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Ongoing Projects

Note: Unless otherwise noted, project Principal Investigator (PI) is Dr. DeLaurentis.

High Speed Flight Systems & Defense Cluster

Hypersonics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (HAMTC)
Sponsor: The Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology (OSD ManTech)

SynopsisThe team uses the SoS and physics-based tools to confirm the effectiveness of the thermal protection system design for hypersonic vehicles.


Design, Build, Test, and Fly (DBTF) Time Reduction
SponsorStratolaunch, Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
Co-Investigator: Dr. Leifur Leifsson (AAE)

SynopsisThe team optimizes/minimizes the cycle time for the Design, Build, Test, and Fly (DBTF) process by using the SoS tools


Mission-Aware Integrated Digital Transformation for Operational Advantage

SynopsisThe research includes identifying the current best practices in digital modeling, developing actionable recommendations for cohesive operations-driven digital modeling, and demonstrating use cases. The research takes three use cases for demonstration: air, sea, and ground. In each case, we investigate how digital engineering is used and how decisions are made in operations.


Multidisciplinary Hypersonic Program: Enabling Technologies for High-Speed Operable Systems
SponsorAir Force Research Lab (AFRL)
Co-Investigator: Air Force Research Lab (AFRL)

SynopsisThe research includes developing and demonstrating a system-of-systems tool conglomerate to optimize complex design problems for hypersonic vehicles, which are subject to severe size, weight, and power sensitivities. In particular, we focus on the aerodynamics tool, trajectory simulation tool, ablation modeling tool, and optimization tool.


SponsorUniversity Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH)
Co-investigators: Dr. Shreyas Sundaram (ECE)

Synopsis: The team applies optimal trajectory generation techniques and the SoS AWB tool suite to hypersonic vehicle missions, allowing multiple hypersonic and conventional vehicles to complete preemptive strike and defensive missions.

Advanced Aerial Mobility & Air Transportation Cluster

Operations limits for passenger-carrying Urban Air Mobility missions
Principal-investigators: Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis, Dr. William Crossley
Sponsor: National Institute of Aerospace, NASA Langley Research Center

Synopsis: The convergence of new technologies, such as electric propulsion, autonomy, and new business models, such as app-based ride sharing, are generating the potential for a new aviation market known as Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to emerge. It is envisioned that UAM may revolutionize mobility within metropolitan areas by enabling a safe, efficient, convenient, affordable, and accessible air transportation system for passengers and cargo. Such an air transportation system could bring aviation into people’s daily lives and provide an augmentation and/or alternative to other ground-based transit modes, such as cars. The UAM market is not likely to appear overnight. Rather, some form of evolutionary approach based on the pace of technology development, infrastructure limitations, societal acceptance, airspace integration, and many other factors may bring us from the current state of the art to the envisioned future state where aviation is a normal part of people’s daily lives. To help NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) consider potential near-term applications for passenger-carrying UAM and which issues will be the key “bottlenecks” limiting the scalability of early UAM operations, this task is focused on studying the “operational limits” of near-term UAM applications. The work builds upon previous methodology developments of the Purdue PIs to assess the mobility benefits from CTOL and VTOL operations, at a regional transportation level and with initial “hooks” into urban areas.

UAM Ops Architecture


Secure and Safe Assured Autonomy (S2A2)
Sponsor:NASA University Leadership Initiative

Synopsis: The recent introduction of unmanned systems into the NAS will bring challenges and opportunities for the nation’s aviation system. The integration of such a complex transportation system creates a clear need to develop new technologies and innovative operational concepts for secure and safe assured autonomy. An unmanned systems future will see the integration of a wide variety of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), personal air vehicles, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles, and cargo and special mission aircraft into the NAS. These developments can leverage UAS Traffic Management (UTM) advancements for the unique requirements of UAM airspace management. The main challenges include: (i) sensing and understanding complex operational surroundings, coordinating different types of aerial vehicles, planning and navigation through highly dynamic and uncertain environments; (ii) securing the NAS against a wide range of malicious adversarial threats, specifically cyber-physical attacks; (iii) verifying and validating autonomous system operation; and, finally, (iv) properly integrating new vehicles and traffic management approaches in the midst of autonomy. Our primary goal is to ensure safe, secure and robust integration of autonomous vehicles into a UAM-tailored transportation infrastructure while maintaining compliance with existing commercial and civil air transportation safety standards.


Aircraft Technology Modeling and Assessment - NextGen Supersonic Fleet evaluation
Principal-investigator: Dr. William Crossley
Co-investigator: Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis
Sponsor: FAA ASCENT Center of Excellence

Synopsis: The project is focused on developing a model that measures fleet-wide environmental impact from new aircraft concepts and technologies under various carbon policy scenarios, based on an approach that mimics airline behavior. Fleet-level Environmental Evaluation Tool (FLEET) considers uses a "system dynamics-like" approach to allow demand, fleet size/composition, and fares to evolve over time while considering scenarios with varying technological, policy, & economic factors. The current focus is a collaborative effort between Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University to leverage capabilities and knowledge available from the multiple entities that make up the ASCENT university partners and advisory committee. Purdue's primary directive for this research project is to support the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in modeling and assessing the potential future evolution of the next-generation supersonic aircraft fleet. Purdue's research under this project consists of three integrated focus areas: (a) establishing fleet assumptions and performing demand assessment; (b) performing preliminary SST environmental impact prediction; (c) performing vehicle and fleet assessments of potential future supersonic aircraft. More details are available at the project website.

System Dynamics Approach

Space Systems Cluster

Mars Sample Return (MSR)
Sponsor: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) 

Synopsis: Developing State Machine Diagrams to model surface operations of the MSR mission, to execute Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) of the mission.

System of Systems /Systems Engineering Methodology Cluster

Production Engineering Education and Research (PEER)
Principal-investigators: Dr. Audeen Fentiman (Engineer Education)
Co-investigators: Dr. Kerrie Douglas (Engineering Education), Dr. Jorge Camba (Purdue polytechnic institute), Dr. John Sutherland (Environmental and Ecological Engineering),Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis
Sponsor: NSF EHR Core Research, Boeing

Synopsis: Production Engineering Education and Research (PEER) aims to accelerate training in critical skill areas for the Nation's engineering and advanced manufacturing workforce. The project at Purdue focuses on the development of online modular courses on MBSE for working professionals, 4-year, and 2-year university students. It is a joint project with faculties of Engineering Education, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, College of Education, Purdue Online.


Mission Engineering-based Integrated Acquisition Portfolio Review (IAPR) Decision-Support Tool
Sponsor: Department of Defense (DoD) via AIRC
Co-investigators: Dr. Jitesh Panchal (ME) 

Synopsis: The team adapts the SoS AWB to create decision-support prototype tools for the Integrated Acquisition Portfolio Reviews (IAPRs) and demonstrates the capability using an anti-surface warfare (ASuW) mission thread.


Mission Aware Digital Transformation
Sponsor: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Synopsis: The team identifies current best practices in digital modeling for DoD and develops actionable recommendations for cohesive operations-driven digital modeling.


STEM Workforce 
Sponsor: DoD via SERC
Co-investigators: Dr. Bill Rouse (external, PI), Dr. Mike Gargano (external), Dr. John Lombardi (external), Dr. Joyce Main (ENE)

Synopsis: DoD is interested in the STEM pipeline from K-12 through college to STEM workforce. Our side is in charge of implementing a Systems Dynamics model of the flow of students through STEM in college, and of adding appropriate factors and policies that can modify this flow based on demographics. The rest of the team at Purdue performs meta-analysis to retrieve quantitative data to be added to the model.