The Founder, Faculty Advisor, and Principal Investigator for AggieSat Lab, Dr. Helen Reed brings 22 years of experience in micro- and nanosatellite design/build/fly and student programs; and 38 years in hypersonics, boundary-layer receptivity, stability, and transition, and flow control.
She is Director of the Computational Stability and Transition Lab at Texas A&M, where she and her team of students have taken a lead computational role in several major experimental and flight test programs aimed at understanding, modeling, and evaluating receptivity, stability, and transition mechanisms and laminar-flow technology (including excrescence effects). Within this Lab, she also conducts research in the stability and transition of hypersonic chemically reacting and 3-D boundary layers. Her team has developed a 3-D nonlinear parabolized stability equation predictive tool “EPIC”.
While at Arizona State, she founded ASUSat Lab in October 1993. The lab then moved with her to Texas A&M and became AggieSat Lab in March 2005. She has been responsible for her students and Lab having delivered 2 major satellites launched with the US Air Force and 1 launched by NASA:
- ASUSat1 – 13-pound nanosatellite on inaugural OSP SLV “Minotaur” in January 2000.
- Three Corner Sat – 1st winners of University Nanosat Program. Satellite constellation on Delta IV Heavy Demo mission in Dec 2004.
- LONESTAR Mission 1 (DRAGONSat/AggieSat2) – 5” cubesat released from STS-127 on 30 July 2009. Operated on orbit for 230 days, from 20 minutes after release until 4 hours before burn-up in the atmosphere 17 March 2010.
Within the profession, she is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was the recipient of the 2007 J. Leland “Lee” Atwood Award from the American Society for Engineering Education Aerospace Division and AIAA – the award is bestowed annually upon an aerospace engineering educator “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession”. In 2014, she was named Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in the State of Texas. She was inducted into the Academy of Engineering Excellence (May 2008) and the College of Engineering “Committee of 100” (June 2010) at Virginia Tech, her alma mater.
At Texas A&M she is Professor and Holder of the Edward “Pete” Aldridge ’60 Professorship, she was named Regents Professor (in perpetuity) and Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence (in perpetuity), and she received the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching at both the University Level (2013-14) and at the College Level (2012-13). In May 2012, she was presented the McElmurry Award from the Spring and Fall 2012 graduating seniors in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M, with the specific citation: “for exemplifying dedication and commitment to developing students professionally and academically by displaying a desire for students to succeed, creatively presenting classroom material, and offering opportunities for mentorship and guidance outside the classroom in the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.”
Among her many international service activities, she is presently a member of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the NATO/RTO AVT ET 136 Technical Team: “Hypersonic Boundary Layer Transition Prediction”. She is the Chair of the AIAA Transition Discussion Group and a consultant to the Institute for Defense Analysis.