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Sandia Labs scientist is honored for space work

Humberto “Tito” Silva III, a Sandia National Laboratories researcher, has been named Engineer of the Year by the world’s largest aerospace technical society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Humberto “Tito” Silva III

Selected by a committee of his peers, Silva was cited for improving failure-rate predictions of aerospace flight systems as they reenter Earth’s atmosphere. The work helps direct engineers to attack the worst problems first for reentry rockets, spaceships and satellites.

Silva’s procedure, which he has dubbed “Tito’s full-circle analysis methodology,” uses computer modeling to determine the fewest number of computer simulations and physical experiments needed to get trusted data on a project.

“We were able to have high statistical confidence in our results. These were analogous to those achieved by researchers using many orders of magnitude more computational simulations and physical experiments,” Silva said. “Our method saves money and time.”bright spot

AIAA president Basil Hassan, who is also the deputy chief research officer at Sandia, said, “Tito’s work helps ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nuclear deterrent by helping to understand potential uncertainties in extreme thermal environments. The methodologies developed here could also be used for other entry and reentry-type applications that similarly concern engineers.”

Silva’s award will be presented in August at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, an annual event the organization describes as “recognizing the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace.”