Aerospace engineer honored by International Astronautical Federation

Chris Spallino
July 06, 2018

­UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David B. Spencer, professor of aerospace engineering at Penn State, has been named the recipient of the 2018 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal.

The Malina Medal is presented annually to an educator who has demonstrated excellence in taking the fullest advantage of the resources available to them to promote the study of astronautics and related space sciences.

“I am extremely honored to be selected for this award, and especially for being nominated by a former student and endorsed by other current and former students, as well as my colleagues,” said Spencer.

Spencer, whose research focuses on spacecraft dynamics and control, joined Penn State in 1999. He is the faculty adviser for the Astrodynamics Research Group of Penn State and LionTech Rocket Labs. He served as the aerospace engineering department’s director of graduate studies from 2004 to 2008 and the College of Engineering’s director of graduate programs from 2008 to 2011.

He is an American Astronautical Society (AAS) Fellow, an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow, and an International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Corresponding Member.

Spencer also is active in several professional societies. He is vice president of publications for AAS; a member of AIAA’s Astrodynamics Technical Committee and Public Policy Committee; a member of IAF’s Space Education and Outreach Committee; and a member of IAA’s Committee on Space Debris and Commission 3: Space Technology and System Development.

Since joining Penn State, Spencer has been honored for his teaching and service with a 2008 AIAA Sustained Service Award, a 2006 SAE International Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, and a 2004 Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Teaching Award.

Spencer will be presented with the Melina Medal during the closing ceremony of IAF’s 69th International Astronautical Congress on Oct. 5 in Bremen, Germany. As part of the honor, he will give the keynote presentation at the beginning of the Congress’s E1 Space Education and Outreach Symposium.

  • David Spencer, professor of aerospace engineering

    David B. Spencer, professor of aerospace engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2018 International Astronautical Federation Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 06, 2018