AAE PhD student receives award in research paper competition
Harish Saranathan won the 2018 AIAA SciTech Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Student Paper Competition for his paper titled “The Relaxed Autonomously Switched Hybrid System (RASHS) Approach to Indirect Multi-Phase Trajectory Optimization for Aerospace Vehicles."
The winning paper focuses on simplifying the design of optimal trajectories for hypersonic missions involving multiple phases of flight, which include multi-stage launch to orbit and reentry missions. The topic is part of Harish’s overall research into conceptual mission design of hypersonic systems. His research looks at increasing the fidelity of conceptual hypersonic mission design by:
- Capturing the coupling between the flight dynamics and the evolution of the vehicle geometry resulting from the ablation of its thermal protection system (heat shield), and using this integrated model to design trajectories.
- Incorporating 6 degree-of-freedom flight dynamics model in trajectory design to support simultaneous design of control effectors and actuators.
- Simplifying the design of optimal trajectories for missions involving multiple phases of flight.
Harish is advised by Prof. Michael Grant and is part of the Rapid Design of Systems Laboratory (RDSL). Harish hopes to be a part of future planetary exploration missions.
“I have always been mystified by space since my mom introduced me to it when I was 3 years old,” he says. “I was gifted a book titled “Apollo Expeditions to the Moon.” Although I was too young to actually read it, the pictures it contained of space, Earth and the moon blew my mind. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be in AAE because it provides us the means to explore space.”
Outside of the research lab, he enjoys being a private pilot and playing tennis.