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Published: 12 September 2013

Surrey Space Centre academic wins award for top presentation

Dr Jason Forshaw has won an award for best session presenter at the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) conference in Minneapolis.

Dr Forshaw gave a presentation on the subject of his PhD research which stems from a collaboration between the Surrey Space Centre and QinetiQ involving a new class of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) tailsitter – the QinetiQ Eye-On™ – which can loosely be described as a cross between a helicopter and an aeroplane.  Dr Forshaw’s research focused on the design of ‘control laws’ for the vehicle.

Explains Dr Forshaw, “The presentation I gave last year in Minneapolis (Transitional Control Architecture, Methodology, and Robustness for a Twin Helicopter Rotor Tailsitter) was based on the development of a control system for this unmanned air vehicle.  The future of aircraft lies in highly intelligent vehicles which are able to adapt themselves to different missions and take-off and land anywhere.  Tailsitters, aircraft capable of transitioning between horizontal flight (like an aeroplane) and vertical flight (like a helicopter), are one such form of vehicle.  The vehicle therefore combines the ability to hover at will, along with having a long range.  The applications of tailsitters are numerous including search and recovery and linear asset monitoring, where unmanned vehicles can provide surveillance of long oil pipelines or power grids for maintenance or in case of emergency.”

The powerpoint presentation in Minneapolis, which led to the Award, was a combination of video, photographs, graphs and results.

On winning the award Dr Forshaw said, “I would like to thank the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for this award. Having attended the last three AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control conferences in the US, I actively encourage other PhD students to submit and present their work at conferences. Conferences provide students with excellent networking opportunities, the ability for their paper to be peer reviewed, and the ability to meet and present to world leaders in their chosen specialism.”

Since May Dr Forshaw has been working as a post-doctoral researcher on three projects including a key role as technical and project lead for Intrepid, a satellite testbed custom designed for EADS Astrium and DLR in Germany which will enable the testing of small satellites. He is also working as a GNC Consultant, working closely with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), for Active Debris Removal (ADR), a European Space Agency (ESA) pre-phase A study into the use of a tethered net to deorbit a massive satellite called Envisat weighing approximately ten tonnes.

Dr Forshaw received an MEng in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 2008, an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 2010 prior to his PhD in Electronic Engineering from the University of Surrey in 2013.