The Rocky Mountain Section (RMS) of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has named Dr Lisa Hardaway, of Ball Aerospace, Engineer of the Year for 2015-2016.
Hardaway was Ball’s program manager for the company’s Ralph instrument aboard NASA’s New Horizons mission. The spacecraft completed a flyby of Pluto in July 2015, allowing Ball’s Ralph camera to help return the closest images ever seen of the dwarf planet.
Because the journey to Pluto would take nearly 10 years, the Ball team working under Hardaway was tasked with building a very small, extremely lightweight camera that required minimal power. The first-of-its-kind mission, New Horizons traveled more than three billion miles to come within 12,500 km (7,400 miles) of Pluto. The spacecraft continues to provide scientists with stunning images that reveal Pluto’s exotic and varied landscape as it makes it way through the Kuiper belt.
“We chose Lisa as the 2016 RMS Engineer of the Year based on the wide-ranging impact her work on the Ralph program had on the aerospace industry at large,” said Rusty Powell, Honors and Awards Chair for the AIAA RMS. “We also considered her mentorship of women undergraduates in aerospace engineering.”
Ball Aerospace and Lisa Hardaway
Hardaway joined Ball Aerospace in 1995 and, in addition to her work on New Horizons, played a significant role on Ball’s work for the Hubble Space Telescope, including the Wide Field Camera 3, the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. She was also instrumental on Ball’s Deep Impact mission and the company’s star tracker program.
Hardaway received the 2015 Women in Aerospace (WIA) Leadership Award for outstanding dedication to space exploration. The WIA Awards celebrate women’s professional excellence in aerospace, annually recognizing female leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the aerospace community. WIA acknowledged Hardaway for her leadership skills, as well as her guidance, support, and mentoring of female engineers throughout her career. Hardaway is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and the current Treasurer of the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Astronomical Society.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.