversees the programs and strategic planning for next Aerojet Rocketdyne’s next-generation, in-space missions. He also oversees the development of the architectures, propulsion, power, and integrated systems that will power those missions. Myers’ team is leading the way toward the development and production of chemical and electric space propulsion systems that will usher in the next generation of propulsion technology for space vehicles. Myers has also served as Deputy Lead of Space and Launch Systems and was also the General Manager of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s operations in Redmond, Washington.

    Prior to joining Aerojet Rocketdyne, Myers held supervisory and research positions at NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. During his eight-year tenure at NASA Glenn, Myers conducted research for the On-Board Propulsion Branch, which developed several of the propulsion technologies in use today on both commercial and government space missions. He is the author of more than 70 publications on spacecraft propulsion and advanced mission architectures.

    Myers’ honors include the 2014 AIAA Wyld Propulsion Award, honoring his “sustained high-value contributions to propulsion for U.S. and international space systems and services to aerospace propulsion communities.” In recognition of his work in the field of propulsion technology, the Washington Academy of Science voted Myers to membership in 2012.

    An AIAA member since 1980, Myers has been active in the affairs of the Institute, serving as Chair of AIAA’s Electric Propulsion Technical Committee from 1998 to 2000, and as an Associate Editor of AIAA’s Journal of Propulsion and Power from 1993 to 2008.

    Outside of AIAA, Myers serves as President of the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, where he also sits on the Board of Directors. He is also on the board of the Washington State Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation, as well as the board of the GenCorp Foundation – which promotes STEM education initiatives.

    Like so many of his generation, when asked what, or who, inspired him to enter the aerospace community, Myers cited the Apollo program, particularly the moon landing as the inspiration for his lifetime of dedication to the community, stating: “I was inspired by the Apollo moon landings and the quest to explore. My favorite memory is standing in our living room looking up at the moon with my parents just after Neil Armstrong first walked there.”

    When asked about his favorite career moment thus far, Myers relayed, “It’s hard to pick a single favorite – all my favorite memories are of working with teams of really capable people who are passionate about successfully developing and flying new rocket propulsion systems. I’ve been really lucky to have this opportunity both at NASA Glenn and at Aerojet Rocketdyne. There is nothing like watching your system enable a new mission – from landing on Mars, to new Earth observation capabilities, to enabling the military AEHF satellite.”

    When we discussed what advice Meyers would have for students currently studying aerospace in college, he replied that they should “Do what you are passionate about – it is hard work, and your career will be as good as you make it – so you want to pick a field that really excites you.”

    Myers had this advice for his peers, who will mentor and help form the next generation of our community: “Beyond the urging people to combine the obvious elements of hard work and technical excellence, I always encourage people to recognize they are part of a community, and that their competitors today will be their partners tomorrow and vice versa.” He continued, pointing out the benefits of active participation within the community, “This means you should work to develop and maintain your network of professional colleagues and friends, and find ways to actively participate in the aerospace community. Giving papers, presentations, mentoring new professionals, doing guest lectures – these are all ways to participate in the aerospace community.”

    For high school students who are thinking about a future role in the aerospace community, Myers had this advice: “Focus on critical thinking and getting practical experience,” explaining “by practical, I mean that they should get involved in a team that is building something, then test it until it breaks, and then figure out how to fix it. The process of learning from experience and feedback is what makes people successful – and very successful people do this very efficiently.”

    We closed the interview with Myers’ thoughts about AIAA. When asked about the value of AIAA to the aerospace community, Myers replied, “AIAA provides valuable networking and professional development forums through its conferences, committees, journals and policy efforts. Being a member of AIAA provides visibility in the broader aerospace community and helps develop the collaborations necessary for success.” AIAA congratulates Roger Myers on his selection for the AIAA Member Spotlight for October 2014, and thanks him for his many contributions to the propulsion systems that propel the space vehicles that transform our lives.