AAC concentrates on spacecraft and mission design concepts that may advance both robotic and human exploration of the solar system in the next decades. AAC is led by Professor James M. Longuski and Professor Sarag Saikia in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. AAC works closely with NASA H.Q., several NASA Centers, and industry partners on a variety of funded projects.

Curiosity-led exploration has fundamentally changed the progression of human society. The desire for exploration has led to a point where we are potentially on the cusp of becoming a multi-planetary species as well as marching ahead to understand our origins via robotic missions. AAC is making small contributions to these grandest and most inspiring endeavors of humankind.

We are working on the design of tools and software for the end-to-end design of human Mars exploration architectures. We have designed and discovered new and efficient ways for humans to go to Mars. We work with Apollo Astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin on his innovative ideas to explore the Moon and establish a permanent human presence on Mars. We are now partnering with NASA and industry to work on new architectures to explore the Moon and Mars in the next few decades.

Some of our projects in support of robotic planetary exploration include design of multi-planet multi-probe missions; design of aerocapture rapid mission design tool; design of advanced mobility concepts for the exploration of Solar System’s ocean worlds, like Europa, Enceladus, and Titan; innovative and low-cost planetary exploration missions using small spacecraft; design of tools for rapid conceptual planetary science mission via concurrent engineering; mission concept formulation for the exploration of the ice-giant planets, Uranus and Neptune that includes trajectory design; moon tours; entry probe design, and their interactions with science objectives.

Our alumni are pioneers and disruptors. One was instrumental in starting the small satellite revolution. Some are renowned professors, and others work at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other NASA Centers, The Aerospace Corporation, the European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and more—designing concepts, technologies, and missions to explore the solar system. Our folks have worked on most of the outer planets flagship missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. Now, a few are working on the NASA’s Europa Clipper mission currently being designed at JPL to explore the Galilean moon Europa through a lander and a series of flybys while in orbit around Jupiter to investigate the potential for life.

We explore and we enable exploration.