RENCI People Interview with David French

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Watch entire video or click on any question below:

Q: You have degrees in aerospace and astronautical engineering, including a Ph.D. you received in August, what inspired you to pursue this field?

Q: How does your Air Force career relate to your academic career?

Q: Are asteroids and comets hitting the Earth something we should worry about? How likely is it to happen?

Q: This year, there were several articles published about you and your theory on how to deflect comets or asteroids from impacting the Earth. How does it feel to be known as the guy that may be responsible for saving the entire planet one day?

Q: Your research is about an asteroid-tether-ballast system and how it can effectively alter the motion of an asteroid, can you explain how this system will protect the Earth from an asteroid hit?

Q: What is next for you and this field of research?


Major David French is the deputy director of the Air Force Center for Rapid Product Development at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and was commissioned via Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama in May 1995. He has held numerous assignments over his 15-year career, including service as an aircraft maintenance officer on the MC-130E Combat Talon I special operations aircraft and as an instructor in the department of astronautics at the United States Air Force Academy. He completed his master’s at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2003 and was selected to take part in the AFIT Civilian Institution program, which allows Air Force personnel to attend universities to receive advanced education and training in highly technical subjects. Major French chose to attend North Carolina State University, where he studied aerospace engineering and recently completed his Ph.D.