Have a seat . . . in space

Auburn Engineering’s influence expands beyond the borders of Alabama, and even the country. David Brown, a doctoral student at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, is using research and technical documents from aerospace engineering students and Auburn alumnus and “Auburnaut” Jim Voss, ’72 aerospace engineering, that were used to develop a next-generation space seat at Auburn in 2004.

Brown describes his research as “an overall argument that pushes for smaller-scale development in the area of space technology.” While researching space technology and small science activities, Brown discovered Voss’ space seat. He became interested in the investigation and design process completed by Voss and his students.

Voss, a former NASA astronaut with five space flights under his belt, served as the associate dean of engineering for external affairs at Auburn in 2003. During this time, he also taught an aerospace engineering class featuring human spacecraft design. In 2007, Voss began working for the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) as the director of advanced programs. Current development projects Voss oversees for SNC include the Dream Chaser spacecraft, a small carrier that can transport six to seven people to and from the International Space Station. Voss’s passion for education continues at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he teaches a class on human spaceflight.