Dr. Kyle T. Alfriend, TEES Distinguished Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been appointed a University Distinguished Professor. The title, which is bestowed in perpetuity, is among the highest honors awarded to Texas A&M faculty members.
For more than 40 years, Alfriend has been making key contributions to the understanding of the flight mechanics and control of space vehicles. His career includes an unusually rich mix of experience in academia, industry and government.
Alfriend’s innovations appear prominently in subjects as diverse as analytical celestial mechanics; satellite formation flying; attitude dynamics and control; surveillance of space; probabilistic problems in astrodynamics including probability-of-collision formulations used by NASA to ensure safety of manned space flight; and application of space systems to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
While his primary expertise is astrodynamics, Alfriend’s diverse experience includes research, development and management in the private sector, government and academia. Papers from every phase of his career continue to be cited regularly at conferences and in journals.
Alfriend joined the faculty of the Texas A&M College of Engineering in 1997. He earned his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech. Before coming to Texas A&M, Alfriend served on the faculty of Cornell University, conducted postdoctoral research at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and held positions with the Naval Research Laboratory, CIA Office of Development and Engineering, and the Naval Postgraduate School.
His many honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering, election to the International Academy of Astronautics and a citation for a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, and has received both the Mechanics and Control of Flight Award and the Dirk Brouwer Award from these societies.
In 2016, Alfriend received the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Award that is given to one person every other year, and he received a Distinguished Achievement Award for Research from The Texas A&M Association of Former Students. Alfriend has also received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) International Scientific Cooperation Award for his decade-long efforts to organize the U.S./Russian Space Surveillance Workshop series. He continues today as one of the two principal American organizers of this unique contribution to international understanding.
In addition to his academic and industrial posts, Alfriend has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, and the Journal of the Astronautical Sciences and as associate editor of the International Journal of Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy.