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CALVEIN Program Garners Prestigious Buzz Aldrin Award

Published: October 15, 2009

For its contribution to the success of space enterprise in California, the California Launch Vehicle Education Initiative (CALVEIN), a program developed by CSULB and Garvey Spacecraft Corporation (GSC), will receive the Buzz Aldrin Space Education and Workforce Award from the California Space Authority (CSA).

Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first lunar landing. On July 20, 1969, he was the second person to set foot on the moon, following his mission commander Neil Armstrong.

CSULB’s College of Engineering and GSC will receive the award during the California SpotBeam Awards Dinner, CSA’s signature event of the year, at the Proud Bird Restaurant in Los Angeles on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. The dinner, which will be held in conjunction with the Air Force Commanders’ Conference, serves to recognize and honor the exemplary accomplishments of individuals, organizations and programs over the past year.

“We are pleased that the CSA recognized the importance and uniqueness of this endeavor. It represents a marvelous example of a partnership between industry and a university, and it combines cutting edge research with education and workforce development.” said Forouzan Golshani, dean of CSULB’s College of Engineering. “Through this partnership, our teams have been able to design, prototype, test and launch more than a dozen rockets, each with numerous innovative features and with some being the first of their kind.”

The CALVEIN program was designed to integrate research and development into a rich, hands-on learning experience for CSULB students who work collaboratively with GSC personnel, engineering professors, program alumni and partnering companies and agencies.

Over the years, CALVEIN has garnered ample industry and collegiate recognition for CSULB’s College of Engineering and its Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department.

Students in the program benefit from the experiences and knowledge passed on by industry professionals who serve as workforce mentors. CALVEIN has resulted in the end-to-end development, flight and recovery of 14 CSULB “Prospector” rockets and numerous static fire tests of student-developed rocket engines.

CSULB graduates of the CALVEIN program have forged careers spanning the globe at such companies as the Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, Space Exploration Technologies and the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

CALVEIN is led by Eric Besnard, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at CSULB.

“The accomplishments realized by the CALVEIN students have allowed them to compete with the best and the brightest in the nation,” said Besnard, who is the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2009 Faculty Adviser Award. “This has given them the chance to work for companies and other organizations which may change our view of space travel in the decades to come, from one reserved for the elite to one accessible to most.”

The sixth annual California SpotBeam Awards Dinner recognizes individuals, organizations, government entities and industry that have significantly contributed to California space enterprise. The dinner is widely attended by CSA members as well as individuals from the military, government, academia and the private sector.

“The nominees for each category of 2009 SpotBeam Awards in this, its sixth year, were all of such high caliber that it was extremely difficult to narrow the selection to just one winner,” said CSA Executive Director Andrea Seastrand. “This is a testament to the pre-eminence of California’s space enterprise community in all four domains—industry, government, academia and workforce, and is why CSA is privileged to showcase this talent to our state and nation.”

–Paul Browning