AIAA Recognizes Excellence in Aerospace with Awards to be Presented During the 2021 AIAA SciTech Forum Written 6 January 2021


January 6, 2021 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the winners of awards to be presented during the 2021 AIAA SciTech Forum, to be held virtually 11–15 and 19–21 January. The Awards Ceremony to fully recognize these award winners is set for Wednesday, 20 January at 1630 hrs ET. The Awards Ceremony is free virtual event. Visit the 2021 AIAA SciTech Recognition page for more information.

“We are proud to recognize these exemplary professionals for their accomplishments in the aerospace profession, outstanding merit, and contributions to the art, science, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics. They motivate and inspire us,” said Daniel Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “The AIAA community is fueled by visionaries, technological leaders, and accomplished professionals like those recognized here, all working together to build a better world.”

In addition to these awards, AIAA Sustained Service Awardees, best professional and student papers winners, and student paper competition winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony.

For more information about the AIAA Honors and Awards program, contact Patricia A. Carr at

Education Awards

Abe M. Zarem Graduate Award for Distinguished Achievement in Aeronautics
The Zarem Award was established by AIAA and Dr. Abe Zarem as a means for students pursuing advanced degrees (master’s level candidates) in aeronautics to showcase their talent and work.

Nathan T. Crane, Georgia Institute of Technology
Paper titled,“Preliminary Active Subspace Investigation of a Commercial Supersonic Design Space”

Abe M. Zarem Educator Award in Aeronautics
The faculty advisor of the student winner of the Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement (Aeronautics) is recognized for his role in guiding and mentoring the student.

Dimitri Mavris, Georgia Institute of Technology, Advisor to Nathan T. Crane

Abe M. Zarem Graduate Award for Distinguished Achievement in Astronautics
The Zarem Student Award was established by AIAA and Dr. Abe Zarem as a means for students pursuing advanced degrees (master’s level candidates) in astronautics to showcase their talent and work.

Aaron Afriat and Sandeep Baskar, Purdue University
Paper titled, “Atmospheric Breathing Solid-Fuel Ramjet for Martian Descent Missions”

Abe M. Zarem Educator Award in Astronautics
The faculty advisor of the student winner of the Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement (Astronautics) is recognized for his role in guiding and mentoring the student.

Stephen Heister, Purdue University, Advisor to Aaron Afriat and Sandeep Baskar

2020 AIAA-ASEE J. Leland Atwood Award
This award recognizes a recent outstanding educational achievement and encourages innovative improvements in aerospace education.

Byron D. Tapley, University of Texas at Austin
For the lasting influence of his recent contributions to aerospace engineering education.
Publication Awards

2021 AIAA Children’s Literature Award
This award is presented for an outstanding, significant, and original book in aeronautics and astronautics published within the last two years.

Billie Holladay Skelley, Goldminds Publishing, Amphorae Publishing
Ruth Law: The Queen of the Air

2021 AIAA Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award
The award is presented for the best original contribution to the field of aeronautical or astronautical non-fiction literature published in the last five years dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics or astronautics on society.

Slava Gerovitch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Soviet Space Mythologies: Public Images, Private Memories, andthe Making of a Cultural Identity

2021 AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award
This award is presented for an outstanding contribution or contributions to aeronautical and astronautical literature in the relatively recent past.

Tim C. Lieuwen, Georgia Institute of Technology
For outstanding contributions to the development of aerospace literature in combustion and propulsion, particularly in unsteady combustor physics, gas turbine emissions, and synthesis gas combustion.

2021 AIAA Summerfield Book Award
The award is presented to the author of the best book recently published (within the last five years) by AIAA.

John D. Anderson, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Hypersonic and High-Temperature Gas Dynamics, Third Edition
Service Award

2021 AIAA Diversity and Inclusion Award
This award recognizes an individual or group within AIAA who has devoted time and effort and made significant contributions to the advancement of diversity and inclusion within the Institute.

Dexter Johnson, NASA Glenn Research Center
For your significant contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion within the aerospace and astronautics community through your AIAA collaborations with students and industry partners.
Technical Awards

2020 AIAA Aerodynamics Award
This award is presented for meritorious achievement in the field of applied aerodynamics, recognizing notable contributions in the development, application, and evaluation of aerodynamic concepts and methods.

Mark D. Maughmer, Pennsylvania State University
For foundational developments in airfoil and wing design, advancement of novel airfoil  configurations, and contributions to rotorcraft aeromechanics.

2020 AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award
This award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the development and/or application of techniques of multidisciplinary design optimization in the context of aerospace engineering.

Raymond M. Kolonay, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
For visionary leadership in the MDO community and development of nonlinear unsteady aeroelastic optimization methods and collaborative/distributed architectures enabling large-scale multidisciplinary aircraft design.

2020 AIAA Propellants & Combustion Award
This award is is presented for outstanding technical contributions to aeronautical or astronautical combustion engineering.

Meredith B. Colket, III, United Technologies Research Center (retired)
For pioneering contributions in the development of endothermic fuels leading to demonstration of the X-51 and coordinating technology programs supporting certification of alternative jet fuels.

2021 AIAA Ashley Award for Aeroelasticity
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding and application of aeroelastic phenomena. 

Eli Livne, University of Washington
For carrying out foundational works for aeroservoelastic optimization; leadership in maturing active flutter suppression to practice; and for major contributions to dissemination of aeroelastic knowledge.

2021 AIAA-ASC James H. Starnes Jr. Award
This award recognizes significant contribution to and demonstrated promotion of the field of structural mechanics over an extended period of time emphasizing practical solutions, and acknowledges high professionalism and the strong mentoring of and influence on colleagues, especially younger colleagues.

David Bushnell, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired)
For pioneering contributions to the analysis and design of thin-shell structures and enduring leadership in the application and preservation of that knowledge for future generations.

2021 AIAA Information Systems Award
This award recognizes outstanding technical and/or management contributions in space and aeronautics computer, sensing, and fusion aspects of information technology and science.

Erik P. Blasch, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
For technical leadership and innovation in information fusion systems for avionics, space situational awareness, and airborne sensing

2021 AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award 
This award is presented for an outstanding recent technical or scientific contribution by an individual in the mechanics, guidance, or control of flight in space or the atmosphere.

Fred Y. Hadaegh, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
For extraordinary contributions for advances in the theory, computation, and implementation of autonomous guidance, navigation, and control of single and distributed spacecraft systems.

Media contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804.397.5270

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.