History

Propulsion Research Center Vital Part of UAHuntsville

The Propulsion Research Center was established at UAHuntsville on February 1, 1991. Dr. Clark W. Hawk served as the first director of the Center. Additional researchers joining Dr. Hawk included Dr. Hugh W. Coleman, Eminent Scholar in Propulsion, and Dr. Robert A. Frederick, Jr., then an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. The faculty and research staff has continued to grow over the years with 17 faculty, research staff, and administrative staff currently supporting the Center. 

Since the establishment of PRC, it has grown with cumulative funding totaling over $18 million. The Center has a broad range of customers including NASA, DoD, DoE, and members of the aerospace industry both large and small. We have also built a major presence at the annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Joint Propulsion Conference

PRC Recognized by Aerospace Industry Leaders

The Propulsion Research Center has been recognized by leaders in the aerospace community including:

Government Organizations:

Air Force Research Labs (AFRL)

Department of Defense (DoD)

Department of Energy (DoE)

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

U.S. Army Space & Missile Defense Command (SMDC)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Aerospace Organization:

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Aerospace Industry:

Allied AerospaceAerojetASI, Barber-Nichols,  Boeing, CFDRCERCHyper VJacobsLuna Technologies, Lockheed Martin,MetacompOptechnologyOrbitec, Orion ,Perkins Technical ServicesPratt and Whitney RocketdyneQualisStreamline Automation, 3-D Technologies, and University of Maryland.

PRC Faculty and Students Receive Honors

PRC faculty members have received recognition and have been selected to participate on panels for the National Research Council, NATO AGARD, USAF Technical Area Review Assessment (TARA), and Congress of the United States Office of Technology Assessment. The faculty has also been honored collectively with the UAH Foundation Award for Research and Creative Achievement. In addition, our students have won numerous awards and scholarships in competitions across the nation evidencing the high calibar of student we have been able to attract.

PRC Graduate Students Gain from Hands-On Research

The Propulsion Research Center research staffing is based on a model where full-time graduate students are utilized as the primary research force.  To implement this strategy initially, the Fall 1991 term began with five full-time graduate students engaged in research at the Center and continues to grow.  To date,  over 120 advanced degree engineers with rocket experience gained from association with the PRC have gone on to join the global aerospace industry.

PRC Facilities Provides Propulsion Laboratory Experiences

The PRC maintains an on-going focus to provide hands-on research opportunities for our research graduate students.   With this as a key focus, emphasis is placed on building appropriate experimental facilities in which our graduate research students can gain the necessary experience. 

 PRC facilities are located at the Johnson Research Center located at the south end of the UAHuntsville campus.  PRC facilities have also provided the base for offering undergraduate propulsion laboratory experiences in support of our undergraduate aerospace engineering program.

These PRC undergraduate research experiences prepare our students to either work toward an UAH graduate degree or enter the aerospace workforce with their Baccalaureate Degree.