The AIAA Alabama-Mississippi Annual Section Awards
on Wednesday, 21 July 2010.
AEROSPACE ENGINEER OF THE YEAR AWARD HONOREE FOR 2009-2010: Joseph M. Verhage
Mr. Verhage is primarily the TriVector Services Inc. Chief Operating Officer and Test Engineer Contractor to the Marshall Space Flight Center. As the NASA test engineer, he is responsible for the coordination of multi-organizational disciplines for technical tasks and problem resolution for NASA. Additionally, he is directly responsible for and has key technical authority for the Ares I upper stage cryo/structural testing of the common bulkhead. He has direct responsibility for developing requirements, design of tooling, processes, and methods to accomplish this task. In this capacity he provides solutions to these complex issues and works with the MSFC technical personnel to drive the solutions. He and his design team have developed a workable solution to fully, cryogenically test and certify the Ares I Upper Stage composite common bulkhead, which was truly a daunting technical challenge. In this task, he personally led a team to develop the test requirements, to provide tooling concepts and preliminary designs, and to document the processes that will result in fully certifying a common bulkhead as flight worthy. He was personally responsible for insuring that this complicated task was fully analyzed, the test tooling concept adequate to meet all requirements, and that the test and certification process would not damage the expensive and challenging to manufacture bulkhead.
Additionally, he developed and published a Test Design and Development Process and Procedures Handbook for the NASA Stage Hardware Test and Flight Integration Branch. While developing this Handbook, he also served as the lead test integrator for the critical path design, development, analysis, and test of the Ares I upper stage critical hardware.
Mr. Verhage holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University, a Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and an Engineering Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.