AAE student selected as NASA graduate fellowship recipient

Nate Ballintyn received a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) fellowship.

Nate Ballintyn, a graduate student in AAE, received a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) fellowship.

Head shot
Nate Ballintyn

This is the 10th consecutive year NASA’s Space Technology Mission directorate sought to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who showed significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for the nation’s science, exploration and economic future. Awards are made in the form of grants to accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees, with the faculty advisor serving as the principal investigator, according to the program’s website.

NASA Space Technology Graduate Researchers will perform research at their respective campuses and at NASA Centers. Each student will be matched with a NASA subject matter expert who will serve as the student’s research collaborator. The research collaborator will serve as the conduit into the larger technical community corresponding to the student’s space technology research area, according to the program’s website.
Ballintyn’s research centers around the advancement of rotating detonation engines (RDEs), a powerful propulsion method with the capability to improve the performance of air-breathing and rocket engines. Ballintyn is responsible for designing and testing a hypergolic rocket RDE with potential applications to orbital maneuvering, reaction control systems, planetary descent/ascent and deep space exploration.

“It is a great honor to be chosen for this fellowship, and I am excited at the opportunities this fellowship will afford me,” said Ballintyn, whose advisor is Stephen Heister, the Raisbeck Engineering Distinguished Professor for Engineering and Technology Integration. “I have pursued a graduate degree in aerospace engineering because I want to further humanity’s ability to explore space. This fellowship will allow me to collaborate with NASA with precisely this goal in mind. RDEs represent the cutting edge in space propulsion technology, and I look forward to bringing the technology closer to fruition so it can be deployed on future space exploration missions.”