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WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

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Yvonne Brill: Innovations in Rocket Propulsion Systems

Posted November 03, 2011 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta

Satellites stay in orbit longer thanks to Yvonne Brill's inventions of the hydrazine resistojet and the use of a single propellant. Brill's innovations in rocket propulsion contributed to the communications satellite industry in the late 1960s, becoming an industry standard and saving corporations billions of dollars.

Space Exploration Pioneer

Brill used her degrees from the University of Manitoba (BS - Mathematics) and USC (MS - Chemistry) to develop and patent a new technology called electrothermal hydrazine thruster (EHT). The use of EHT created a 30% increase in propulsion efficiency - allowing for a decrease in propellant weight needed to keep a satellite orbiting correctly. This decrease allowed a corresponding increase in payload or an extension in mission length.

The resistojet system was used in 1983 on an RCA spacecraft. The EHT works by electrically heating hydrazine (rocket fuel). The heated propellant decomposition products improve efficiency.

Recognition & Recommendations

Brill worked at organizations such as Douglas Aircraft, RCA Astro Electronics, NASA, and the International Maritime Satellite Organization. She has received many awards and nominations over the years:

· Member of the National Academy of Engineering

· Member of the International Academy of Astronautics

· Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

· Society of Women Engineers' Achievement Award (1986)

· Resnik Challenger Medal (1993)

· Inducted to the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame (1999)

· IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award (2002)

· AIAA Wyld Award (2002)

· AAES John Fritz Medal (2009)

· ASME Kate Gleason Award (2011)

· National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011)

In 1945, Brill was the only technology-tasked woman working in rocket propulsion systems. She has since nominated and recommended outstanding women to the National Academy of Engineering, Society of Women Engineers, and for the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology.

Click to see Yvonne Brill's WITI Hall of Fame induction video.

Resources:

https://www.witi.com/center/witimuseum/halloffame/1999/ybrill.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistojet_rocket

https://www.uspto.gov/about/nmti/recipients/brill.jsp

http://www.asme.org/about-asme/press-releases/asme-honors-assembly-pays-tribute-to-eleven-indivi

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#1

Re: Yvonne Brill: Innovations in Rocket Propulsion Systems

11/03/2011 2:45 AM

That sounds like some well deserved recognition. Great for her!

The blog tags to the right look as though they would have many similar stories that are not yet widely known.

Nice find!

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#2

Re: Yvonne Brill: Innovations in Rocket Propulsion Systems

11/03/2011 11:19 PM

impressive. thanks for the presentation.

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#3

Re: Yvonne Brill: Innovations in Rocket Propulsion Systems

11/03/2011 11:28 PM

Same here. Very interesting and productive.

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#4

Re: Yvonne Brill: Innovations in Rocket Propulsion Systems

11/04/2011 9:21 AM

I'm glad you all enjoyed this blog entry. I'm trying to revive this blog as well as Great Engineers & Scientists, so keep watching! If there are any specific individuals you'd like to see profiled please feel free to ask.

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