Parks College Hosts the 2017 Gateway to Space Conference, Receives Award

October 13, 2016
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Parks College News, Research

The St. Louis Space Frontier, the local chapter of the National Space Society, held their annual Gateway to Space conference at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology on Saturday, October 8, 2017. Attendees spent the day learning about topics in line with the National Space Society’s mission of promoting “people living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.”

The conference hosted the keynote speaker Brian Stofiel, an entrepreneur in the aerospace engineering industry, who discussed his most recent projects with satellite orbital launch systems and encouraged those working in space technologies to continue to innovate. Other presentation topics ranged from “The Role of Bioreactors in Space Farms” to “Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace.” Parks College students also presented at the conference. Nicholas Mercadante, Cody Chlanda, and Kate Clements presented “Undergraduate-Led CubeSat Development” where they shared their achievements and challenges in the Space Systems Research Laboratory. Aris Simsarian, Nicholas Hunsaker, Michael Blaser, and Max Pittman presented about their work with the Rocket Propulsion Laboratory.

gatewaytospace350x259Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D. (center), and Michael Swartwout, Ph. D. (right), received the Gateway to Space award on behalf of Parks College from Jim Merriman (left) of the St. Louis Space Frontier.

In 2014, the St. Louis Space Frontier started a tradition of giving the Gateway to Space award to St. Louis people and organizations that have impacted Space Exploration. This year, the organizational award was given to Parks College. Christine Nobbe, the Conference Chair and St. Louis Space Frontier Treasurer, explained that they chose to honor Parks College “for its historic contribution to aerospace engineering… Parks College has graduated many students who went on to contribute significantly to Space Exploration.”

Jim Merriman of the St. Louis Space Frontier, who studied aerospace engineering at Parks College in 1968, presented the award to Dr. Riyadh Hindi, Parks College Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research.  “I believe the education I received from Parks helped me to get my job as an assistant engineer at McDonnell Douglas in 1977 where I saw them building the Aft Propulsion System for the Space Shuttle Orbiter,” Merriman shared with the audience. “Besides graduating Gene Kranz, Parks College also graduated Kelly Beck who became a flight director for the International Space Station. Other graduates have also worked on Space projects. For these reasons, I and the other members of the St. Louis Space Frontier believe Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology is deserving of this Gateway to Space award.”


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