UW Today

October 12, 2011

Up in the air – Engineering aerospace for sustainability

Mary Armstrong spends her days trying to engineer sustainability for The Boeing Company.  This alum of UW will talk about how Boeing is shrinking its carbon footprint both in the air – by the use of more efficient aircraft – and on the ground – by shrinking water and energy use.

Armstrong is the first speaker on Oct. 26 in the three- part Wednesday lecture series in Kane Hall.  The lectures are free, but registration is recommended.

Cleaner and greener airplanes and ground operations are not just for the commercial side of aviation.  Tim Vinopal, another UW alum and Boeing leader, will talk about the militarys use of hydrogen and solar-powered unmanned aircraft and what he calls “re-powering” the military. He will explain developments in alternative fuels for tactical aircraft and smart-grid electrical systems for government buildings.

Last in the series is UW Professor Mehran Mesbahi, who will offer insights from both engineering and biology on autonomous vehicles that can be linked together to take on complex aerospace missions. Mesbahi is the principal investigator of the Distributed Space Systems Lab. The drone craft that Mesbahi helps imagine and engineer could be satellites orbiting around the sun and searching for exoplanets.