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 DOWNEY, Calif., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- As a child in Tehran, Iran, young Siamak Ghofranian was fascinated with things that flew. In fourth grade he joined a flying club and started building model airplanes. He dreamed of moving to America to work on space systems like the spectacular Apollo craft he saw on TV. Finally, in 1976, with the Apollo program winding down following the historic 1975 Apollo/Soyuz Test Project linking the United States and former Soviet Union in space, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.
 Little did Ghofranian know he would one day lead one of several teams of Rockwell Space Systems Division (SSD) engineers working under NASA contract to once again join the United States and Russia in a new era of space cooperation. Tonight at an awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Long Beach, Calif., top Rockwell executives will honor the 36-year-old senior engineering specialist in vehicle and systems analysis as an Engineer of the Year, the company's highest honor for technical achievement, for work that will aid in the docking of Russia's space station Mir with the space shuttle Atlantis in 1995 and later in the construction of an international space station.
 Ghofranian is being honored for applying state-of-the art simulation software to highly complex spacecraft docking mechanisms. He is one of only 14 of Rockwell's 15,000 engineers and scientists the company is recognizing for outstanding technical contributions to its automation, avionics, aerospace, defense electronics, telecommunications, automotive components and graphic systems businesses during 1993.
 In presenting the award, Donald R. Beall, Rockwell chairman and chief executive officer and honorary 1994 National Engineers Week chairman, praised Ghofranian's work on the Russian Androgenous Peripheral Docking Assembly (APDA). NASA has selected the APDA for the shuttle/Mir and shuttle/space station docking programs. Rockwell is procuring, qualifying and flight certifying an APDA for the space agency through a subcontract to NPO Energia of Moscow.
 "He has clearly demonstrated that remarkable technical ability, innovative approaches, and a team-oriented leadership style can solve seemingly impossible problems," Beall said. "As a result, Rockwell's reputation with the Russian Space Agency has been significantly enhanced, with a commensurate sense of appreciation by NASA."
 Robert L. Cattoi, Rockwell senior vice president, Research and Engineering, added, "Ghofranian's efforts have resulted in Rockwell being recognized by both NASA and Russia as the expert in modeling, analysis, and understanding of this complex mechanism. Such expertise is vital for the proper definition of docking loads and capture boundaries, and has led to the identification of modifications necessary to use the APDA for docking the shuttle to the future space station."
 The APDA hardware will be assembled into Rockwell's shuttle airlock for integration into a kit that will be delivered to NASA and installed into a shuttle orbiter. The kit will provide manually controlled capture and latch-up with Mir. The APDA was designed for Soyuz and Buran missions to Mir.
 Ghofranian's APDA work began in late 1992 when he visited Russia on the first of eight trips to help incorporate the Russian APDA into the proposed mission. During that trip, he learned the Russians had not attempted to develop a sophisticated model of the mechanism because of its extreme complexity.
 Believing he could draw upon his previous docking mechanism modeling experience, he requested details on the Russian device.
 Through face-to-face meetings in Russia with NPO Energia's Vladlimir Syromiatnikov, a leading design engineer responsible for portions of Sputnik and the Apollo/Soyuz APDA, Ghofranian learned the Russian mechanism was complex, and could not be accurately modeled using standard methods.
 Fortunately, Ghofranian was in a position to develop and apply non- standard modeling methods. Because of his excellent working relationship with Computer Aided Design Software Inc. (CADSI), developers of the state-of-the-art mechanism simulation software Dynamics Analysis Design System (DADS), he received modification access to CADSI's software, allowing him to write his own modules and stretch the DADS capabilities beyond existing ones.
 Verification of Rockwell's modeling came last summer when Ghofranian supported full-scale hardware simulation tests in Russia. The Rockwell predicted loads matched the measured test data remarkably well. Further evidence of the model's accuracy came when Rockwell predicted the loads for "extreme" test conditions the Russians considered too dangerous to test. Based on this information, the tests were eventually run, without incident. The Russians came to rely on Rockwell's pre-test analysis to assure their test safety.
 Finally, the Russians thought anomalous test results were being caused by unknown peculiarities in the docking mechanism. Rockwell, under Ghofranian's guidance, demonstrated the anomalies were caused not by the docking mechanism, but by the test facility. The result was an enormous enhancement of Rockwell's technical reputation among Russia's aerospace community.
 Ghofranian says the Russians have made impressive space hardware accomplishments despite a lack of fast computers. "What they lack in computer hardware they make up for in efficient software," he said. "They perform extensive testing; we have the edge in simulations. Mechanically, though, the final hardware is largely the same. The major challenge is certifying the Russian systems, which is complicated by differences in documentation processes."
 Ghofranian is also helping the U.S. space station docking team understand the APDA's complexities. These efforts will enhance the team's ability to identify hardware modifications required for future shuttle/station docking missions.
 Ghofranian earned his bachelor and master of science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University. He taught there briefly, then worked first for an aerospace consulting firm and then Rohr Inc. prior to joining Rockwell in 1985 as a member of the technical staff, performing dynamic simulations of space station dockings for Rockwell's station proposal team. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
 Ghofranian served as an industry representative consultant to the senior design engineering class at Texas A&M University by invitation of former NASA JSC Center Director Aaron Cohen. He has also taught a DADS class to 30 Rockwell engineers under sponsorship of California State University, Fullerton.
 Ghofranian, his wife, Azita, and their daughter Atoosa live in Yorba Linda, Calif.
 Rockwell's Engineer of the Year program is held annually in conjunction with National Engineers Week, this year Feb. 20-26. The program has honored only 275 Rockwell employees in its 19-year history. Each honoree receives a silver medallion stamped with the image of Leonardo da Vinci, celebrating the tradition of innovation and the continuing spirit of discovery.
 Rockwell SSD is prime contractor for NASA's space shuttle orbiters, orbiter system integration, orbiter cargo integration, and the U.S. Air Force's Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS) Block II/IIA navigation satellites. The division is also involved in the design, development, production, integration, and test of other manned and unmanned spacecraft, payloads, and supporting hardware for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial users. SSD and NPO Energia provided docking hardware for the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project.
 NPO Energia is an advanced technology organization responsible for design and manufacture of the Energia launcher and manned systems including the Soyuz-TM and Progress-M spacecraft, Mir space station, and Buran shuttle.
 Rockwell is a diversified, high-technology company holding leadership market positions in automation, avionics, aerospace, defense electronics, telecommunications, automotive components and graphic systems, with annual worldwide sales of $11 billion.
 -0- 2/24/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Photo available./
 /CONTACT: Alan Buis of Rockwell International, 310-922-1856/

CO: Rockwell International; NPO Energia ST: California IN: ARO SU:

JM-JP -- LA047 -- 5486 02/24/94 17:06 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1994

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