SWE Member and research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), Asha Balakrishnan, was one out of four recipients of the IDA 2020 Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication. Named in honor of former IDA President General Larry D. Welch (USAF, ret.), the award was established in 2011 to honor individuals whose external publications exemplify General Welch’s high standards of analytic excellence and relevance.
“Characterizing the Orbital Debris Environment Using Satellite Perturbation Anomaly Data” was published in the Conference Proceedings of the International Orbital Debris Conference, December 2019.
The IDA authors developed a novel concept to identify space debris. NASA has identified untracked orbital debris as one of the most serious threats to satellites in low Earth orbit, where some 20,000 commercial communications and web services satellites are expected to reside in the coming years. The concept involves translating changes in GPS position and temporary breaks in communications links to the corresponding mass of small impacting orbital debris. This approach can potentially provide a better understanding of the low-Earth-orbit debris environment that affects satellite design.
About Asha Balakrishnan:
Balakrishnan earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign in 1997. She earned her master’s degree in 1999 and a doctoral degree in 2007, both in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Evaluation Association, and the Society of Women Engineers.
Currently, she is on a one-year leave of absence from IDA while she completes the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
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