AE Presents: Dr. John Dec

Thu Jan 31 2019 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Guggenheim 442
Fundamentals of Atmospheric Reentry

You're invited to hear

"Fundamentals of Atmospheric Reentry"


Dr. John Dec

Terminal Velocity Aerospace (TVA) | SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. ​
Ph.D. AE '10

Thursday, January 31
11 am - 12 pm
Guggenheim 442


Direct Entry into a planet’s atmosphere, either from low orbit or a hyperbolic approach orbit is an important element of space exploration. Numerous missions to Mars, return from low Earth orbit, as well as sample return missions to Earth from a hyperbolic approach orbit such as Stardust, have all utilized direct entry as a means to reduce their relative velocity and land safely on the planet’s surface.  In this lecture, the aerodynamic forces acting upon a capsule as it reenters a planet’s atmosphere will be discussed and the fundamental equations of motion for direct entry will be developed.  Additionally, the fundamental parameters which affect the vehicles entry trajectory such as flight path angle and ballistic coefficient will be described and discussed.  The lecture will conclude with a discussion on the aerothermodynamic environment the capsule is exposed to during reentry.  The fundamental vehicle characteristics as well as the trajectory parameters which affect the entry heating will be discussed.

About the Speaker
Dr. Dec is the Program Manager for Terminal Velocity Aerospace (TVA), a subsidiary of SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dr. Dec’s area of expertise is in reentry vehicle technologies, in particular, thermal protection system design and analysis, aerothermodynamics, and spacecraft thermal control.

Dr Dec’s recent projects at TVA have included assessing thermal protection system requirements for an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) hypersonic vehicle capable of reaching Mach 10, managing TVA’s first RED-Data2 flight vehicle project under contract with NASA Johnson Space Center, and he is currently serving as the aerothermal team lead for Generation Orbit’s X60A hypersonic rocket vehicle. 

Prior to joining Terminal Velocity Aerospace, Dr. Dec was a senior thermal analyst at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. in the Structural and Thermal Systems Branch.  During his 16 years at NASA he made substantial contributions on programs such as Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) flexible TPS, the Crew Exploration Vehicle Thermal Protection System Advanced Development Project, NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Autonomous Aerobraking Project, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Aerobraking, Mars Odyssey Aerobraking and Mars Sample Return Earth Entry Vehicle.  Dr. Dec has been called upon to serve as a subject matter expert in the areas of thermal protection system design and spacecraft thermal control on numerous review boards.  Dr. Dec has authored numerous journal articles and conference papers related to thermal protection systems and advanced thermal analysis methods.  He also served as a member of the AIAA Thermophysics Technical Committee for four years.  

Dr. Dec received his Doctorate and Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.         


Guggenheim 442