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Astronautics Grad Student Wins Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Gold Medal

Honor comes for presentation on Earth’s shadow effects on the paths of solar sail spaceships

July 28, 2010 —

Cyrus Nejat, a M.S. candidate in the Viterbi School of Engineering, is a 2010 recipient of the highest student prize offered by the American Astronomical Society.

Cyrus Nejat 1
Cyrus Nejat
According to the organization’s website, “the Astronomy Achievement Student Awards are givento recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students who present at one of the poster sessions... . Awardees are honored with a Chambliss medal and a certificate."

Nejat was one of three graduate honorees who received medals and certificates at a ceremony in Miami in May.

Nejat’s presentation was entitled “Solar Maneuvering Spacecraft Guidance and Control System Applications,” and investigated the how the Earth’s shadow would alter the trajectory of a ‘sail spacecraft,’ as part of an ongoing exploration of such technology Nejat is pursuing.

Nejat received a graduate degree from Virginia Tech in Aerospace Engineering, focusing on low thrust engine spacecraft control systems. He is now working toward an M.S. degree at the Viterbi School’s Department of Astronautical Engineering.

Though American-born, Nejat took three versions of the highly competitive Iranian university entry examinations, placing first in two of them. He has subsequently received numerous awards.

“I would like to thank my parents Zahra Nazeri and Abdol Rasool Nejat and my sisters Narsis and Najmeh for encouraging me to continue my education,” he said.