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(AIAA) – Future Propulsion: Nuclear fission, fusion, & beyond (Jim Cavera); Mars 2020 (Michael Staab)

February 13 @ 10:00 - 13:10

Future Propulsion: Nuclear fission, fusion, & beyond (Jim Cavera); Mars 2020 (Michael Staab)
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AIAA LA-LV e-Town Hall Meeting

Saturday, February 13, 2021 (online on Zoom)

10 AM (PST) (Add to Calendar: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/addtocalendar?oeidk=a07ehhdq80c79d5a1cb)

RSVP and Information: https://conta.cc/3mLAJIj

(Part I)

Future Propulsion: Nuclear fission, fusion, and beyond


Jim Cavera

Distinguished Lecturer, AIAA

Senior Engineer, Blue Origin

(Part II)

Mars 2020: Perseverance and the Search for Life on Mars


Michael Staab

(The Mars 2020 Guy/Guru)

Fault Management and Autonomous Systems Principal Engineer,

Northrop Grumman Corporation

(Former JPL Mars 2020 Engineer)

Tentative Agenda (All Time PST) (Pacific Standard Time, US and Canada)

10:05 am: Dr. Chandrashekhar Sonwane (Welcome, AIAA LA LV Section Chair)

10:10 am: Mr. Jim Cavera (Blue Origin)

11:40 am: Mr. Michael Staab (Northrop Grumman Corporation)

01:10 pm: Adjourn


“Future Propulsion: Nuclear fission, fusion, and beyond.”

Nuclear propulsion promises performance many orders of magnitude better than chemical propulsion. Chemical propulsion can give us the moon, but nuclear propulsion can give us the solar system and even the stars. In this talk, I will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of nuclear propulsion, the historical experiments, and the prospects for the future. At the discretion of the organizers, I can focus on fission, fusion, or other future concepts.

Jim Cavera is a senior engineer with Blue Origin. He has undergraduate degrees in optical engineering and physics, and his graduate work was in nuclear engineering and aerospace engineering, during which he explored the use of dense plasma focus devices for interstellar travel. He has served for many years on AIAA’s Nuclear and Future Flight technical committee and is currently its publication director. His current research is in neutronics and MHD codes for fusion device simulation.


Michael Staab is a Fault Management and Autonomous Systems Principal Engineer at Northrop Grumman Corporation, supporting fault management and system autonomy design for the Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Laboratories Human Lander System entry and the NASA Gateway program. In his time with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he was a Flight System Systems Engineer for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission, a Spacecraft Systems Engineer and Flight Director for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, a flight controller, or ACE, for the Cassini spacecraft, and a Mission Systems’ Systems Engineer for the Mars 2020 rover. Michael is a PhD student in the Department of Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California, with research interests in autonomy, system resiliency, and fault management. Additionally, Michael is an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer in the United States Navy Reserves, supporting the NAVAIR and Navy Space Cadre communities. Michael holds a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University and a Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


AIAA LA-LV Section | events.aiaalalv@gmail.com | aiaa-lalv.org

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February 13
10:00 - 13:10
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AIAA Los Angeles – Las Vegas