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  • Welcome to the Space Systems Design Laboratory (SSDL)

The Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology creates space technologies and advanced mission concepts that enable new missions and capabilities in robotic and human space exploration. Research focuses on space flight applications and projects. We use modern engineering tools including mission design methodologies, systems engineering, additive manufacturing, simulation, optimization, sensing, estimation and control to propose, participate in, and operate space flight missions that conduct space science and demonstrate new technologies.

The SSDL is a multi-faculty, interdisciplinary research lab located within the School of Aerospace Engineering. The SSDL is currently directed by Prof. E. Glenn Lightsey. Prior SSDL Directors include David A. Spencer (2010-2016), Robert D. Braun (2003-2016), and John R. Olds (1998-2005).

Focus Areas

Small Satellite Flight Projects

Full life cycle design from mission concept to operations

Space Technology Development

Technology maturation enabling new capabilities for spacecraft

Mission Campaign Optimization

Applying optimization theory to design sequential missions

Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation and Control

Creating new methods for spacecraft control

Featured Projects

Upcoming Events

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The TARGIT and GT-1 missions were launched to the ISS as part of the CRS-24 mission on December 21, 2021. The satellites will be deployed from the ISS in the coming months. This is an exciting milestone for the lab and all members of the teams that made this possible.

Congratulations to the following SSDL students on graduating in Fall 2021- Byron Davis and Kenneth Hart(PhD), Brandon Colón, Christopher Murphy, Daniel Nguyen, Kaushik Manchikanti, Maximilian Kolhof and Milad Mozayyni(MS). We wish them the best for the future!


SSDL is pleased to welcome Dr. John Christian who will be joining the Aerospace Engineering department as an Assistant Professor. He joins us from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he was an Assistant Professor of Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering and the Director of the Sensing, Estimation and Automation Laboratory.

His research interests are in image-based spacecraft autonomous navigation and has worked on software for NASA flight missions.

Congratulations to the following SSDL students on graduating in Spring 2021- Hao Chen(PhD), Philippe Clifton, Athreya Gundamraj, Abhijit Harathi, Bhavi Jagatia, Alex Lee, Ricky Macke, Will McNulty, Samuel Rapoport, & Ricardo Saborio(all MS). We wish them the best for the future!

Two SSDL students Onalli Gunasekara and Brandon Colón have been awarded prestigious fellowships by DoD and NASA. These fellowships will support their PhD research.

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