Mechanical engineering graduate student collects national and international astronautical awards

Christopher T. Lyne has won two prestigious awards hailing his work in astronautics.

Lyne, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, has received the 2016 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement in Astronautics.

Christopher Lyne

Lyne also received the Pierre Contensou Medal for first place in this year’s International Astronautical Congress (IAC) student paper competition of the International Astronautical Congress, announced Sept. 26 at the organization’s meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico. Lyne competed against national winners from Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany and other nations.

Both awards are for his paper: “Design and Test of a 10N Hydrogen-Peroxide Monopropellant Thruster.” As principal designer of the thruster used in Vanderbilt’s rocket that won the 2016 NASA Student Launch Challenge, Lyne wrote the paper and presented the research results at an AIAA Regional Student Conference.

“And the rest is history,” said Lyne.

“Our project focused on the design of a 10 newton hydrogen-peroxide reaction control thruster, which was developed for attitude control in low altitude rocket flight for the NASA Student Launch. I’m excited and humbled to receive the Pierre Contensou Medal for first place in this year’s International Astronautical Congress student paper competition, as well as the Abe M. Zarem Award from the AIAA earlier this year. I’m happy that a green thruster is coming back to prominence in today’s world where renewability and sustainability are so important,” Lyne said.

A.V. Anilkumar

The Zarem award also recognizes the faculty adviser of the award winner, reflecting Zarem’s belief that the guidance of faculty members is fundamental to the success of student research. Amrutur V. Anilkumar, professor of the practice of aerospace engineering and professor of practice of mechanical engineering, will receive a certificate of recognition for his work with Lyne.

AIAA will honor Lyne and Professor Anilkumar during an awards luncheon at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition 2017, January 9–13, in Grapevine, Texas.

“To me, these awards aren’t just for writing a paper, but for all the enthusiasm and hard work I’ve put into my studies up to this point,” said Lyne. “I’ve been very lucky to have the support of excellent mentors and educators along the way, who encouraged me to pursue challenging opportunities both academically and professionally.”

Lyne said the awards will help open doors by introducing him to industry professionals and provide some recognition and visibility in the aerospace community. “Although winning these awards is a big step for me, it is one of the first steps I plan to take on a long and rewarding career in aerospace.”

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering