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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Guidance, Navigation and Control Graduate Award

Through its annual graduate scholarship program, the AIAA Foundation presents awards to graduate students doing excellent research in the air and space sciences. This scholarship has been sponsored by the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Technical Committee since 1998. Basic Criteria and other information can be found at <a href= >;
  • Full Name: Ved Chirayath
  • Entry: AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Graduate Award
  • 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.