Simone D’Amico, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, along with his team at the Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB), recently received the Group Diploma of Honor from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). The award was established in 1965 to recognize significant contributions to the progress of aeronautics and astronautics by design offices, scientific bodies, aeronautical publications and other groups. D’Amico and his team were recognized for their significant contribution to the development of navigation systems for high-altitude aeronautics and astronautics applications, including flight recorders for the Airbus Perlan, an unpowered glider with an altitude world record of 76,000 feet.
The Space Rendezvous Laboratory conducts fundamental and applied research at the intersection of astrodynamics, navigation and control to enable future miniature distributed space systems. These miniature systems are composed of two or more small satellites that work together to accomplish objectives otherwise impossible to achieve using a large spacecraft. Some of their research projects include the miniature distributed occulter/telescope (mDOT), which images objects near distant stars, and the Starling formation-flying optical experiment (StarFOX) for autonomous optical navigation in deep space.
NAA, dedicated to the art, sport and science of aviation, is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States and a founding member of the FAI. D’Amico received the award on behalf of the SLAB team at the NAA fall awards dinner on Nov. 27 in Arlington, Virginia.