• Research groups from Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics moved from Taylor Hall to the newly built Engineering Laboratories Building.
  • NASA astronaut Robert L. Crippen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He later served as the pilot on STS-1, Columbia, America’s first reusable spacecraft. Crippen’s flight jacket is now on display in the WRW reception lobby.
  • Tsuan Wu Ting and Drs. Byron Tapley, John Westkaemper, W.W. Hagerty, H.J. Plass, Jr., Enrico Volterna, and Percy Miller joined the department faculty.
  • The first Ph.D. in the Aerospace Engineering department was awarded to Felix Fenter.


  • Dr. Roy Craig joined the department faculty.


  • Dr. Byron D. Tapley taught the first orbital mechanics courses at the University of Texas at Austin and began to develop a research program focusing on low-thrust trajectory analysis and optimization. 
  • Drs. John Porter and Chintsun Hwang joined the department faculty.


  • Drs. Wallace Fowler and Lyle Clark joined the department faculty.


  • Dr. Tapley assumed the chairmanship of the department.
  • Drs. Eric Becker, David Hull, Richard Ensminger, and Ronald Stearman joined the department faculty.


  • With support from the U.S. Air Force and NASA, the Thin Shell Structures Laboratory was founded by Ronald O. Stearman.


  • The separate Departments of Engineering Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering were combined to become the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.
  • Drs. Marc Bedford, Victor Szebehely, Eugene Konecci, John Bertin, Paul Russell, and Lawrence Mack joined the department faculty.


  • A special edition of Link GAT-1 simulator was delivered to the department. This simulator is presently used in the Flight Simulator Laboratory.
  • Dr. Bob E. Schutz joined the department faculty.

Explore Our History

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