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Interstellar Flight Environments and Effects by Dr. Henry B. Garrett

November 21, 2020 @ 10:00 am 1:10 pm PST

(November 21, 2020) Interstellar Flight Environments and Effects by Dr. Henry B. Garrett

Nov 21, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 1:10 PM (PT)

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Saturday, November 21, 2020, 10 am PST

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AIAA LA-LV e-Town Hall Meeting


Interstellar Flight Environments and Effects



Dr. Henry B. Garrett

AIAA Fellow

Principal Scientist


Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Interstellar Flight Environments and Effects


Although no interstellar space mission has been designated as yet by NASA, it and a number of other organizations such at the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) have long considered the possibility of a mission to interstellar space (for example, the NASA Interstellar Probe Mission proposed in 1999) or to a nearby star (see the BIS’s 1973-1978 Daedalus Project study). Indeed, a number of conferences, papers, and books have addressed various aspects of such missions. In a previous AIAA study, the basic reliability needs of these missions were reviewed. Indeed, with the extended operation time of such missions in mind (typically 25-50 years), revolutionary reliability strategies need to be developed in the early design stages of these missions so that the vehicles may be maintained and, if necessary, easily reconfigured inflight. In addition, new design-for-reliability features will need to be invented to enhance the lifetime and improve the reliability of these vehicles. This, the second step in the study, will provide further insight into the key potential reliability areas that will need to be considered in planning such truly long life missions. Specifically, the talk will, following a review of current studies of long life missions:

1) Summarize key reliability requirements of these representative long life missions

2) Address perceived shortfalls in the current, long life reliability of microelectronics for extreme long life or interstellar space missions

3) Identify potential issues with current electronic systems exposed to radiation effects in excess of 10-50 years in the space environment

4) Recommend mitigation steps that need to be developed for microelectronics if missions in the 25-50 year range are to be possible with current technologies.


Dr. Henry B. Garrett


Dr. Garrett has a doctorate in Space Physics and Astronomy. He has over 150 publications on the space environment and its effects with specific emphasis in the areas of atmospheric physics, the low earth ionosphere, radiation, micrometeoroids, space plasma environments, and effects on materials and systems in space. While on active duty in the Air Force he served as Project Scientist for the highly successful SCATHA program which studied the effects of charging on spacecraft. For this he was awarded the Harold Brown Award, the Air Force’s highest scientific award. In 1992, he was selected for a joint DoD/NASA assignment at the Pentagon as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization where he acted as the Deputy Program Manager for the Clementine Lunar Mission and Program Manager for the Clementine InterStage Adapter Satellite (ISAS). For contributions to these missions, he was awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement. After a 30 years career in the USAF Reserves, he retired in 2002 as a full Colonel and was awarded the AF Legion of Merit. During his 40 year career at JPL, he has been responsible for defining the space environment and its effects on reliability for many NASA missions. He has also published several textbooks on the space environment and its impact on spacecraft design and reliability. Dr. Garrett is an international consultant on the terrestrial and interplanetary space environments and spacecraft reliability having worked for INTELSAT, L’Garde, NASDA, LORAL, CNES, and other organizations. In 2006 Dr. Garrett received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for “his achievements in advancing the understanding of space environments and effects.” Recently, Dr. Garrett co-authored with Mr. Albert Whittlesey the primary NASA standard on spacecraft surface and internal charging for earth missions. Dr. Garrett retired from full time duties at JPL in 2017 but continues in an emeritus position. He was made a Fellow of the AIAA in 2019.


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


November 21
10:00 am – 1:10 pm PST
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AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section

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