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November 6, 2020

Five Johns Hopkins APL Staff Members Named AIAA Associate Fellows

Christine Fox

Doug Adams

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Xiomara Calderón-Colón

Justin Likar

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Bessie Lewis

Mike Ryschkewitsch

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Samantha Allen

Bradley Wheaton

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Martha Cervantes

Matthew Zuber

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Five staff members from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, were recently named to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ associate fellows class of 2021: Doug Adams, Justin Likar and Mike Ryschkewitsch from APL’s Space Exploration Sector (SES) and Bradley Wheaton and Matthew Zuber from the Force Projection Sector.

AIAA bestows the grade of associate fellow on individuals “who have accomplished or been in charge of important engineering or scientific work, or who have done original work of outstanding merit, or who have otherwise made outstanding contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics.”

To be selected as an associate fellow, an individual must be an AIAA senior member in good standing with at least 12 years of professional experience and must be recommended by a minimum of three current associate fellows.

“I am extremely excited for and proud of each member of the class of 2021 associate fellows,” AIAA President Basil Hassan said in a Sept. 28 release. “These individuals exemplify passion and dedication to advancing the aerospace profession and were selected because of their significant and lasting contributions to the field.”

Doug Adams: Robotic Spacecraft Expert

Adams is the flight system engineer on Dragonfly, an APL-led NASA mission that will send a rotorcraft lander to explore the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Before joining APL, he spent 12 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He has worked on more than 10 robotic spacecraft and supported the development of the InSight lander and the Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance. He has also helped formulate numerous spacecraft concepts that span the solar system. Adams has played an important role in the entry, descent and landing community throughout his career and has authored more than 50 papers and presented at numerous conferences.

Justin Likar: Thought Leader in Space Environment, Survivability and Spacecraft Charging

Likar has held leadership roles for various civilian space, national security space and Department of Defense programs, focusing his efforts on component design and tests associated with radiation exposure and spacecraft survivability. He currently serves as the radiation, survivability and spacecraft charging lead for the Europa Clipper orbiter scheduled to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Before his arrival at APL in 2018, Likar led research and development efforts associated with the space environment, radiation effects and plasma interactions for next-generation spacecraft, and he served as the principal investigator for an International Space Station payload while at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. While at UTC Aerospace Systems, he managed and coordinated radiation-hardness assurance design and testing, along with outside suppliers and test facilities, for multiple programs and program offices.

Mike Ryschkewitsch: Leader in Developing Spaceflight Mission Standards

As the head of APL’s Space Exploration Sector, Ryschkewitsch led the sector to its first large mission competitive wins in a number of years with Dragonfly (NASA New Frontiers program) and Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (NASA Solar Terrestrial Probes program), as well core science instruments for the Europa Clipper mission. At the same time, the SES team delivered Parker Solar Probe on schedule and on cost.

Before joining APL, Ryschkewitsch served as NASA’s chief engineer from 2007 through 2013, led the engineering workforce fly out of the space shuttle, and oversaw the beginnings of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, an initiative to work with the American aerospace industry to develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station. He led initiatives to update and streamline agency programs, significantly increase funding for technology development and form the Office of the Chief Technologist and the Space Technology Mission Directorate. He also secured additional investments to fund basic engineering research and work in advanced methods to improve engineering practices.

Bradley Wheaton: National Contributor to Hypersonics

Wheaton is an aerospace engineer specializing in hypersonic aerothermodynamics and fluid dynamics, focusing especially on hypersonic boundary-layer transition prediction and its effects on hypersonic vehicles. He joined APL in 2013 and quickly became a nationally recognized contributor in hypersonics by developing test campaigns and modeling aerodynamic heating and transition phenomena. He designed and oversaw numerous hypersonic wind tunnel experiments to gather critical data needed for predicting boundary-layer transition on hypersonic geometries. He has championed the advancement of transition prediction tools as principal investigator of several internal research projects at APL and as task lead for sponsored work.

Since 2017, Wheaton has served as the principal investigator of the Boundary Layer Transition flight experiment (or BOLT), a centerpiece of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research high-speed aerodynamics portfolio, and leads an international team of nine organizations across government, academia and industry to design and conduct a hypersonic flight test experiment. He also serves as a group chief scientist, overseeing initiatives such as collaboration with academia and a workforce development program focused on doctoral student researchers.

Matthew Zuber: Aerospace Technology Innovator

Zuber leads diverse teams studying the structure of a hypersonic weapons attack, the protection of high-value airborne assets and the application of new and innovative technologies. He develops and mentors technical leaders and facilitates critical contributions in hypersonics, manned and unmanned teaming and the air dominance domain.

Before joining APL in 2017, Zuber served for 25 years as an Air Force officer, with noteworthy contributions as a technical leader and aerospace technology developer and researcher. In the 1990s, he was the flight test lead for the Global Positioning System integration with the A-10 Warthog aircraft. As mission director, he conducted a successful qualification test and evaluation of the integrated system, a highly technical endeavor involving more than 100 test sorties. His subsequent assignment involved the Airborne Laser Test Bed, a megawatt-class, high-energy laser integrated into a Boeing 747. He spent five years as director of engineering for that program, which culminated in the successful integration and testing of the $2 billion test aircraft.

Media contact: Paulette Campbell, 240-228-6792,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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