College of Engineering News Room

Dean Bishop Receives Prestigious Aerospace Award

Dean Bishop Award

By Brad Stager 

When a rocket launches and takes flight, it’s not a seat of the pants operation to navigate it or its payload toward a location in orbit or to a destination like the moon or an occupied space station.

Recognizing the technical expertise required to create systems that keep space traveling vehicles and explorers on the right trajectory is the purpose behind the Mechanics and Control of Flight Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 

The 2023 recipient of the award is Dean Robert Bishop of the University of South Florida College of Engineering, “For distinguished contributions to spacecraft control systems, especially for pioneering advancements of guidance and navigation systems for the Space Shuttle and ALHAT, and precision landings,” reads the award citation.

Bishop was among aerospace professionals who were honored during the 2023 AIAA SciTech Forum that was held in January at National Harbor, Maryland.

The theme for this year’s gathering was Ignite the Future: Explore the Frontiers of Aerospace and it assembled a range of experts who considered technological challenges as well as policy issues pertaining to the aerospace industry. The accomplishments of this year’s awardees were recognized in categories such as aerospace literature and propellants and combustion, among others.

“We are proud to recognize these accomplished individuals for their influence on the aerospace profession, their outstanding merit, and their unique contributions to the art, science, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “Chosen by their peers, these visionaries, technological leaders, and exemplary professionals are truly inspirational. We are grateful for their efforts working toward a better world.”

After earning his PhD in electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, Bishop rose through the academic ranks at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, becoming department chair before leaving to serve as Marquette University’s Dean of Engineering.

Bishop became dean of USF’s College of Engineering in 2014 and is also founder, president and CEO Of the USF Institute of Applied Engineering which researches answers to problems related to issues such as cybersecurity, transportation and energy.

The recognition by AIAA with one of the most prestigious aerospace awards acknowledges Bishop’s contributions to the U.S. space program and the overall advancement of space flight and navigation.

The AIAA’s Mechanics and Control of Flight Award recognizes outstanding technical or scientific contributions in systems that guide and control flight through the atmosphere or space. Bishop’s contributions as a space navigation engineer span from the U.S. Space Shuttle program to the present, especially his work with NASA in developing Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) that will facilitate space travel from earth orbit to across the galaxy. The algorithms developed for ALHAT systems enable spacecraft to safely navigate during planetary landings, whether it be a descent upon runway 15-33 at the Kennedy Space Center or a designated spot on the Valles Marineris of Mars.

The AIAA has almost 30,000 members who represent 91 countries, making it the world’s largest society of aerospace technical 

professionals from industry, government and academia. You can learn more about AIAA by visiting