Sigrid Close

2010 Hellman Fellow

Assistant Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering

Project Title: Electromagnetic effects from hypervelocity impacts on spacecraft

“The Hellman Fellowship allowed me to support one of my first students, who developed particle-in-cell simulations for hypervelocity impact plasma. He completed his PhD in 2015 and is currently a post doc at MIT.”

Prof. Close’s research involves space weather detection and modeling for improved spacecraft designs, and advanced signal processing and electromagnetic wave interactions with plasma for ground-to-satellite communication systems. These topics fall under the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) umbrella that include environmental remote sensing using satellite systems and ground-based radar. Her current efforts are the MEDUSSA (Meteoroid, Energetics, and Debris Understanding for Space Situational Awareness) program, which uses dust accelerators to understand the effects of hypervelocity particle impacts on spacecraft along with Particle-In-Cell simulations, and using ground-based radars to characterize the space debris and meteoroid population remotely. She also has active programs in hypersonic plasmas and plasma propulsion techniques for interplanetary travel. Her research through the EE department focuses on understanding the interaction of lightning with the ionosphere.

Academic Appointments
Assistant Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics
Assistant Professor (By courtesy), Electrical Engineering

Honors & Awards
DoE CAREER Award, DoE (2013-2017)
Outstanding Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University (2013)
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), White House (2012)
NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2011-2016)
Hellman Faculty Scholar, Hellman Fellows Program (2010)
Magazine Cover, IEEE Spectrum (2008)
Joe D. Marshall Award for Outstanding Technical Briefing, AFTAC (2007)
1st Place Student Paper Competition, International Union of Radio Science (2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Elected Chair Commission G, URSI (2015 – Present)
Guest Expert, PBS Chasing Pluto (2015 – Present)
Guest Expert, The Weather Channel (2015 – Present)
Scientific Organizing Committee, Meteoroids 2016 (2015 – Present)
Elected Vice Chair Commission G, URSI (2013 – 2015)
Member, Arecibo Science Advisory Panel (2011 – 2013)
Co-Host National Geographic Channel, Known Universe (2011 – 2011)
Guest Expert, PBS, Can We Make it to Mars (2011 – 2011)
Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Panel Member, National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (2011 – 2011)
Scientific Organizing Committee, Meteoroids 2010 (2010 – 2010)
NEO Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Panel Member, National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (2009 – 2010)