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cSETR Staff Member, Student Contribute to Technical Paper Recognized by Aerospace Engineering Society

UC STAFF | May 30, 2018

Luz Bugarin

Luz Bugarin

A staff member and student from UTEP's MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR) have received recognition from a professional aerospace engineering society for their contributions to a technical paper on liquid propulsion.

A paper produced by Luz Bugarin, cSETR engineering project manager, and Mariana Chaidez, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso, in collaboration with NASA researchers, has been named the 2017 best paper by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Liquid Propulsion Technical Committee.

The work, titled "Coil-On-Plug Ignition for Oxygen/Methane Liquid Rocket Engines in Thermal-Vacuum Environments," was co-authored by John C. Melcher, Matthew J. Atwell, Robert L. Morehead and Eric A. Hurlbert, all of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. It outlines the development of a coil-on-plug ignition system that can operate under vacuum and thermal vacuum conditions.

"This recognition is a testament to the tremendous work conducted at cSETR and the caliber of students that we have on campus," said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., cSETR director. "For UTEP to not only contribute to a meticulous technical paper, but also have a hand in producing an award-winning one, is a special feat. I am extremely elated for our faculty, staff and students."

Bugarin and Chaidez worked at the Johnson Space Center for 19 weeks while working on their portion of the paper. While there, they learned from top propulsion engineers, an opportunity that Bugarin said is invaluable.

"Seeing that the research work done at my internship was not only valuable to me but led to the AIAA 2017 Liquid Propulsion Best Paper Award is beyond words," Bugarin said. "I believe this is an excellent example of the high-quality opportunities that cSETR brings to students at UTEP."

Chaidez echoed those sentiments.

"I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with the NASA team at Johnson Space Center and to be able to be part of the group receiving this award," Chaidez said. "My internship was a rewarding experience and it gives me great satisfaction that the work I completed during my internship aided in further advancing NASA's and the project's mission. The award demonstrates the commitment of UTEP and cSTER to provide students with the education and hands-on experiences that allow them to excel in industry."

UTEP's role will be formally recognized July 11 in Cincinnati, Ohio, during an awards luncheon held in conjunction with the 2018 AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum. As part of their recognition, AAIA will designate the paper and the authors as award winners in its online library. The paper will also be listed in the November 2018 print issue of Aerospace America.


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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