john foster portrait

John Foster named Associate Fellow of the AIAA

Professor Foster is recognized for his work on ion thruster life extension.

Professor John Foster of U-M Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) has been named a 2020 Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

According to the AIAA website, the grade of Associate Fellow recognizes individuals “who have accomplished or been in charge of important engineering or scientific work, or who have done original work of outstanding merit, or who have otherwise made outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics.” To be selected as an Associate Fellow, an individual must be an AIAA Senior Member in good standing, with at least twelve years professional experience, and be recommended by a minimum of three current Associate Fellows.

Foster was recognized for his work on ion thruster life extension via the use of electroless plasma production such as microwave ECR and ion engine efficiency through magnetic circuit design. The microwave engine that he designed while at NASA was the original baseline engine for the Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter mission. It was the largest microwave ion engine ever built.

On being named Fellow, Foster said, “I am very honored to have received this award from AIAA and to stand with so many accomplished scientists and engineers. It’s a blessing to receive it and I am soundly thankful.”

Foster’s research focus is on understanding and applying plasma science to real world problems. He is particularly fascinated with space propulsion with emphasis on space-related plasma projects. He’s also deeply interested in improving the environment through use of plasma-based remediation technologies.

Within NERS, Foster is the Masters student graduate chair and a DEI Department co-lead for NERS, believing that “diversity is a necessary ingredient in the solution of an engineering problem.”

The AIAA formally inducted the 2020 Class of Associate Fellows on Monday, 6 January 2020, in Orlando, Florida during the AIAA SciTech Forum.

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