Megabytes for the Masses: An MIT Lecture by Yvonne Brill, the Lady With Launch Plans Under Her Arm
You may have heard about the uproar regarding a recent New York Times obituary for Ms. Brill lauding her beef stroganoff skills rather than her Dual Thrust Level Monopropellant Spacecraft Propulsion System (Patent #: 3,807,657 ). This video of her lecture (MIT TechTV) may refocus that strange emphasis on cooking to her genius.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors.
Yvonne C. Brill, September 27, 2011
RCA Astro Electronics (Retired)
For innovation in rocket propulsion systems for geosynchronous and low earth orbit communication satellites, which greatly improved the effectiveness of space propulsion systems.
Two aspects of Brill’s invention are of special significance: she developed the concept for a new rocket engine, the hydrazine resistojet, and she foresaw the inherent value and simplicity of using a single propellant. Her invention resulted in not only higher engine performance but also increased reliability of the propulsion system. And because of the reduction in propellant weight requirements, either increased payload capability or extended mission life.
"As a result of her innovative concepts for satellite propulsion systems and her breakthrough engineering solutions, Brill earned an international reputation as a pioneer in space exploration and utilization. Brill invented the hydrazine resistojet propulsion system in 1967 for which she holds U.S. Patent No. 3,807,657. Her invention became a standard in the industry. Brill’s invention translates into millions of dollars of increased revenue for commercial communications satellite owners."
"Through her personal and dedicated efforts, the resistojet system was developed and first applied on an RCA spacecraft in 1983. Subsequently, the system concept became a satellite industry standard. Satellites using her invention form the backbone of the worldwide communication network."
The preceeding quotation are from RCA Astro Electronics (Photo from White House ceremony courtesy of Ryan K. Morris/National Science & Technology Medals Foundation.)