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For #INWED20, I'm highlighting NASA Aerospace Engineer, LaTunia Pack-Melton. Her work in aerodynamics and flow control will undoubtedly #ShapeTheWorld for future flight. Thread 1/10 #blackinSTEM #WomeninSTEM
LaTunia is an aerospace engineering graduate of Mississippi State University. Her career at NASA Langley Research Center spans more than 2 decades to-date, starting as a Research Engineer around 1998* and becoming a Senior Research Scientist in 2017* (*years approximate) 2/10
During that time, LaTunia has worked in the Flow Physics & Control Branch of NASA LaRC, pushing the boundaries in flow control research and development. Flow control has the potential to adjust the flow around aircraft wing and empennage, to reduce drag and fuel burn 3/10
LaTunia's work and that of her colleagues was one of the first in experimental aerodynamics to conduct flow control tests on representative configurations (supercritical swept wings) and at conditions representative of flight in terms of Mach and Reynolds numbers 4/10
For this reason, LaTunia's work acts a benchmark to show what's possible for flow control in real conditions. The technologies tested, featuring miniature jets of air blown along a wing (pulsed jets and sweeping jets), culminated in a first full flight demonstration in 2015 5/10
To-date, LaTunia has published her research in 11 journal papers (6 as lead author) and more than 30 conference proceedings (at least 11 as lead author). See the links to some of her published papers 6/10:…
LaTunia is also a named co-inventor on a patent, addressing a novel way to reduce the power requirements of such fluidic flow control systems to make future aircraft implementation viable:…
LaTunia is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), having started as a Member in 1999*, Senior Member in 2005* and bestowed as an Associate Fellow in 2012*. She has also held senior roles in her local branch (*dates approximate) 8/10
Despite these contributions and achievements, little is known about LaTunia's work from the NASA webpages. It's important to rightfully recognise her contributions, in addition to that of her colleagues, when flow control is finally integrated and used on transport aircraft 9/10
LaTunia's story from student to Senior Research Scientist is an inspiring one. Finally, a mention for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, as seen on LaTunia's cap. Do check out their inspiring background and work: @dstinc1913 10/10
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