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AESA Past President Receives the Rober C. McMaster Gold Medal Award

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) presented Dr. Shant Kenderian with the Rober C. McMaster Gold Medal, during their annual banquet, which took place in Nashville TN on November 1st, 2017.

The purpose of the award:

To provide recognition for outstanding contributions, exceptional meritorious service or significant advancement in any area of nondestructive testing and/or the Society.

Below is the nomination letter, submitted by a former recipient of the Gold Medal.

Education Path

Shant holds a BS degree in Production Engineering and Metallurgy from the University of Technology in Baghdad in 1985, an MS degree in 1996 in Manufacturing Engineering and Technology from the California State University in Los Angeles, a second MS degree and a PhD degree both in Materials Science and Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 2002.

Career Path

While a PhD student at JHU, Shant invented a new technique for railroad track inspection and another technique for wayside railroad wheel inspections. He also built a working prototype to demonstrate his new technology. The new technique can find flaws in rails that are difficult to detect with other methods and it is being further developed for railroad track inspections. In 2003, after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, he joined a NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) team called “Super Problem Resolution Team”, which was tasked with developing new Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques to avoid future failures. The team considered several inspection challenges related to the space shuttle program including different inspection approaches for the Sprayed On Foam Insulation (SOFI) that covered the shuttle external tank.  Eventually, the efforts of this team led to the return to flight of the space shuttle program, which was grounded for approximately 2 years. Shant later joined The Aerospace Corporation as a member of the technical staff, and subsequently became a department director. The Aerospace Corporation supports the US Air Force space program, NASA, Missile Defense Agency, and other civil and commercial entities. Shant takes an active role in his department and leads an NDE team that routinely solves inspection problems that are often deemed too complicated or undoable by other experts. Although, most of these challenges are brought to the team with little time remaining for developing a solution, their track record for actually finding a solution is nearly 100%. Some of the cost savings that resulted from the innovative solutions that he and his team have developed are estimated in the millions of dollars, including one evaluated at $25 million in 2010 and another at $100 million in 2011. In recognition for the latter effort, he received multiple corporate awards from The Aerospace Corporation, as well as one from the contractor – Lockheed Martin.

In 2010 Shant discovered a behavior in ultrasonic surface waves that was not known before. He explained this phenomenon theoretically and experimentally in a paper that was published in Research in Nondestructive Evaluation in 2010. The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) selected this paper for its Outstanding Paper Award in 2011.  In 2016, Shant and his team developed a technique to inspect the bond quality for the heatshields that are bonded to a composite substrate on the NASA Orion space capsule. The Orion capsule is intended to carry astronauts to the moon in 2019. NASA had been attempting a solution for more than a year but the inspection problem proved to be too difficult to solve. In a short time, Shant’s team developed a very successful inspection method that is capable of detecting a variety of defects, including the evasive kissing unbonds. The inhomogeneous and highly scattering and attenuating heatshield material makes this inspection particularly difficult. NASA considers this to be one of the primary inspection techniques for the Orion heatshields. In recognition for this effort, NASA presented Shant with an Engineering Excellence award on November 17, 2016 as well as a group achievement award.

ASNT Activities

Shant Kenderian is a Fellow of ASNT and a very active member of the organization. He served on the Board of Directors a total of 6 years, and chaired and served on a number of committees within ASNT. He created the Student Travel Grant to encourage students to attend and present in the Research Symposium, and the Research Council mentoring program, which became a very successful movement in ASNT. He has been a longtime participant in NDT conferences, given 30 presentations, organized and chaired 28 sessions, and was the general chair for 6 national and international conferences. He also participated as the keynote speaker for ASNT in Salt Lake City in 2015, IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for Aerospace in Italy in 2015, and the Nondestructive Testing in Aerospace Industry Conference in Japan in 2016.


Shant Kenderian has a publication record of 18 peer reviewed Journal papers, 22 conference proceeding, 50 Aerospace technical reports, 3 patents, and 2 pending patents.

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