Professors Raymond Sedwick, Norman Wereley, and David Akin on the JPL campus.

Professors Raymond Sedwick, Norman Wereley, and David Akin on the JPL campus.


NASA's JPL recognizes Maryland's position as one of the top aerospace programs in the world. The outstanding engineers and research originating from College Park are of great interest to JPL. In its efforts to strengthen the relationship between JPL and the U-Md. Aerospace Department, JPL welcomed Profs. Wereley, Akin, and Sedwick for a special VIP visit to its aesthetic campus this past February. The Professors visited some of JPL?s key facilities ? including the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) Human-Robot Systems Lab, the Mars Science Lab (MSL) rover testbed, JPL?s Mars Yard, and the Electric Propulsion lab. At each stop, the professors met with JPL?s foremost research engineers, who were eager to demonstrate their work and discuss collaboration possibilities.

Profs. Wereley and Akin gave a talk in JPL?s 321-Auditorium that was well-attended by JPL employees. Their presentation detailed various elements of UM?s aerospace research and impressive facilities. Of note, many of the JPL employees in attendance were former students of Prof. Akin. A number U-MD. alumni took advantage of the opportunity to catch up with their former professor afterward.

JPL has long been recognized as the world leader in robotic space exploration ? from the very first U.S. satellite, Explorer I in 1958 to the recent Curiosity landing on Mars. Now, as JPL moves forward and continues to push the boundaries of exploration, it recognizes the need for bright, young minds ? the kind that come from Maryland?s AE Department. JPL has recently hired several Terps for both full-time and summer internships, and this trend will only grow stronger.

With Maryland now in the Big 10 Conference, the football players have a chance to make it to Pasadena ? so do the Aerospace students!

Contributed by Aerospace Department Alum, David Mohr (B.S., '94)

April 1, 2013

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