Dr. Robert Brown
Professor of Astronautics
Dr. Brown graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986 and served as an AF officer for almost 21 years. During that time, he was a helicopter pilot, a student, and a teacher. He retired from active duty in 2007 and has been an Assistant or Associate Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy since then, teaching Astronautical Engineering.
Dr. Brown has been married since 1987. He and his wife have nine children.
Correspondence, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, (2003)
Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (2000)
In Residence, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, (2000)
Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Colorado (1999)
Master of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts (1994)
Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (1992)
Master of Engineering Administration, George Washington University, Washington, DC (1990)
Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado (1986)
Associate Professor, Director of Standardization and Evaluation, Division Lead for all three divisions (Astrodynamics, Systems, and Navigation Guidance and Controls), Department of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy (2009-present)
Assistant Professor, Director of Standardization and Evaluation,Department of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy (2007-2009)
Assistant Professor, Deputy Department Head, Astrodynamics Div Chief, Department of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy (2003-2007)
Assistant Deputy Commander of Operations, 1st Helicopter Squadron and Joint Continuity Program Manager (HAF), Andrews AFB, MD and Washington DC (2000-2003)
Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (1999-2000)
Student, University of Colorado, Colorado (1996-1999)
Assistant Professor of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado (1994-1996)
Student and Draper Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts (1992-1994)
Student, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (1992)
UH-1N Instructor Pilot, Chief of Squadron Training, Kirtland AFB, Virginia (1991-1992)
UH-1N Instructor and Evaluator Pilot, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, Executive Officer for the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing DCO Langley AFB, Virginia (1987-1991)
Student, UH-1N Qualification Training, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico (1987-1997)
Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Ft Rucker, Alabama (1986-1987)
Honors & Awards
Heiser Award finalist and winner – selected by cadets as the top senior instructor in the Science and Engineering Divisions at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2013. Top 10 finalist in 2010 and 2012
Selected by Tau Beta Pi cadets as the top engineering instructor at U.S. Air Force Academy (2012)
Nominated by the U.S. Air Force Academy for the Colorado Professor of the Year (2008)
Selected for promotion to Colonel (2006)
Nominated by the Air Force three times for an astronaut position with NASA (1996, 2000 and 2003)
Twice selected by Air Mobility Command’s PHOENIX EAGLE board (eligible to command a flying squadron) (2001 and 2002)
Selected Below-the-Zone for Promotion to Lieutenant Colonel (2001)
Selected by NASA as one of 120 finalists, from a pool of approximately 3,000 qualified applicants. I was ranked 18th of 38 finalists who were classified as Mission Specialists, General Engineering and Science. Only 7 were selected as astronauts (2000)
Distinguished Graduate, Air Command and Staff College (2000)
Company Grade Officer of the Quarter, Department of Astronautics (1996)
Outstanding Academy Educator in the Department of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy (1996)
Roger Bate Award for Outstanding New Instructor in the Department of Astronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy (1995)
Charles Stark Draper Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992 and 1993)
Full scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin (not accepted) (1992)
Full scholarship to George Washington University’s Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences, NASA/Langley, VA (not accepted) (1992)
Distinguished Graduate and First Academically (of 652 officers), Squadron Officers School (1992)
Distinguished Graduate (second overall of 35) and Academic Achievement Award (First Academically of 35), Undergraduate Pilot Training (1987)
Distinguished Graduate, with Academic Honors and Distinction, U.S. Air Force Academy (1986)
Research and Scholarly Interests
I have conducted research in a variety of space-related fields including: modelling humans during space shuttle rendezvous, bacteria in space, satellite sensors, the moon’s orbit, and the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects. For the last three years, my research interests have focused on trans-Neptunian objects.
Brown, R. B. and S. R. Dahlke, “The non-uniform and dynamic orbits of trans-Neptunian objects,” International Journal of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, submitted, 2018.
Brown, R. B. “Unusual eccentricity and inclination distributions of trans-Neptunian objects and trans-Neptunian binaries,” International Journal of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, in press, 2018.
Brown, R. B. and J. A. Firth. “Analysis of trans-Neptunian objects and a proposed theory to explain their origin.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 456.2, 2016: 1587-1594.
Brown, R. B. “Did the Preflood Earth Have a 30-Day Lunar Month?” In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood (9th Edition) Ed. W. Brown, 2015.
Balthazor, R. L., M. G. McHarg, C. L. Enloe, B. Mueller, D. J. Barnhart, Z. W. Hoeffner, R. B. Brown, L. Scherliess, and L. T. Wilhelm. “Methodology of evaluating the science benefit of various satellite/sensor constellation orbital parameters to an assimilative data forecast model.” Radio Science 50.4, 2015: 318-326.
Benoit, M. R., R. B. Brown, P. Todd, E. S. Nelson, and D. M. Klaus. “Buoyant plumes from solute gradients generated by non-motile Escherichia coli.” Physical biology 5.4, 2008: 046007.
Brown, R., Klaus, D. and Todd, P. “Effects of Space Flight, Clinorotation, and Centrifugation on the Substrate Utilization Efficiency of E. Coli.” Microgravity Science and Technology. Vol. XII/4: pp. 24-29, 2002.
Brown, R. “Improved Pilot Model for Space Shuttle Rendezvous.” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics. Vol. 20: pp. 833-834, 1997.
Technical Briefs and Conference Publications:
Thomas, E.A., Leidich, J., Klaus, D.M. and Brown, R. “An Inclined Clinostat for Examining Suspended Particle and Fluid Behavior in Simulated Partial Gravity Conditions.” NASA Tech Briefs, MSC-24579-1, 2009.
R. Brown, Self-Study Report for the Astronautical Engineering Program at the United States Air Force Academy. ABET Symposium, Atlanta, GA, 2015.
R. Balthazor, M. G. McHarg, L. Scherliess, R. Schunk, C. L. Enloe, B. Mueller, L. Wilhelm, D. J. Barnhart, R. Brown, and Z. Hoeffner. Sensitivity of ionospheric specifications to in situ plasma density observations obtained from a constellation of small satellites. International Beacon Satellite Symposium, July 8-12, 2013, Bath, United Kingdom.
R. Balthazor, M. G. McHarg, C. L. Enloe, A. J. Wallerstein, K. A. Wilson, B. Rinaldi, R. Raynor, R. Brown, D. J. Barnhart, L. Scherliess, and R. W. Schunk. Sensitivity of Ionospheric Specifications to In Situ Plasma Density Observations Obtained from Electrostatic Analyzers Onboard of a Constellation of Small Satellites. 26th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Paper SSC12-IV-1, 2012.
George, L. and Brown, R. “Engineering 100: An Introduction to Engineering Systems at the US Air Force Academy.” American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Program and Proceedings. Honolulu, HI. 2007.
Brown, R. and George, L. “Development of a Learning-Focused Core Astronautics Course.” American Society for Engineering Education; Annual Conference Program and Proceedings. Honolulu, HI. 2007.
Benoit, R., Brown, R., Todd, P., Nelson, E. and Klaus, D. “Buoyant Plumes and Hydrodynamic Mixing Caused By Solute Gradients From Metabolizing Bacteria.” American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting. Salt Lake City, UT. 2007.
Brown, R. “A Fuzzy Logic Model of Human Pilots During Space Shuttle Rendezvous.” AIAA Paper 96-3848. San Diego, CA. 1996.
Brown, R. “Modeling Man During Space Shuttle Rendezvous.” International Federation of Automatic Control, Man-Machine Systems. MIT, Cambridge, MA. 1995.
Thesis and Dissertation:
Brown, R. “Effects of Space Flight, Clinorotation, and Centrifugation on the Growth and Metabolism of Escherichia coli.” Doctoral Dissertation. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder. 1999.
Brown, R. “Fuzzy Logic Application for Modeling Man-in-the-Loop Space Shuttle Proximity Operations.” Master of Science Thesis, MIT, Cambridge MA. 1996.