- IEEE Simon Ramo Medal
Heinz Stoewer’s systems engineering approach to solving complex challenges has led to the successful implementation of important international space projects and has benefitted diverse industries. Stoewer was the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first program manger for the Spacelab project, where he created a strong systems group. Spacelab was essentially a small reusable space station designed to fit within the cargo bay of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Shuttle that consisted of pressurized modules, unpressurized pallets, and other hardware that could be reconfigured for specific missions. Stoewer’s systems engineering approach was critical to the success of the project, where the Spacelab and Shuttle depended on each other for power, life support, thermal management, crew functions, and communication. In these efforts, he led the requirements, system definition, and interface negotiations between ESA and NASA. This work ultimately set the stage for U.S. and European cooperation on the International Space Station. Stoewer also founded the ESA’s Systems Engineering and Programmatics Department, where he implemented an end-to-end systems engineering philosophy across ESA projects. He served as managing director of the German Space Agency’s national space science and applications projects, which included important work on shuttle imaging radar and the gravity recovery and climate experiment. Stoewer was also founding director of Delft University of Technology’s international master’s degree program in space systems engineering, where he introduced the use of small satellite-based projects as an effective teaching and training tool for engineering students. He has extended the influence of systems engineering beyond aerospace projects to universities, private companies, and government laboratories. Serving on the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), he helped to broaden the organization’s global perspective beyond aerospace and added a commercial component to complement its original aerospace focus. For the past eight years, Stoewer has been a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has been helping to transform their system capabilities into a modern model-based systems engineering set of assets.
A member of the International Academy of Astronautics and recipient of the NASA Administrator Public Service Award (1984 and 1995) and of the Medal of the German Bundesrat (Senate), Stoewer is president of Space Associates GmbH, Munich, Germany.