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Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering - Meet the Secretary's 2016 RAISE Award Winner

Rachael Tompa, Ph.D. Student

Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University
FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation
Supported by the FAA Centers of Excellence (COE) Program Office, the DOT sponsors the Secretary's RAISE Award to encourage college and university students to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to aviation challenges. This year, Secretary of Transportation, Anthony R. Foxx, selected a graduate student developing a concept and conducting research within the FAA COE for Commercial Space Transportation at Stanford University.
This extraordinary work focuses on safely integrating commercial space vehicles into the national airspace. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration recognize the integration of these vehicles into the national airspace system as a critical concern. Ms. Rachael Tompa, a doctoral candidate at Stanford has developed a methodology to address the related challenges of safety and efficiency. Both Secretary Foxx and FAA Administrator, Michael P. Huerta, have applauded Rachael and her research, entitled Optimal Aircraft Rerouting During Commercial Space Launches, as most promising, stating, Ms. Tompa examines a critical airspace management challenge. Her concept explores a method to minimize disruptive airspace closures and aircraft rerouting that are typically implemented to maintain safety during commercial space launch operations. The model Ms. Tompa proposes captures the launch vehicle trajectory, probability of anomaly, potential debris trajectories and adjacent air traffic to establish optimal dynamic aircraft rerouting responses.
Rachael is being honored by the Secretary at the 26th Annual Outstanding Student of the Year (SOY) ceremony to be held during the kick-off of the 96th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, DC. For more than a quarter of a century, this event has been administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R), and hosted by Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC), sponsors within the transportation industry, and the DOT. The DOT recognizes outstanding students each year at this event and jointly we celebrate their accomplishments as they prepare to serve as future leaders in various transportation fields.