Rebecca Flowers Farr
I am currently employed as a systems engineer by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where I work with many diverse groups in order to assure functionality at the integrated system level. My physics training enables me to see past the immediate engineering problems and grasp "the big picture", a necessary attribute for systems engineering, (not to mention that engineers are always getting the units wrong.)
But foundational physics is never far away. I participated in a 2005 wind tunnel test which demonstrated a counter-flowing, supersonic cold gas jet of certain mass flow rate, located on the face of a supersonic vehicle and ejecting into the oncoming Mach 3.5-4.0 freestream, increases supersonic shock standoff distance and weakens the aerodynamic bow shock, significantly reducing drag and aerothermal loads on the supersonic body. A summary report of this test was published in the AIAA Journal, Volume 47, June 2008. Subsequent computational fluid dynamics modeling of the counter flowing jet and literature research has yielded a much deeper understanding of the complex fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and acoustics interactions at play in this phenomenon.
As a result of this work, patent 8,251,312 “Method and System for Control of Upstream Flowfields of Vehicle in Supersonic or Hypersonic Atmospheric Flight” was granted by the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (filed 9-9-09, granted 8-28-12). Inventors include Dr. Endwell Daso, Victor Pritchett, Dr. Ten-See Wang and Rebecca Farr of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. A second patent application on reduction of sonic boom by means of counter flowing jets is in work, based on our recent, better understanding of the underlying physics of the counter flowing jet phenomenon.
The picture shows me talking to Konrad Dannenerg in 2004 about the Goddard rocket. Dr. Dannenberg was one of the last remaining original German rocket scientists, who came to the country with Wernher Von Braun in 1945 as a part of "Project Paperclip."
I am very fortunate to be able to integrate fundamental physics, German, and rockets in one great job experience. Thank you MU Physics Department!
Rebecca Flowers Farr, BS Physics, BA German, 1980.