Craig Kluever’s dream was born as he found himself awestruck in front of a grainy black-and-white television screen watching Apollo 11 land on the moon. He was in kindergarten. As he puts it, “that just made a big impact on me. Of course, the first thing I wanted to be was an astronaut.” Those early dreams of becoming an astronaut turned instead into a pursuit of the science behind the rockets. Today, the MU Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering works behind the scenes to solve the kind of problems involved in designing space travel—such as how to take off, how to reach a target, and, more importantly, how to return safely to Earth.
The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has recently developed an emphasis area in aerospace engineering. Kluever teaches such required courses in the general areas of dynamics (how bodies move and how forces produce certain velocities and accelerations) and controls (how to design a control system to do a particular task), and he teaches such elective courses as Space Flight Mechanics and Aircraft Flight Mechanics (how to design a space mission or determine such performance characteristics as take-off, landing, range, endurance, and stability with an airplane).