Since winning the 2007 award while completing his PhD at Stanford University, California, Lohner says he has had “many exciting opportunities open up for me in the area of rocket propulsion development”. After leaving Stanford, he moved to Los Angeles to become the senior propulsion lead for Northrop Grumman’s Altair Lunar Lander project. “This was a fulfilling two-year venture which allowed me the chance to perform design and analysis work for manned cryogenic propulsion systems,” he says.
He has since moved on. “As NASA refocused their mission with more emphasis on commercial spaceflight, I recently decided to pursue a career at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) as a senior propulsion development engineer,” he says. “Here I am developing advanced solutions for boost propulsion systems for their Falcon line of launch vehicles.”
Lohner adds: “It is very rewarding to be making advances in a new era of manned space exploration. Winning the ESoYA was an amazing experience and one that I feel helped put me on a solid path to realizing my dreams. There is a whole world of unique challenges out there in aerospace needing new minds to conquer. If you are a student passionate about engineering new solutions, I would highly recommend applying for the Engineering Student of the Year Award. It can help set the stage for a career you can’t even yet imagine.”