The Advanced Astrodynamics Concepts (AAC) research group is led by Professor James M. Longuski in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University. The research group concentrates on spacecraft and mission design concepts that may advance future exploration of the Solar System in the next decades.

 Some of the current research projects include the following:

  • Mission concepts for the exploration of small solar system bodies (minor planets, asteroids, comets, KBOs etc.).
  • Strategies to establish permanent human presence on Mars.
  • Rapid conceptual planetary science mission design.
  • Innovative and low-cost planetary exploration missions concepts using cubesats.
  • Development of analytical planetary entry theories for conceptual design and on-board guidance.
  • Mission design for the exploration of the Ice-Giants Uranus and Neptune.
  • Design of aerogravity assist missions.
  • Analytic theory of spacecraft attitude dynamics and control.
  • Deep space radiation mitigation using an Ultra-Massive Mars Cycler.
  • One Way to Mars: Homesteading Mars with the first human Missions.

Please see the dissertations and publications section to know more about the past research carried out by the group. Information for prospective students can be found here. You can explore students’ spacecraft design projects or learn elementary rocket science for beginners. There is also a page dedicated to media. Explore.


L to R: Peter Edelman, Sarag Saikia, Prof. James Longuski, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Kyle Hughes, Andrew Aldrin, baby Logan, and Christina Korp. The photograph is taken in the atrium of the Neil A. Armstrong Hall of Engineering where the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University is located.

+ As a part of ongoing collaborations, Gemini and Apollo astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin visited Purdue University from January 14–16, 2015 to interact with Prof. Longuski’s Advanced Astrodynamics Concepts research group and the students in the senior design course in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Named as “Project Aldrin-Purdue,” students in the course, under guidance, are evaluating Dr. Aldrin’s plan to establish permanent human presence on Mars by 2040. Prof. Longuski’s Advanced  Astrodynamics Concepts group is honored to have Dr. Aldrin on campus. Dr. Aldrin will visit again in April 2015.

Ms. Michelle Munk, currently the principal investigator for Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Technologies within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will be visiting Purdue University from November 19–20, 2014. Michelle will also interact with Prof. Longuski and the research group.
Ms. Munk will deliver a distinguished seminar titled, “From the Beach to Mars: One Engineer’s Journey,” at 5:30 p.m. in Armstrong Hall, Room B061. The seminar is free and open to the public.

Purdue news story on Michelle’s visit.

L to R: Prof. James Longuski, Peter Edelman, Kaela Martin, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Blake Rogers, Kyle Hughes, and Sarag Saikia. On the backdrop is the Neil A. Armstrong statue infront of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering where the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University is located.

+ Apollo astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second person to set foot on the Moon visited the Advanced Astrodynamics Concepts research group from October 30–31, 2014. The research group and Dr. Aldrin held numerous intense and  stimulating discussions on ideas of long-term and sustainable human exploration of Mars. Dr. Aldrin has been a long collaborator with Prof. James Longuski. This was Dr. Aldrin’s second visit to interact with the research group in the last one year.

+ Dr. Ralph D. Lorenz, Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD, visited Purdue University from April 14 to April 15, 2014. Dr. Lorenz interacted with the research group on both the days. Dr. Lorenz delivered two interesting talks on Huygens Probe as well as on Saturn’s moon Titan.

+ Apollo astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon with the late Neil Armstrong, visited Purdue University on October 16, 2013. Buzz interacted exclusively with the research group during the day. Buzz also discussed about his new book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.” He delivered a presentation, “Buzz Aldrin’s Unified Space Vision,” at 7 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union South Ballroom.

+ Professor James M. Longuski’s new book titled, “Optimal Control with Aerospace applications,” has been published. The co-authors of the book are Jose J. Guzman (Ph.D., now with Orbital Sciences) and John E. Prussing (Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). The book is largely based out of the course (Optimization in Aerospace Engineering) Professor Longuski teaches at Purdue University. The book is published by Springer and the details of the book can be seen here.