Young’s fellowship out of this world

Andrew Young

University of Maine civil engineering doctoral student Andrew Young has been named a 2015 NASA Space Technology Research Fellow for his work on the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

A HIAD is a nose-mounted device on a spacecraft that slows the craft as it enters a planet’s atmosphere.

The NASA technology is intended to make it possible for a spaceship large enough to carry astronauts and heavy loads of scientific equipment to explore Mars — 34,092,627 miles from Earth — and beyond.

UMaine is assisting NASA by testing its structures in the lab and analyzing stresses and deformations in the HIAD.

Bill Davids, the John C. Bridge Professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and Andrew Goupee, Libra Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, are Young’s advisers.

NASA annually selects a group of graduate and doctoral students to become NASA Space Technology Research Fellows. The goal is to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for the nation’s science, exploration and economic future.

The yearlong fellowship includes a 10-week visiting technologist experience, providing Young with the opportunity to work and collaborate with engineering experts in his field.

To learn more about the HIAD project at UMaine, visit and

Contact: Josh Plourde, 207.581.2117