October 28, 2020

Two faculty members in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin have been elected to the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) for 2020. Membership of the organization is exclusive, requiring election by academy peers. IAA members have distinguished themselves in either a field of astronautics or a branch of science the supports the exploration of space in their own countries.

Established by Theodore Von Karman in Stockholm, Sweden in 1960, the IAA’s mission is to foster the development of astronautics for peaceful purposes. Made up of members from approximately 83 countries across the globe, IAA was recognized as an independent non-governmental organization by the United Nations in 1996.

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Associate professor Moriba Jah was elected a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Associate professor Moriba Jah was elected a full, lifetime member of the IAA. Jah, who holds the Mrs. Pearlie Dashiell Henderson Centennial Fellowship in Engineering, is a self-proclaimed space environmentalist working to address the growing issue of space debris orbiting the Earth. His research interests are in non-gravitational astrodynamics and advanced/non-linear multi-sensor/object tracking, prediction and information fusion, with expertise in space object detection, tracking, identification, and characterization, as well as spacecraft navigation. His research program, ASTRIA (Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics), developed the first publicly available knowledge graph for space traffic monitoring called ASTRIAGraph, which combines multiple sources of information about anthropogenic space objects orbiting the Earth.

Jah is a world-renowned speaker in the area of space traffic management and control and is the first aerospace engineer to become a TED Fellow. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Space Management, is a permanent member of the IAA Space Debris Technical Committee, a member of the Astrodynamics Technical Committee of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Jah earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder specializing in astrodynamics and statistical orbit determination. He joined the Cockrell School of Engineering in 2017. Learn more about Jah’s work in his new monthly op-ed column, Jahniverse (AIAA’s Aerospace America) and in his webcast series (SpaceWatch.Global).

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Professor Maruthi Akella was elected a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Professor Maruthi Akella was elected to the IAA as a corresponding member. Corresponding members are eligible for full membership after two years, with retirement after five years. Akella holds the Ashley H. Priddy Centennial Professorship in Engineering. He specializes in the control of complex dynamical systems that are subject to large scale nonlinearities and uncertainties. He has received several awards for his work including the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award and the Judith A. Resnik Space Award from the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society. He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and an IEEE Senior Member. Akella has served on the Cockrell School of Engineering faculty since 1999 and directs the Center for Autonomous Air Mobility (CAAM).