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University of Maryland alumnus Brent Sherwood (M.S. ‘88, aerospace engineering) has committed to establishing the Brent Sherwood Space Architecture Endowed Undergraduate Research Award in Engineering through a future estate gift. This unique fund will be aimed at supporting future engineers with an eye towards building for life in space and will provide for students conducting research in space architecture.

Supporting work like this is critical according to Sherwood who has written that “someday, most of humanity may live in space: only the solar system’s unlimited material and energy resources and lack of precious native ecology will allow humanity to expand far beyond today’s billions.”

Sherwood is currently Senior Vice President, Advanced Development Programs (ADP) for Blue Origin. ADP is responsible for in-space vehicles and systems, comprising programs in Lunar Permanence, Space Mobility, Space Destinations and Space Transportation.

“The exploration and development of space, including its settlement, are foundational for an open-ended future where civilization is not forever limited to this one, precious planet,” explained Sherwood, who was born the same year as NASA. “I have made Space Architecture my life’s work: education, training, career, volunteerism, and mentoring.”

Prior to Blue Origin, Sherwood spent 14 years NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory leading planetary mission formulation and before that spent 17 years at Boeing leading space mission concept development, program development, business development, manufacturing engineering (Space Station), and concept engineering (lunar/Mars, robotic and human exploration).

According to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Space Architecture is defined as the “theory and practice of designing and building environments for human use in outer space.”

Looking beyond that description, Sherwood describes space architecture as being both technical and humanistic. While engineers in space architecture design for the physical survival of humans in space, they must also consider the “needs and expectations that govern work effectiveness, psychological well-being, sociological accommodation, and enrichment of the human spirit.”

“Together with others gripped by the vision of expanding humankind beyond Earth, I have tried to exemplify, promote, and professionalize Space Architecture,” Sherwood said. “And on that journey, I have been inspired, guided, and boosted by many teachers, peers, and colleagues, by a wealth of ideas and by our progress in space flight, and with the assistance of many scholarships, fellowships, and opportunities.”

It is through that lens that Sherwood has committed to the future establishment of the Brent Sherwood Space Architecture Endowed Undergraduate Research Award in Engineering.

“It is a small way of giving the wheel another turn, one that I hope helps students and teams discover and advance space architecture.”

To discuss how you can support Fearless Aerospace Terps while creating your legacy,
contact Almarie Wood at 301-405-9836 or aiwood@umd.edu or call the University of Maryland Office of Gift Planning at 1-866-646-4UMD.



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October 13, 2021


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The exploration and development of space, including its settlement, are foundational for an open-ended future where civilization is not forever limited to this one, precious planet.

Brent Sherwood (M.S. ‘88, aerospace engineering)

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