Space Systems

The Space Systems research group is involved in aerospace engineering, ion space propulsion, planetary exploration, control systems, and ultra-strong composites.

The Michigan Tech Aerospace Engineering Research Center (MARC) is a focal point for activities related to aerospace engineering.

The Aerospace Enterprise team places an emphasis on space mission design and analysis, vehicle integration,systems engineering, and comprehensive ground testing and qualification.

The Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) is a NASA Space Technology Research Institute awarded in 2017. Its mission is computational development of materials for space applications.

The Ion Space Propulsion Lab (ISP Lab) involves next-generation plasma thrusters for spacecraft.

The Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE) seeks to design, test, and implement robotic technologies for extracting and using local resources, construction, and characterization in extreme environments.

The Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) develops technology solutions for planetary surface exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond while training the next generation of engineers.

Faculty + Research = Discovery

Our department boasts world-class faculty who have access to numerous innovative research labs and are committed to discovery and learning.

This encompasses a range of research areas, experiences, and expertise related to space systems. Learn more about our faculty and their research interests:

Research Projects

Our faculty engage in a number of research projects, many of which are publicly funded.

A sample listing of recent research projects appears below. You can also view a broader list of research projects taking place across the mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics department.

Past Projects

Cryogenics Best Paper Award 2022

Award presented at the 24th joint Cryogenic Engineering Conference and International Cryogenic Materials Conference 2023 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Results from neutron imaging phase change experiments with LH2 and LCH4”Cryogenics, Volume 125, July 2022, 103517
“Lunar Outpost was granted a NASA Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR) award in partnership with the Colorado School of Mines and Michigan Technological University to develop and mature lunar regolith excavation technologies, with an end goal of successful demonstration on the Moon.”Keith Cowing, SpaceRef co-founder
“You need a key to a technology talent pipeline and access to an academic mindset and academic talent.”Brad King, Richard and Elizabeth Henes Endowed Professor (Space Systems), in Flying High: How Aerospace Propels Michigan’s Economy