Recognition by one's peers is the very best form of validation. And so the honor is especially meaningful for Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Programs and Strategy at Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has been named an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow in recognition of her exceptional and visionary leadership and contributions to the design, development and operation of space and missile propulsion systems for US and international applications.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake stated that Julie’s accomplishments span the technical, programmatic, managerial and public policy realms of their unique and important industry. Her contributions to the science, technology and development of propulsion systems have impacted virtually all forms of rocket propulsion technology and their applications—from sounding rockets, to missile defense, to launch and in-space propulsion systems that span liquid, solid and electric propulsion systems and technology. She is a true rocket scientist who has been instrumental in the development and fielding of leading-edge rocket propulsion systems throughout her career and is certainly deserving of this honor.
AIAA confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics.
During her 35-year career at Aerojet Rocketdyne, Van Kleeck has developed combustion and cost models that enabled pioneering advanced rocket engine designs and the Advanced Liquid Axial Stage (ALAS) program; a first-generation missile defense system. As chief engineer for ALAS, and later for the Brilliant Pebbles program, she developed the main and attitude control engines that yielded engine technology that is used in exoatmospheric missile defense systems that defend our country today.
Later in her career, as director of Atlas Solid Rocket Booster production, she led the qualification and serial-rate production of the world’s largest monolithic solid rocket for the Lockheed Martin Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle family, enabling the multiple configurations of the Atlas launch system to affordably launch the full spectrum of payloads for NASA, commercial and national defense applications. Still in use today, more than 100 of these motors have been delivered with 100 percent mission success.
Today, Van Kleeck is responsible for developing future US launch and space propulsion, power technologies and products for programs such as the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion, Commercial Crew Service Module, advanced electric propulsion, International Space Station power system and several technology development programs. In addition, she is leading development efforts for the company’s AR1 booster engine and is responsible for Aerojet Rocketdyne’s additive manufacturing efforts, nontoxic propellants, advanced materials, Bantam engine technology, CubeSat and small satellite technologies, nuclear propulsion and power technologies.
Van Kleeck and other recipients of the AIAA Fellow distinction will be formally recognized during an induction ceremony that will take place at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 3, 2017, in Washington, D.C.