Utah State College of Engineering Faculty Named Space Dynamics Laboratory Professor

August 14, 2012

USU Professor Charles Swenson has been named a Space Dynamics Laboratory Professor.

LOGAN, UTAH – Utah State University Research Foundation’s Space Dynamics Laboratory announced today that USU College of Engineering faculty Charles Swenson has been named a Space Dynamics Laboratory Professor.  Swenson is the first to be honored with the Space Dynamics Laboratory professorship.

Swenson is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at USU where he teaches graduate courses in space engineering and space science, and undergraduate courses in analog circuits. His research activities are divided between space science, instrumentation for measuring the space environment, space systems engineering and small satellites. He has been a principle or co-investigator and lead scientist on eight different NASA sounding rocket missions and was the principal instrument scientist for the Floating Potential Measurement Unit for the International Space Station.

“In his role as the Space Dynamics Laboratory Professor, Dr. Swenson’s expertise with small satellites and other space-based systems will further enable SDL to provide high quality solutions to our customers while at the same time developing the technical expertise to future leaders in our industry,” said Niel Holt, director of SDL.  “We have been honored to have Dr. Swenson on our team with several successful programs and are looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.”

Swenson is the principal investigator and academic adviser for the USU Student Small Satellite Program that recently built and is flying the twin DICE spacecraft. He is a member of the organizing committee for the largest annual small satellite conference, the AIAA/Utah State University Conference on Small Satellites. Swenson’s active research programs include the NASA Auroral Spatial Structures Probe sounding rocket mission to measure both the spatial and temporal variation of the energy flow into the upper atmosphere in and around the aurora. He also has active space weather science data analysis programs for both the NASA TIMED Spacecraft and the National Science Foundation DICE CubeSats as well as the developing new scientific instrumentation for understanding space weather.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my colleagues at Space Dynamics Laboratory and to receive this named professorship. It would be impossible to implement any of my research programs without the support from such a world class organization like SDL.” said Charles Swenson, Space Dynamics Laboratory Professor.  “They and my students are the main reason why I have been successful in these space experiments and I can’t wait to get started on our next mission.”

Swenson attended USU where he graduated with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Physics and earned a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University in Electrical Engineering in 1991 and joined the faculty at Utah State University that same year. He is currently the Director of the Center for Space Engineering at USU. He has received awards for teaching and research excellence, consults for NASA where he most recently served as a Discipline Scientist for the Science Mission Directorates Heliophysics Division while on sabbatical.  He has over 50 scientific publications and reports.

Utah State University is one of the nation's premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant universities, providing access to a research-intensive environment that fosters the principle that academics come first. The university cultivates diversity of thought and culture and serves the public through learning, discovery and engagement.

The College of Engineering at Utah State University is committed to offering high quality and innovative graduate and undergraduate programs in engineering disciplines that include biological, civil and environmental, computer science, electrical and computer, education and mechanical and aerospace engineering.

A unit of the USU Research Foundation, SDL is one of 14 University Affiliated Research Centers in the nation. Charged with applying basic research to the technology challenges presented in the military and science arenas, SDL has developed revolutionary solutions that are changing the way the world collects and uses data. SDL's core competencies are electro-optical sensor systems, calibration, thermal management, reconnaissance systems, and small satellite technologies.