Paul van Susante

Paul van Susante


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  • Assistant Professor, Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship of Mechanical Engineering
  • Affiliated Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
  • Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE) Faculty Advisor
  • PhD, Engineering Systems, Colorado School of Mines
  • MS, Engineering Systems, Colorado School of Mines
  • MS, Civil Engineering (Structural / Building Engineering), TU-Delft


Dr. van Susante grew up in The Netherlands, received a Master of Science from Delft University of Technology in 2001 in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Building Engineering. He then went to the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) to participate in NASA research and received a Master of Science in Engineering Systems from CSM in 2004 followed by a PhD in Engineering Systems from CSM in 2011. Dr. van Susante taught Freshman, Sophomore and Senior Design as well as Mechanics of Materials for five years at CSM before coming to Michigan Technological University in 2012. He was a NASA Faculty Fellow in 2010 and consulted for a variety of companies on SBIR or STTR projects such as University of Arizona, Sysrand Corporation, Energid, HoneyBee Robotics and others. He has been involved in research projects for many customers including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, TransAstra, DARPA, NASA KSC, JPL, Bechtel, Caterpillar, NCHRP, NSF and others.

Dr. van Susante is the PI of the Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL).

Teaching Interests

  • Engineering Design Process
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • System Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering Practice
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Intro to Aerospace Engineering
  • Space System Engineering
  • Space Resource Utilization
  • Senior Design Capstone / Enterprise Project
  • Product Realization

Areas of Expertise

  • Solid Mechanics
  • Structural Design
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Engineering Design Process
  • System Engineering
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering (Aerospace, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Mining, Architecture)
  • Extreme Environment Design
  • Civil and Mining Engineering
  • Education
  • Optimization and Modeling

Research Interests

  • Extreme Environment Technologies (Space, Underwater, Mining, Arctic, etc.)
  • Excavation and Mining Technology
  • Planetary Science and Exploration
  • In-Situ Resource Utilization
  • Space Mining and Construction
  • Design Optimization
  • Robotics and Automation
  • System Engineering and Integration