Thomas Antony
PhD Student
Kochi, India
tantony <at>

Current research is focused on incorporating unpredictable/chaotic behavior into optimal trajectories and trajectory optimization of swarms using indirect methods. Prior work includes development of a GPU-accelerated optimal control solver using the multiple shooting method which has significant performance gains over the state-of-the-art direct methods for trajectory optimization.


Kshitij Mall

PhD Student
Gorakhpur, India
mall <at>

Investigating the feasibility and benefits of performing human-class Mars missions using slender entry vehicles. This exploration architecture enables the use of highly maneuverable systems without configuration change. Deceleration is accomplished using lift to direct the motion of the vehicle upward such that gravity provides terminal deceleration. Research also encompasses incorporating risk analysis within traditional design environments.


Mughilan Ramasamy

PhD Student
Bangalore, India
mthirura <at>

Research centered on the near-term capability to perform real-time trajectory optimization though the use of both parametric and non-parametric prediction techniques.


Harish Saranathan

PhD Student
Hosur, India
hsaranat <at>

Developing the capability to perform rapid modeling of entry vehicle heating distributions and corresponding steady state ablation of thermal protection systems. This research is conducted to support the rapid design of slender entry vehicle that undergo substantial shape change. Current efforts focused on validation of the methodology with finite difference solvers.


Zhenbo Wang

PhD Student
Xuzhou, China
wang2351 <at>

Investigating the feasibility of convex optimization methods in hypersonic missions such as Earth reentry and Mars EDL. Current efforts are focused on convexification of highly constrained trajectory optimization problems which are traditionally solved as nonlinear optimal control problems. Emphasis is placed on potential onboard guidance applications.


Max Fagin

MS Student
Colorado Springs, CO
mfagin <at>

Investigating the use of retro-propulsive systems to enable high mass crewed missions to Mars. Emphasis is placed on rapid evaluation of high level architecture trade-offs and the design of hypersonic systems for high reusability and low cost.


Michael Sparapany

MS Student
Bolingbrook, IL
msparapa <at>

Investigating methods of reducing the dimensionality of the control Hamiltonian using integrals of optimal motion. The goal of this research is to create a reliable method of performing real-time trajectory optimization.


Joseph Williams

MS Student
Casa Grande, AZ
will1226 <at>

Developing the capability to rapidly perform mission design of airbreathing hypersonic propulsion systems. Emphasis is placed on characterizing the complex, coupled interactions associated with airbreathing systems and trajectory optimization to better characterize the flight of these systems during conceptual design.



Megan Youngs

Dublin, Ohio
Post-graduation employment: The Aerospace Corporation

Developed a mission architecture to support the recovery of launch vehicle stages using inflatables. The inflatables are capable of providing a benign entry environment while also potentially serving as a means of atmospheric buoyancy through their large size. Research demonstrated the feasibility of returning first stages to Cape Canaveral within a month. The trajectory of the recovered stage is controlled by leveraging the various wind directions at different altitudes. Atmospheric wind information was provided by Earth GRAM, trajectory optimization was performed using dynamic programming, and system sizing was performed using current inflatable research supporting planetary exploration.

Michael J. Grant 2014
Special thanks to Petronio Bendito for logo creation.