Distinguished Guest Lecturer: Brian M. Kent
TITLE: Characterization of Space Shuttle Ascent Debris Based on Radar Scattering and Ballistic Properties – Evolution of the NASA Debris Radar (NDR) System
Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Time: 3:00 PMLocation: MIT Lincoln Laboratory (Auditorium) Refreshments served at 2:30pm
Abstract: This presentation (with optional break) introduces the NASA Debris Radar (NDR) system developed to characterize debris liberated by the space shuttle (and any follow-on rocket system) during its ascent into space. Radar technology is well suited for characterizing shuttle ascent debris, and is especially valuable during night launches when optical sensors are severely degraded. The shuttle debris mission presents challenging radar requirements in terms of target detection and tracking, minimum detectable radar cross-section (RCS), calibration accuracy, power profile management, and operational readiness. After setting the stage with background of the Columbia accident, I initially describe the NDR system consists of stationary C-band radar located at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and two X-band radars deployed to sea during shuttle missions. To better understand the signature of the shuttle stack, Xpatch calculations were generated at C and X band to predict the radar signature as a function of launch time. These calculations agreed very well with measured data later collected. Various sizes, shapes, and types of shuttle debris materials were characterized using static and dynamic radar measurements and ballistic coefficient calculations. After an (Optional) break, my second Part discusses the NASA Debris Radar (NDR) successes, which led to a new challenge of processing and analyzing the large amount of radar data collected by the NDR systems and extracting information useful to the NASA debris community. Analysis tools and software codes were developed to visualize the shuttle metric data in real-time, visualize metric and signature data during post-mission analysis, automatically detect and characterize debris tracks in signature data, determine ballistic numbers for detected debris objects, and assess material type, size, release location and threat to the orbiter based on radar scattering and ballistic properties of the debris. Future applications for space situational awareness and space-lift applications will also be discussed.
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Dr. Brian M. Kent is a Consultant in Aerospace, Science, and Technology, and an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering with Michigan State University's Department of Electrical Engineering. He recently completed 37 years of Service to the United States Air Force having most recently served as the Chief Technology Officer of Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. As CTO, he was AFRL’s principal scientific and technical expert for a 6,500 person organization while overseeing a $2.2B+ research portfolio. He is an internationally recognized scientific expert, and provided technical advice to AFRL management and the professional staff. He has significant experience in engineering education, radar, radar signature, and other radio frequency technologies. He is currently a consultant supporting both academic, and industrial partners related to the aerospace industry.
During his previous tenure as AFRL’s Sensor’s Directorate Chief Scientist, he served as the directorate's principal scientific and technical adviser and primary authority for the technical content of the science and technology portfolio. He identified research gaps and analyzes advancements in a broad variety of scientific fields, providing advice on their impact on laboratory programs and objectives. He served as an internationally recognized scientific expert, and provided authoritarian counsel and advice to AFRL management and the professional staff as well as to other government organizations. He collaborated on numerous interdisciplinary research problems that encompass multiple AFRL directorates, customers from other DOD components, as well as the manned space program managed by NASA.
Dr. Kent also served the USAF as Senior Scientist for Low Observables and Electromagnetics, Air Force Research Laboratory, where he performed and directed research, and development activities at the Multi-Spectral Radar Signature Measurement Facility, His primary responsibilities include the development and transition of advanced low observable electromagnetic analysis and measurement techniques to the Department of Defense and their aerospace industrial partners, and profoundly impacted the development and deployment of the F-117, B-2, F-22, and F-35 for the USAF. Dr. Kent's fundamental research interests encompass extremely broadband electromagnetic test and evaluation techniques, with special emphasis on the acquisition of measured performance data from basic 6.1/6.2 technology components through fully fielded and sustained weapon systems
Dr. Kent joined the Air Force Avionics Laboratory in 1976 as cooperative engineering student through Michigan State University. He received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in 1979, working at both the Air Force Wright Aeronautical Laboratories and the Ohio State University Electroscience Laboratory until the completion of his doctorate. During his tenure with AFRL and its predecessor organizations, Dr. Kent held a variety of positions, making pioneering and lasting contributions to the areas of signature measurement technology, and successfully established international standards for performing radar signature testing before retiring from the USAF after 37 years of service.
Dr Kent was a lecturer for Georgia Tech Research Institute for over 9 years, and concurrently became an adjunct professor in 1998 at Michigan State University, and has served the department on the Visiting Committee, ABET accreditation, ECE Chair Search Committee, Deans Search Committee, and Dean’s advisory Committee. He has also participated in reforming the Senior Design Project classes, and has served for many years as a judge at the Spring and Fall Engineering “design day”.
Dr. Kent has authored and co-authored more than 90 archival articles and technical reports and has written key sections of classified textbooks and design manuals. He has delivered more than 200 lectures, and developed a special DOD Low Observables Short Course that has been taught to more than 3,000 scientists and engineers since its inception in 1989. Dr. Kent has provided technical advice and counsel to a wide range of federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice and NASA's Space Shuttle Program. He is also an international technical adviser for the DOD and has provided basic research guidance to leading academic institutions.
1980 BS degree in electrical engineering, highest honors, Michigan State University, East Lansing
1981 MS degree in electrical engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus
1984 Doctor of Philosophy degree in electrical engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus
AWARDS AND HONORS
2014 Distinguished Presidential Rank Award Finalist
2014 Claude Erickson Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, Michigan State University
2009 Meritorious Presidential Rank Award
Fellow, Air Force Research Laboratory
Samuel Burka Award (two-time winner), Avionics Laboratory
Best Paper Award, National Conference of Standards Laboratory
Signature Technology Management Excellence Award, AFRL
Signature Technology Director's Award, AFRL
William F. Bahret Signature Technology Technical Achievement Award, AFRL
Director's Award, Sensors Directorate, AFRL
Letter of Commendation, B-2 Systems Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Division
Staff Recognition Award, Columbia Accident Investigation Board
Letter of Commendation, NASA
External Customer Support Award, Sensors Directorate, AFRL
John D. Ryder Distinguished Alumni Award, Michigan State University
Best Dissertation in Electrical Engineering, Ohio State University
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, Antenna and Propagation Society
Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Fellow, Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA)
Former Technical Coordinator, Vice President and President, AMTA
Associate Editor, Editorial board, IEEE Antenna and Wireless Propagation Letters
Former Associate Editor, "AMTA Corner," IEEE Antenna and Propagation Magazine
Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Societies