My name is Shamir Shah and I am currently a senior at Iowa State University. I will be graduating in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. Upon graduation, I am hoping to obtain a full-time position with a major industrial corporation or government organization that will allow me to fully utilize as well as continue to develop my skills as an Aerospace Engineer. From an aerodynamics perspective, my primary areas of interest are in the applications and development of V/STOL aircraft as well as the aerodynamics involved with planetary atmospheric entry vehicles. Turbomachinery, propulsion systems, and deep-space exploration are three other areas that I would be interested to work with and learn more about. After several years of working full time, eventually I would like to continue with my education and obtain either a Master’s Degree or a PhD. I am also working for the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University as a Peer Mentor for AerE 261: Introduction to Performance and Design.
During the remainder of this semester, I am going to be researching methods for estimating the landing footprint of a Near-Earth Asteroid sample return space capsule. This investigation will primarily focus on three sample return missions that have either been completed in the past few years, or are currently works in progress. These missions include the Hayabusa mission of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), MarcoPolo-R from the European Space Agency (ESA), and the OSIRIS-Rex mission scheduled to be launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in September 2016. The primary objectives of this proposed program are three fold. The first goal is to develop a computationally efficient method to approximate all possible landing footprints of a sample return space capsule utilizing a ballistic re-entry flight trajectory. Once this has been accomplished, the next step would be to further research the planetary effects (such as centripetal force) that act on various re-entry vehicles and incorporate such factors into the developed model. The third objective is to use the completed model to numerically simulate the re-entry phase of an actual sample return mission—such as Hayabusa, for example—and compare the results with the actual measurements obtained by NASA and JAXA during the Hayabusa space capsule re-entry in June 2010.
In addition to applying all that I have learned during my time at Iowa State University, I am eager to learn more about this topic as well as continuing to develop my skills as an engineer. For me, this opportunity could not have come at a better time, as it will help me with this next phase of my career, involving the transition from college into the job market.