Dr. George W. Sutton

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Area of Expertise: high energy lasers, aero-optics, missiles
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Profile Summary

• First to measure stress waves caused by cavitation (doctoral thesis).
• Measured the heat transfer in a rocket nozzle throat.
• Invented, developed, and demonstrated first ablation heat protection material for hypersonic reentry.
o Developed for the G.E. data capsule. It took the first photos of Earth from space (300 mi)
o That success led to the Corona Project satellite photo reconnaissance with recovered the film with the Satellite Recovery Vehicle that used my ablation material, that showed that the Soviet Union had only 6 ICBMs instead of hundreds (John Kennedy’s “missile gap”).
o Used on U.S. missile reentry vehicles and the Mercury manned satellite.
• Pioneered magnetohydrodynamic engineering; wrote text book and taught graduate courses at U.P. and M.I.T.
• Scientific Advisor to U.S. Air Force Headquarters (2 years); helped initiate several important programs.
• DARPA Amos site – made possible first ground-based image of a foreign space vehicle.
• Initiated first high power laser project (over 100 kW).
• Pioneered aero-optics.
• Ballistic missile defense – multicolor infrared discrimination analysis.
• Most recent work for the Missile Defense Agency – airborne defense.
• Member of 6 National Research Council studies - with published results.
• Authored or coauthored 118 papers and co-authored/edited 3 books.
• Editor-in-Chief of the AIAA Journal for 30- years.

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