Florida Tech Professor Invited to Testify Before Florida Senate Committee on Space Research

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Daniel Kirk, Florida Institute of Technology professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, recently testified on commercial space applications for more than an hour before the Florida Senate Committee on Military, Space and Domestic Security. He spoke at the invitation of Senator Thad Altman who chose him for his expertise in aerospace engineering.

The committee asked Kirk for his input on the direction the state should take with regard to space research. Kirk made several suggestions, including the use of surplus laboratory space at Kennedy Space Center for the building satellites for space.

Senior Associate Vice President for Research at Florida Tech Frank Kinney accompanied Kirk. Following Kirk’s testimony, both met with Senator Simmons, chairman of the Senate Budget Sub-committee on Education Appropriations.

Recipient of many honors, Kirk in late 2010 was elected to Associate Fellow status by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The AIAA elects only two percent of its members to Associate Fellow each year. In 2009, Kirk was selected for the prestigious Boeing Co.’s Welliver Faculty Fellowship Program, an eight-week experience offering career-enhancing experiences with key research and technology programs.

Kirk has also earned numerous contracts and grants for his work, including those from the Office of Naval Research and Space Florida. Since Joining Florida Tech in 2004, Kirk’s total research funding has reached almost $2 million.

His space research and project interests include rocket propulsion and the development of high thrust-to-weight aircraft, measurement of aerodynamic forces on magnetic levitation (MAGLEV) launch vehicle configurations and a transient shock tunnel facility for high speed, compressible flow research.

Holder of master’s and doctoral degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Kirk was also a post-doctoral scholar at MIT’s Gas Turbine Laboratory.

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