"...much harm has been done both to the development of aeroplanes and to the good repute of genuine
aeroplane designers by people who pose as 'aeronautical experts' on the strength of being able to turn out
strings of incomprehensible calculations resulting from empirical formulae based on debatable figures
acquired from inconclusive experiments carried out by persons of doubtful reliability on instruments of
- C. G. Grey, 1915
The most remarkable research vehicle of the X-series bridged the gap between air and space flight. Half
plane, half rocket, the North American X-15 took test pilots to the edge of space for the first time.
Biography: Dr. Anton VanderWyst holds masters and doctorate degrees in aerospace engineering as
well as bachelors degrees in economics and mechanical engineering. He is currently a senior
multi-disciplined engineer at a major aerospace company where he specializes in electric propulsion systems
for spacecraft applications. Anton previously conducted research at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
while completing his dissertation on advanced electric thruster technologies. He also traveled abroad as a
visiting research scientist in Austria. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Anton enjoys
outreach activities designed to educate and excite students about careers in the sciences. He has
volunteered to give presentations on topics like Martian rover design, microgravity experiences, physics,
biology, chemistry, and career selection at numerous schools ranging from grade 1 through university level.
Professional Interests: Data analysis, rarefied gas dynamics, hypersonics, computational fluid
dynamics, simulation, scientific computing, mathematical modeling, thermodynamics, microdroplets, level
sets, surface advection, electric propulsion, boundary element method, field emission electric propulsion,
colloid thruster, Taylor cone, space propulsion.
Selected Memberships: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Electric Rocket Propulsion Society
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Selected Honors & Awards: NASA Graduate Fellowship, 2002-2005
NSF International Fellowship, 2003
University of Michigan Aerospace Fellowship, 2001-2002
NASA Johnson Space Center "Flown Flag," 1999
Senior Mechanical Engineer of Year Award, 1999
Engineering Alumni Scholar, 1999
Selected Publications: VanderWyst, A., Christlieb, A., Sussman, M., Boyd, I. Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP)
Droplet Evolution Based on Level Set and Boundary Integral Methods, Communications in Computational
Physics, 2(4):640-661. 2007.
Ahmad, A., VanderWyst, A. Jenkins, D., Shroud Debris Modeling Techniques for IR Sensors in
Space, New Developments in Optomechanics, SPIE Symposium on Optical Engineering, Aug. 2007.
VanderWyst, A., Christlieb, A., Sussman, M. Boyd, I. Boundary Integral Formulation of Electric
Fields in Levelset Simulation of Charged Droplets, 36th AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference, June
VanderWyst, A., Beyer, J., Passow, C., Paulson, A. and Rowland, C. Power Generation and Energy
Usage in a Pressurized Mars Rover, Chapter in Martian Expedition Planning, C.S. Cockell
(editor), American Astronautical Society, 2003.
VanderWyst, A., Christlieb, A. and Boyd, I. Sensor Design of JPL’s UHV Chamber, Final
Technical Report for NASA JPL, March 2003.