News & Events
Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Lin Li who was competitively selected for a 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Soumyo Dutta who was awarded the 2013 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship by the National Space Club for his work in the development of advanced estimation techniques with application to entry, descent and landing system performance and vehicle design. This award was presented during the Club's annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, a black tie event on Friday, March 22 in Washington, D.C. Soumyo is the second SSDL student in four years to receive this honor.
Congratulations to Professor Spencer and the Prox-1 team who won this year's University Nanosat Program competition sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Georgia Tech Prox-1 mission is designed to demonstrate automated trajectory control in low-Earth orbit relative to a deployed CubeSat. This spacecraft has been designed, fabricated and tested by a team of undergraduate and graduate students who will also be responsible for mission operations. As the winner of the UNP-7 competition, the Prox-1 mission will receive an Air Force launch slot (likely in 2015) as a secondary payload.
The Space Systems Design Laboratory is pleased to welcome two new graduate students in the Spring 2013 semester: David Blette and Adam Sidor
Congratulations to the seven SSDL students who earned a degree in December 2012. Ph.D. graduate Jean-Francois Castet; M.S. graduates: Juan Cruz-Ayoroa, Loic Brevault, Jeremy Hill, Stephanie Stout, and Allison Willingham; B.S. graduate: Molly Bittner.
Congratulations to Chris Cordell, Soumyo Dutta, Milad Mahzari, and John Theisinger who completed their Ph.D. proposals in Fall semester 2012.
Congratulations to Jean-Francois Castet, who successfully completed his Ph.D. and will graduate in December 2012. His dissertation is entitled, "Reliability, Multi-State Failures and Survivability of Spacecraft and Space-Based Networks."
Congratulations to SSDL graduate student Milad Mahzari, who received the Sam Nunn Security Fellowship for 2012-2013.
SSDL alum John Christian, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, will be joining the faculty of West Virginia University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in January 2013.
SSDL alumnus Luke Walker received first place in the 20th annual Frank J. Redd Student Scholarship Competition at the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah on August 15, 2012. Luke's paper is entitled "Automated Proximity Operations Using Image-Based Relative Navigation." His work focuses on the development of an automated navigation system for orbital proximity operations using continuous thrust propulsion and passive visible and infrared imaging. His research has been developed under the advisement of Prof. David Spencer as part of the Prox-1 University Nanosat project within the Center for Space Systems and the Space Systems Design Laboratory. Luke received a $10,000 award along with this honor.
The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering is pleased to welcome Assistant Professor Marcus Holzinger to Georgia Tech. Professor Holzinger is a recent Ph.D. graduate of Professor Dan Scheeres' research group at the University of Colorado, Boulder and has been working with Professor Terry Alfriend as a post-doc senior research associate at Texas A&M since completing his Ph.D. Professor Holzinger's research interests focus on the development and application of analytic and numeric methods to current astrodynamics challenges in the fields of space situational awareness, formation flight, rendezvous, and proximity operations. His research includes topics in spacecraft guidance, navigation and control, optimal control, estimation and information theory.
In 2012, SSDL Research Engineer Jenny Kelly and graduate students Zach Putnam and Mike Grant worked with Sierra Nevada Corporation on the design of an advanced guidance algorithm that would make the most of the Dream Chaser's superior aerodynamic performance during re-entry and landing. "To be able to participate in the new era of commercial flight is very exciting," Grant said. "It has been a great learning experience to see how commercial space companies work and a real thrill to contribute in a meaningful way to the potential flight of this new space flight system."
Congratulations to Aerospace Engineering and SSDL alumnus Dr. Ian Clark, who was recognized with a Presidential Early Career Award for exceptional leadership and achievement in the pursuit of advanced entry, descent and landing technologies and techniques for space exploration missions. Dr. Clark's Ph.D. research at Georgia Tech focused on the Aerodynamic Design, Analysis and Validation of a Supersonic Inflatable Decelerator. This research led directly to the NASA Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project for which he is now the Principle Investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ian is one of six individuals associated with NASA to receive this award in 2012. This is highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of careers.
On August 5, the world watched as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) autonomously landed on Mars. The fate of the most ambitious machine humans have ever sent to another planet rested on an innovative seven-minute landing sequence that was years in the making. SSDL alumni Devin Kipp and Ravi Prakash have been part of the MSL entry, descent and landing team since graduating from Georgia Tech in 2005 with M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering; SSDL alumnus David Way has been part of this team since 2004. In the LA times, Kipp stated, "It's not really possible to do an end-to-end test on Earth — because Earth is not Mars. The first time we do that end-to-end test, it's not a test. It's the real thing. On Mars."
Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA), a newly formed Georgia business providing atmospheric reentry services to enhance safety and promote the utilization of outer space, is offering small Re-Entry Devices (RED) designed for unprecedented data collection during reentry breakup and for return of small payloads from space. Through a research and development partnership with SSDL, TVA will expand its product line. The next generation of RED products, currently in design within SSDL, will provide reentry data collection from distributed sensors (RED-Sensor), low-cost flight opportunities for technology advancement (RED-Test), small payload return (RED-Treasure), and "black box" safety recording for human spaceflight missions (RED-SafeReturn). This partnership is made possible through support by the Georgia Tech VentureLab and the Georgia Research Alliance.
Professor Braun was awarded the 2012 Alvin Seiff Memorial Award at the 9th International Planetary Probe Workshop for contributions to space science and technology. This award is bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to the technology, science, and mission planning of atmospheric entry probe missions that advance the knowledge of planets or moons in the solar system, and the mentoring of young engineers and scientists in these fields.
SSDL alum Mike Grant will be joining the faculty of Purdue University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in July 2012.