News Archive

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Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Spring 2021!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following AE students in our lab have passed the PhD qualifying examinations:

Fahraan A Badruddin

Matthew L Gilmartin

Joao Henrique A De Azevedo

DBF Team Takes Top Prize in SAE Competition

Congrats to the Georgia Tech Design Build Fly Team, which won first place first overall in both the Micro Class and Advanced Class at the recent SAE Aero Design competition.

Design Build Fly is a student organization focused on creating novel remote controlled aircraft to compete in SAE Aero Design and AIAA Design Build Fly competitions. Over the course of the year, the DBF Team designs, analyzes, prototypes, and flies numerous aircraft for a given competition. For more information about the DBF activity, visit Click here to read the full story.

ASDL Instrumental in Kendeda Building Certification

Georgia Tech recently announced that the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design has earned Living Building Challenge certification, the world’s most ambitious and holistic green building achievement. The certification from the International Living Future Institute independently verifies that the Kendeda Building is among the greenest in the world. For more information about this achievement click here.

ASDL had a team of researchers helping ensure that Kendeda would meet certification. For more than two years during the project, our researchers were embedded with the building’s design team, supporting data analysis and scenario modeling throughout construction and the building’s commissioning.

Click here for more about ASDL’s role in this initiative.

ASDL Welcomes New Post-Doctoral Fellow


ASDL would like to welcome aboard a new Post-Doctoral Fellow who recently received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.


Name: Dr. Darshan Sarojini
Division: Advanced Methods
Areas of interest: MDO, Aeroelasticity, Scientific Computing
PhD Topic: Structural Analysis and Optimization of Aircraft Wings Through Dimensional Reduction

ASDL PhD Students Win Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarship

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ASDL PhD students Joseph Robinson and Paola Zanella were recently selected as a recipients of the 2021 Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Scholarship. Each year, VFF scholarships are awarded to college students demonstrating an interest in pursuing engineering-related careers in vertical flight technology. Each student will receive a monetary award as well as recognition during upcoming Vertical Flight Society events. Congratulations to Joseph and Paola for this well-deserved honor!

For more information about VFF, visit, or the Vertical Flight Society, visit

Congratulations to ASDL’s Isakowitz Fellows!

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ASDLers Madeline Bowne and Sarah Chu have been selected for the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program’s Class of 2021. This fellowship is a summer internship and executive mentorship program aimed at inspiring the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders. Now in its fourth year, the highly selective program awards exceptional college juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing aerospace careers with paid internships at cutting-edge commercial space companies.

Fellows also receive one-on-one mentorship from accomplished members of the space community, including astronauts, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and others. Additionally, the program features a memorable summit during which the Fellows learn about space start-ups, network with top industry leaders, and develop entrepreneurial skills. Madeline’s Summer 2021 host company is Made In Space and Sarah’s host company is Analytical Space.

The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization honoring the memory of an engineer, entrepreneur, and extraordinary individual whose passion for commercial space exploration led to great strides in the industry and inspired all who knew him. The Program seeks to instill that same enthusiasm into the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders by providing impactful career training to those who embody Matthew's drive for exploring our universe to help better humankind. Learn more at and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn (@mattfellowship).

Recognizing Sustained Service

Congratulations to ASDL Senior Research Engineer and MBSE Branch Chief Dr. Russell Peak for 25 years of service at Georgia Tech. We want to thank Russell for his service and his impactful contributions to Georgia Tech and ASDL.

ASDL Welcomes New Research Faculty


ASDL would like to welcome aboard three new research faculty who all recently received their PhDs in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.


Name: Dr. Jai Ahuja
Division: Advanced Configurations
Areas of interest: Multidisciplinary design analysis and optimization, Aerodynamic design and shape optimization, Propulsion airframe integration, Propulsion system design
PhD Topic: A Methodology for Capturing the Aero-Propulsive Coupling Characteristics of Boundary Layer Ingesting Aircraft in Conceptual Design

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Name: Dr. Christian Perron
Division: Advanced Configurations
Areas of interest: Aerodynamics, Surrogate Modeling, Multi-fidelity Methods, Optimization
PhD topic: Multi-fidelity Reduced-order Modeling


Name: Dr. Dushhyanth Rajaram (a.k.a. DR)
Division(s): Digital Engineering, Civil Aviation Research, and Advanced Methods Divisions
Areas of interest: Developing reduced order/surrogate modeling techniques for practical engineering problems and incorporating said models in digital-twins
PhD topic: Methods for Construction of Surrogates for Computationally Expensive High-Dimensional Problems

Happy Holidays!


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ASDL@GTL Success!


GTL’s aerospace research lab, ASDL@GTL, successfully completed their final review with the EU Commission’s Clean Sky 2 Program on September 22, 2020 for their collaboration on the OASyS (Overall Air Transport System Vehicle Scenarios) project. The one-year project focused on forecasting future scenarios to inform Clean Sky’s Technology Evaluator- thus enhancing its modelling capability to estimate the impacts of potential scenarios that include advanced configurations like urban air mobility vehicles and supersonic transport aircraft within the global fleet. See the full story here.


David Anvid Joins ASDL

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David Anvid has joined the ASDL research faculty. David is an industry expert with 32+ yrs of experience in the areas of aircraft certification, regulatory policy development (e.g. ETOPS ARAC, TALPA ARC, CAEP/9-10 CO2 Certification Metric, ICAO EFB SARPS ), and airline operational support. David recently retired from Delta Air Lines where he was a performance engineering SME since 2009. Prior to his work at Delta Air Lines, he was the manager of Performance Engineering at Northwest Airlines and ABX Air Inc., respectively, in addition to 5 years of OEM certification experience working for DAC in Long Beach, CA. His industry work has included participation in numerous industry working groups such as the IATA SCAP Task Force, IATA APTF (former Vice Chairman and Chairman), and a founding member of SAPOE (Society of Aircraft Performance and Operations Engineers). In addition, he is an FAA licensed Dispatcher, private pilot and former Flight Analyst DER (Douglas Aircraft Company). He received a BSME from California State University, Long Beach.

ASDL Graduate Received the AIAA Abe Z. Zarem Award

Recent ASDL graduate Nathan Crane has been named one of two recipients of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Abe Z. Zarem Award. Crane, who graduated in 2020 with his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, won the Zarem aeronautics award for “Preliminary Active Subspace Investigation of a Commercial Supersonic Design Space.”

“We at ASDL are all proud of Nathan for his work,” said ASDL director Prof. Dimitri Mavris. “The Zarem award is recognition of his excellence and contributions, and it is well deserved.” The Zarem Graduate Awards for Distinguished Achievement to annually recognize graduate students in aeronautics and astronautics who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in their field. See the full AIAA announcement here.

ASDL Welcomes Research Engineer Joshua Brooks

Mr. Joshua Brooks has recently joined ASDL Research Engineer II. Joshua received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech. After getting his Master’s degree, he worked for a variety of organizations including GE Oil & Gas as a Technology Development Lead and Pressure Service Business Manager, and the Scientific Technology & Language Institute as a Community Development Engineer. Since 2018, Joshua has been back at ASDL working on his Ph.D. In this time, Joshua has primarily worked on the Smart Campus and Kendeda Building projects while also serving as instructor of record for undergraduate thermodynamics in the School of Mechanical Engineering. Joshua will support the Digital Engineering, Propulsion & Energy, and Advanced Configurations Divisions.

ASDL Director Recognized by AIAA for Service


ASDL Director Dr. Dimitri Mavris has won the 2021 Sustained Service Award bestowed by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). This award recognizes significant, long-term service and contributions to AIAA. Dr. Mavris has been an AIAA member for 40 years and has served on a number of technical, management, and strategic committees. He currently serves as the faculty advisor for the AIAA student branch at Georgia Tech. Click here to read more.

ASDL Teams Win Prestigious Design Competitions

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A team of ASDL first year graduate students and undergraduate students has placed 1st in AIAA’s 2020 Graduate Team Missile Systems Design Competition for their report titled “Design of Supersonic Aerial Target.” Team members include Sarak Malak, Nathan Simon, Scott Nealon, Rosa Bonilla, Andrej Sulek, Jessica Grimment, Zachary Parham, and Nokilay Tranakiev. The team was advised by Dr. Mavris; Dr. Brad Robertson served as the technical mentor. Along with the recognition, the team will receive a $500 prize and its report will be published on the AIAA website. This competition is organized by the AIAA Missile Systems Technical Committee. ASDL has participated in this competition since 1998.

An ASDL team also placed 2nd for Technical Design Report in the 2020 RoboBoat Competition. The competition organizers noted the team’s efforts and persistence in pushing through the challenges they faced in light of the pandemic. The team members include Rahul Rameshbabu and Anthony Velte. The team was advised by Dr. Mavris; Dr. Michael Steffens served as the technical mentor. This competition is sponsored by RoboNation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a pathway of hands-on educational experiences that empower students to find innovative solutions to global challenges. ASDL has participated in this competition the last few years.

ASDL congratulates both teams and all the students involved for their excellent work!

ASDL Welcomes New Graduate Students


ASDL welcomes the incoming class of graduate students to the lab! We are excited to get to know the new cohort and help them develop skills in the areas of systems engineering and architecting. The class is composed of 30 Master’s students and 16 Ph.D. students. Seven members of the class graduated from Georgia Tech and 14 are coming to us from outside of the United States.

ASDL Makes its Mark on AIAA Events


Once again, ASDL will have a strong presence in the AIAA Propulsion and Energy (P&E) Forum and the AIAA/IEEE Electric Aircraft Technologies Symposium (EATS) this year. Both events will be held virtually during the week of 24 August 2020 due to the pandemic but that is not keeping ASDLers from sharing the lab’s expertise in the area of propulsion systems and technologies!

Technical papers being presented during P&E include:
• A Scalable Intra-Network Building Heat Exchange Model for District Cooling Systems (Sehwan Oh, Jung-Ho Lewe, Efe Yamac Yarbasi, Joshua Brooks, Scott Duncan, Dimitri Mavris)
• A Coupled Approach to the Design Space Exploration of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Systems (Victor Petitgenet, Christopher Roper, Matthew Krecicki, Andrew Yatsko, Dan Kotlyar, Dimitri Mavris, David Shalat)
• Verification and Measurement of Thrust Vectoring Using Thermal Mapping Techniques (Karl Roush, Mark Shapochka, Andrew Yatsko, Dimitri Mavris)
• Design and Analysis of the Thermal Management System of a Hybrid Turboelectric Regional Jet for the NASA ULI Program (Mingxuan Shi, Mitchell Sanders, Alan Alahmad, Christopher Perullo, Gokcin Cinar, Dimitri Mavris)
• Feasibility Assessments of a Hybrid Turboelectric Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Gokcin Cinar, Alexander Markov, Jonathan Gladin, Elena Garcia, Dimitri Mavris, Soumya Patnaik)
• An Update on Sizing and Performance Analysis of a Hybrid Turboelectric Regional Jet for the NASA ULI Program (Christopher Perullo, Mingxuan Shi, Gokcin Cinar, Alan Alahmad, Mitchell Sanders, Dimitri Mavris, Meyer Benzakein)

In addition, Jimmy Tai will chair the P&E session GTE-02: Cycle Performance and MDAO.

For EATS, members of ASDL’s Propulsion and Energy Division will participate as a chair or panelist for a number of sessions.
• Electrified Flight Development Programs (Moderator: Gokcin Cinar)
• ULI Panel (Panelist: Gokcin Cinar)
• Aircraft Thermal Management Systems (Panelist: Jonathan Gladin)
• Aircraft Concept System Studies and Distributed Propulsion Systems (Co-chair: Gokcin Cinar)
• Aircraft Operations Analysis (Chair: Gokcin Cinar)

For more information about these events, visit the P&E Website and the EATS Website.

ASDL Welcomes Back Research Engineer Greg Busch

We would like to welcome back Mr. Greg Busch back to the ASDL research family. Greg is coming back to us as an RE II focused on aeroacoustics and vehicle design. He will be part of the Advanced Configurations Division but contributing to projects across our divisions. Currently, he is supporting five FAA ASCENT projects all with aeroacoustics elements ranging from supersonics to boundary layer ingestion.

ASDL Student Wins the William T. Piper, Sr. General Aviation Systems Graduate Award

Through its annual graduate scholarship program, the AIAA Foundation presents awards to graduate students doing excellent research in the air and space sciences. This scholarship was sponsored by the AIAA General Aviation Systems Technical Committee in honor of William T. Piper Sr (1881-1970), who founded Piper Aircraft Corporation. This year, ASDL PhD Student and Senior Graduate Researcher Mayank Bendarkar received this prestigious award. Mayank's research focuses on incorporating certification, safety, and reliability considerations for novel aircraft concepts in conceptual and preliminary design. We congratulate our student in his great achievement!

Georgia Tech Team Places Second in AIAA Design/Build/Fly


The Georgia Tech team has placed second in the 24th annual AIAA/Textron Aviation/Raytheon Missile Systems Design/Build/Fly (DBF) competition. Originally scheduled to host a live fly-off 16–19 April in Wichita, Kansas, the full DBF competition was canceled to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19. While the fly-off portion of the competition was canceled, the formal report portion did continue. DBF received 143 proposals and selected 113 to compete. Of the 113 teams selected, 101 submitted a formal report. The formal reports are scored for design as well as manufacturing and testing plans. The 2019–2020 winners are:

· First Place: University of Southern California

· Second Place: Georgia Institute of Technology

· Third Place: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Given these results, the Georgia Tech team would have been placed well to compete for first if there had been an actual fly-off. Click here to read the full story.

ASDL External Advisory Board Meeting Goes Virtual


ASDL successfully conducted its 28th External Advisory Board (EAB) meeting virtually from 21 to 23 April. Despite having to cancel the face-to-face meeting, ASDL decided to open up the review of the Grand Challenge projects via WebEx to an external audience to allow student teams the opportunity to present their work to sponsors and other interested stakeholders. The virtual EAB meeting featured 27 Grand Challenge projects, 14 focused on a system of systems topic and 13 on a vehicle topic. There was strong participation from sponsors, who had the chance to provide feedback and ask questions for the student teams after they presented their work. Click here for more information.

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Strategic Partnership between ASDL and Front End Analytics


ASDL has entered into a strategic partnership with Front End Analytics. ASDL and Front End Analytics will leverage their respective capabilities in digital twins, system design & simulation, advanced engineering methods, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to develop advanced predictive solutions to improve companies’ products, operations, and customer experiences. Click here to see the full announcement.

ASDL's Manuel Diaz Receives the Martin L. Drews Memorial Scholarship


Manuel "Manny" Diaz, a graduate research assistant in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab, has been selected to receive the 2020 Martin L. Drews Memorial Scholarship by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). The $500 supplemental scholarship is awarded annually to an exemplary full-time graduate student from one of the NIA's partner universities.This is the second time in 3 years that Mr. Diaz has been selected for the scholarship. Diaz is physically situated at the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia, where he can more easily consult with experts from NASA Langley.

Click here to read the full story on School of Aerospace Engineering's website.

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ASDL's "RoboSub" Featured on Georgia Tech's Website


Georgia Tech's College of Engineering shared a video of the RoboSub, an autonomous submarine developed by the Georgia Tech Marine Robotics which operates out of the Aerospace Systems Design Lab. The team works on three separate autonomous watercraft projects that operate beneath and on the surface of the water, namely the RoboBoat, RoboSub, and RobotX. All three vehicles compete in competitions that require the autonomous vehicles to complete complex tasks without a human at the helm. The team secured a podium spot every year from 2016 to 2018. They have also won awards for the RobotX and RoboSub divisions, and the prize money helps them to improve their boat every year.

Click here to read more about the Georgia Tech Marine Robotics team and watch the video on College of Engineering's website.

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ASDL 's Grand Challenge Team Honored by Georgia Tech Police for Making Campus Safer


An initiative that has engaged the Aerospace Systems Design Lab in the cause of campus safety for the last 2+ years was publicly recognized March 11 during the Georgia Police Department's Annual Awards Ceremony.

Receiving the 2019 Student Partnership Award were the faculty, researchers, and students of ASDL's Grand Challenge Initiative, who have worked with the GTPD to better coordinate and execute public safety efforts on campus. The award annually acknowledges a Georgia Tech student or student group that has gone above and beyond the normal responsibilities to support the mission of the Georgia Tech Police Department.

"The students in the ASDL have brought our work up to a whole new level," said GTPD's Physical Security Specialist Jeffery T. Hunnicutt. "By the end of this year, we are going to have a drone to help us with safety surveillance, so we'll be able to reduce the amount of time it takes to put eyes on the scene of an emergency. The drone will also be able to help us maintain greater situational awareness of traffic problems."

Click here to read the full story on AE's website.

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ASDL Design-Build-Fly Team Takes Home Top Honors at SAE Competition


For the sixth year running, the student engineers from the AE School's Aerospace Systems Design Lab took home top awards for their entries into the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design East, held in Lakeland Florida, March 6-8.

The two unmanned aerial vehicles they spent months building - Buzz PipeYear and Columbuzz - each received the Best Overall and the Best Mission Performance awards for their respective categories (Micro and Advanced Class vehicles). They each also placed second in the Design Report category.

"We are proud of the students that participated in this competition. This is a great experience and it is rewarding to see them recognized for their efforts.” said Dr. Dimitri Mavris, Director of ASDL.

Click here to read the full story on AE's website.

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ASDL Team Presents Work on OASyS to International Audience


A contingent of Aerospace Systems Design Lab faculty from Georgia Tech-Lorraine (ASDL@GTL) traveled to Bordeaux, France late last month to attend the 2020 Aerospace Europe Conference and present their work on OASyS, an EU-funded project that supports the Clean Sky 2 program. Their presentation was part of an initiative of the Aircraft Noise and Emissions Reduction Symposium, which was held in conjunction with the AEC.


The Overall Air Transport System Vehicle Scenarios (OASyS) project focuses on forecasting future scenarios to inform Clean Sky’s Technology Evaluator -- thus enhancing its modeling capability to estimate the impacts of potential scenarios that include advanced configurations like urban air mobility vehicles and supersonic transport aircraft within the global fleet. ASDL@GTL was awarded the project through its involvement in the Unité Mixte Internationale, a research partnership created in 2006 by Georgia Tech and France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and currently housed at the Lorraine campus. .

Heading up the team was Prof. Dimitri Mavris, AE lecturer Turab Zaidi, and ASDL graduate students Colby Weit, Jiajie (Terry) Wen, Akshay Anand, and Madhukar Mayakonda. The team also presented its first paper in support of the OASyS, “A Methodology for Supersonic Commercial Market Estimation and Environmental Impact Evaluation (Part I).”

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Spring 2020!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following AE students in our lab have passed the PhD qualifying examinations:

Nikita Birbasov

Madilyn Drosendahl

Raffaele Gradini

Alexandra Hickey

Marc Muehlberg

Archana Tikayat Ray

ASDL Papers and Presentations at AIAA SciTech 2020


ASDL will attend The AIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition which will be held on 6-10 January 2020, in Orlando, FL. ASDL has a total of 21 research papers at SciTech. Come listen to our cutting-edge research on many exciting topics, including digital engineering, machine learning, urban air mobility and more!

Click here for a list of the ASDL papers and logistics for the related oral presentations.

Happy Holidays!


On behalf of Dr. Mavris, have a wonderful holiday season! Click here to view a special video e-greeting.

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Georgia Tech-Lorraine Partners with EU Clean Sky 2 Program


A recently awarded research grant from the European Union’s Clean Sky 2 program is allowing Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) to join a large-scale initiative to address critical aviation growth issues over the next few decades. A team of ASDL researchers (ASDL@ GTL) will conduct the research at Tech’s sister campus, Georgia Tech-Lorraine (GTL) in Metz, France.

Clean Sky is the largest research program in Europe to develop innovative technology to reduce CO2 gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft. The collaboration - the Overall Air Transport System Vehicle Scenarios (OASyS) project - will forecast future scenarios to inform Clean Sky’s Technology Evaluator- thus enhancing its modelling capability to estimate the impacts of potential scenarios that include advanced configurations like urban air mobility vehicles and supersonic transport aircraft within the global fleet.

Click here to read the full story.

ASDL Participates in New Virtual RobotX Competition

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Graduate students from the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) were part of the Georgia Tech team that placed second in the inaugural Virtual RobotX (VRX) Competition. The competition started with 17 teams representing Asia, Australia, and the United States, with 11 teams competing in the final phase.

The VRX competition is an international, university-level competition designed to broaden student’s exposure to autonomy and maritime robotic technologies. For the competition, student teams operate their vehicle in a Gazebo-based simulation environment built by Open Robotics and Naval Postgraduate School. Teams are tasked to develop innovative solutions to ensure their virtual USV can perform prescribed tasks in this environment. The challenges include station-keeping, automated docking, and navigating through a series of gates in an obstacle field.

An ASDL team composed of Matthew Gilmartin, Coline Ramee, Rahul Rameshbabu, and Anthony Velte helped develop the code for the Georgia Tech team, which placed second. The team also included several other students in various departments involved through the Marine Robotics club. “We are proud of the Georgia Tech team for placing in this new competition,” said ASDL director Professor Dimitri Mavris. “Working together on teams to solve challenging problems is a valuable real-world experience for our students,” he added.

For more information about the competition, click here.

Zanella Wins the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

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ASDL PhD student Paola Zanella has won Georgia Tech's version of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition with her talk on "Mitigation of Helicopter Accidents Related to Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness". She now joins the ranks of ASDL 3MT winners from years past, including Eugene Mangortey, the 2018 First Place winner in the Master’s category and Jonathan Walker, the 2015 First Place winner. As the winner, Zanella will be awarded $2,000 research travel grant. “We are very proud of Paola,” said Prof. Mavris, Director of ASDL and Zanella's PhD advisor. “She is an excellent student and the way she effectively synthesized and communicated her work during the 3MT competition exemplifies this.”

Another ASDL PhD student, Darshan Sarojini, was also a finalist with his presentation on "Analysis and Optimization of Complex 3-D Structures Through Dimensional Reduction to 1-D Models". We congratulate both of them for their great achievement and wish them all the best for the remainder of their PhD journey!

Click here to read about the story on the Georgia Tech AE website.

Sublett Wins Zarem Award

Aerospace Engineering PhD Student Johnie Sublett has been recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as one of the two recipients of the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement for this year. This award recognizes graduate students in aeronautics and astronautics who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in their field and who are pursuing graduate degrees.

Sublett won the Zarem astronautics award for “Design and Testing of a Fault-tolerant Space Suit.” He also won first place in the graduate portion of the student paper competition at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, held 21–25 October in Washington, D.C. Sublett has always been fascinated by complex problems and smart engineering solutions. He is working on fault-tolerant space suits that can protect astronauts from many of the puncture risks associated with planetary surface operations.

“The School of Aerospace Engineering and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) are proud of Johnie,” commented Prof. Dimitri Mavris, director of ASDL. “The Zarem award is a prestigious recognition and it is well deserved!”

For more information, click here to see the AIAA press release.

ASDL Students Become Finalists in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition


Two Ph.D. students at ASDL, Darshan Sarojini and Paola Zanella, were selected to compete at the final round of Georgia Tech's version of the 3MT Competition. 3MT originated at The University of Queensland, Australia, as an academic research communication competition and has spread to campuses around the world. Since 2015, Georgia Tech’s competition has helped graduate students hone their communication skills by challenging them to share their research in three minutes in a way anyone could understand.

The finals will take place on Thursday, Nov. 14, from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Global Learning Center Amphitheater on Tech’s campus. During the finals, 18 graduate students will compete and be challenged to talk about their research in three minutes in an engaging way that anyone can understand. The winners will receive research travel grants ranging from $500-$2,000 in PhD and Master's categories.

Ms. Zanella's talk is on Mitigation of Helicopter Accidents Related to Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness and Mr. Sarojini's talk is on Analysis and Optimization of Complex 3-D Structures Through Dimensional Reduction to 1-D Models. "I hope my thesis enables faster aircraft design optimizing for both weight and safety.", says Mr. Sarojini. "Lower weight will lead to less fuel burn and lower emissions."

We congratulate both of our students and wish them the best of luck in the finals. Click here for more information on the 3MT Competition.

ASDL Delegation Attends NATO AVT-RSY-323 Research Symposium


ASDL Director Prof. Dimitri Mavris and Research Engineer Dr. Gokcin Cinar attended the NATO AVT-RSY-323 Research Symposium on Hybrid/Electric Aero-Propulsion Systems for Military Applications and the 44th AVT Panel Business Meeting Week held on October 7-11 in Trondheim, Norway. According to the meeting announcement published by the AVT-RSY-323 Programme Committee, "the objective of this Research Symposium is to convene an international array of scientists and engineers together with other important stakeholders with intent to cover aspects associated with the design, qualification/certification and operation of future aircraft utilising hybrid/electric and coupled aero-propulsion technologies. The context is to familiarise all participants with what technical aspects should be considered when aiming to create effective, efficient and agile NATO aerial vehicles." Dr. Mavris is also a member of the AVT-RSY-323 Technical Programme Committee.

Prof. Mavris and Dr. Cinar presented two research papers at the Research Symposium:

  • A Framework for Electrified Propulsion Architecture and Operation Analysis
  • Multi-mission Performance Optimisation of Hybrid-Electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
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ASDL Delegation Attends International Astronautical Congress


ASDL sent a small delegation to attend the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington, DC in October. This event is the global forum for the space community and features a large technical program, exhibit, and a number of associated events including the Space Generation Congress, the International Institute of Space Law, and International Academy of Astronautics. IAC is hosted by a different country each year; this year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics organized it. The event was last held in the United States in 2002 so it was a great opportunity to highlight U.S. space-related research and activities.

Research Engineer Dr. Bradford Robertson and students Manuel J. Diaz, Eugina Mendez-Ramos, and Katherine McBrayer participated in the IAC and presented two ASDL papers:

  • A Network Flow-based Formulation to Optimize Campaign Alternatives for a Reference Lunar Surface Base. IAC-19-D1.4B1,x52183.
  • A Conceptual Design Study for an Unmanned, Reusable Cargo Lunar Lander. IAC-19-D2.4.10,x52270.

For more information about the IAC, visit

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ASSESS Initiative Announces a Strategic Collaboration with ASDL


ASSESS Initiative recently announced a strategic collaboration with ASDL. This strategic collaboration is focused on fostering broader use of “systems thinking”, systems modeling & simulation and detailed simulation of Sub-Systems to enable a viable path to development and deployment of commercial grade Digital Twin(s). This strategic collaboration will bring together the resources of the ASSESS Initiative and ASDL to significantly increase the use and benefit of Engineering Simulation. Some of the planed activities in this collaboration include:

  • Strong presence of ASDL at the ASSESS 2019 Congress
    • Three attendees including the renowned Dr. Mavris
    • Platinum sponsorship
  • ASSESS Theme Workshops hosted by ASDL
    • Integration of Systems Simulation and detailed Sub-System Simulations
    • Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s)
  • Other activities to be mutually agreed

ASDL is always looking for collaborators to help advance the state of the art in systems thinking, design of complex systems, and engineering simulation,” said Dr. Dimitri Mavris, S.P. Langley NIA Distinguished Regents Professor and Director of ASDL. “In the ASSESS Initiative, we have found a great partner and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

School of Aerospace Engineering Ranked No. 2 in U.S. News Undergrad Rankings


All of Georgia Tech's undergraduate engineering programs are ranked in the top four of their respective disciplines by U.S. News & World Report. The School of Aerospace Engineering was ranked No. 2 and College of Engineering tied for 4th overall among engineering schools. The U.S. News rankings are one indicator of the quality of a program and institution, as stated by the College of Engineering. Click here for more information and the rankings of other engineering fields at Georgia Tech!

ASDL Team Comes 2nd in the AIAA Graduate Team Missile System Design Competition

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recently announced that an ASDL team won second prize in the AIAA Graduate Team Missile System Design competition. Ryan Ogilvie, Casey Wilson, Jeffrey Pattison, Rahul Rameshbabu, Andrew Van Zwieten, and William Craver were members of the team that designed SLIM JIM: Strategic Long-Range Intercontinental Missile for Joint Interest in MAD. “AIAA’s Design Competitions are more than winning a prize—they help students solve real-life problems and prepare them to make a difference in the aerospace community,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “On behalf of AIAA, I congratulate them for a job well done!” ASDL director Prof. Dimitri Mavris noted, “Being involved in design competitions like those organized by AIAA is a great learning experience for students. ASDL has a long history of entering teams in this competition—we have participated for 18 years and placed first 16 times. We are proud of our students who participate and are happy to see them get recognized for their efforts.” The SLIM JIM Team is advised by Prof. Mavris and Dr. Bradford Robertson.

Click here for the AIAA announcement

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Fall 2019!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following AE students in our lab have passed the PhD qualifying examinations:

Gabriel Achour
Alexander Braafladt
Joshua Brooks
Domitille Commun
Samantha Corrado
Chloe Downs
Xiaoshu Fei
Michael Herman
Hunter Johnston
Eugene Mangortey
Nate Omoarebun
Barbara Sampaio Felix
Jimmy Tang
Jiajie “Terry” Wen
Wenxin Zhang

Former Graduate Student, Gen. James McConville, Sworn in as Army’s Top Officer

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General James C. McConville took over as the Army’s top officer August 9. He replaces Gen. Mark A. Milley, who was confirmed in July as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. McConville, MSAE '90, was a former graduate student of Prof. Mavris and Prof. Schrage. The program he was in officially became ASDL 2 years after he graduated. McConville praised the professors he studied under in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, especially Daniel Schrage and Dimitri Mavris. “They were great mentors and coaches, and very committed to the development of their students,” he said.

Dr. Mavris and his family were present at the ceremony where Gen. James McConville assumed responsibility as the 40th Army Chief of Staff. “Even when Gen. McConville was a master’s student, we knew he would go far,” said Dr. Mavris, Director of ASDL. “Throughout his distinguished career, he has demonstrated an exemplary level of commitment and service to our country. We are confident he is the best man for the job and that he will excel at leading and preparing the Army for the future.”

Click here to read more on this story.
Click here to watch the ceremony shared by the U.S. Army Twitter account.

ASDL Welcomes Incoming Graduate Students

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Next week, 43 students coming from around the world will join the ASDL family. We congratulate and welcome our new family members, and hope to meet them in the ASDL Orientation next week!

Here is a snapshot of the incoming class:

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Click here for a list of incoming students and countries and schools they'll represent!

ASDL Hosts Visiting Master's Student


This past March, ASDL welcomed Yoann Le Lamer, a visiting Master’s student from Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse. Since then, Yoann has been working with research engineers and students at ASDL. His research has developed methods for finding a shock-free design subspace for boundary layer-ingesting (BLI) aircraft conceptual design. In early design of novel aircraft configurations, high fidelity analyses such as CFD are often required to capture key physics of the concept. A key challenge is the computational cost of such analyses. The research focused on aero-propulsion design of a BLI aircraft with an engine nacelle mounted behind the fuselage. Bayesian adaptive sampling techniques were developed to minimize the use of CFD while finding the boundaries in design space where shock waves appear in the inlet. The research tested whether classification and prediction of shock-free inlets can be used to focus early design to regions of efficient power or fuel consumption.

At the end of his 5-month-long visit, Yoann gave a presentation about his work to ASDL director Dr. Dimitri Mavris as well as students and research faculty in the lab.

"We are very proud of his progress during his time here and we wish to continue our collaboration. We wish him the best of luck with his career!", said Dr. Mavris.

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Dimitri Mavris Named Director of PMASE Program


Prof. Dimitri Mavris, director of ASDL, has been named the Director of Georgia Tech’s Professional Master’s in Applied Systems Engineering (PMASE) program, effective July 1, 2019. PMASE is a two-year program that consists of six core courses on systems engineering fundamentals, modeling and simulation, SysML, and system design. An additional four courses provide a specialization in complex systems. The program’s hybrid format blends face-to-face instruction and online learning, enabling PMASE students to work full time while earning a two-year advanced degree.

Click here for full announcement
Click here for more information about PMASE

Teaching High School Students Systems Design and Engineering


ASDL is excited to host the 2019 Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) Program 10-27 June. STEP will provide a hands-on engineering experience to 16 Atlanta-area high school students, who will work in teams and with ASDL Research Engineers on a challenge problem. During the program, students will be introduced to the design, manufacturing, and testing of a small, electric car. This program will serve as a test-bed for learning about the core systems-engineering principles behind complex systems design, introduce students to the challenges faced with the electrification of modern vehicles, and how this insight can be leveraged to support the design of new electric aircraft in the future.

For more information about the STEP program, visit our STEP page.
Click here for the 2019 STEP Camp photo gallery


ASDL Hosts Its 27th External Advisory Board Review


ASDL just completed its 27th External Advisory Board (EAB) annual review. The event attracted more than 80 participants from government, industry, and academia and featured presentations from 26 student Grand Challenge teams as well as presentations from select students on competitions, special problems projects, and Master’s thesis. The EAB also included a reception during which student teams presented posters of their projects to sponsors. ASDL wants to congratulate its student teams and thank its sponsors and other supporters.


ASDL Comes 2nd at the AIAA Design Build Fly Competition


GT placed 2nd out of 104 total entries into the competition. Each plane had to fit through a 3 ft by 2 ft entryway and then remotely unfold into at least a 4 ft wingspan. The plane had to fly three missions, each of which involved taking off from a 10 ft ramp. The first was just an empty flight. The second mission had to carry a 1 ft diameter radome that rotated in flight. The third mission had to carry foam footballs and drop one per lap, while completing as many laps as possible in 10 minutes. Congratulations to the team and their advisor, Carl Johnson!

Click here to watch ASDL team's vehicle Buzzformer's flight at the competition!
Click here to read more about the story on GT AE's webpage!

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ASDL visits Delta Airlines


A group of ASDL students and research faculty recently visited Delta Airlines center in Atlanta, GA. The students are participating in a Grand Challenge project and traveled to the center to report on the team’s progress and get feedback from subject matter experts. The team also got a tour of some of the simulator and training facilities at Delta.

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ASDL Comes 1st and 2nd at the SAE East DBF Competition


A group of ASDL students were at the SAE Aero Design East competition in Fort Worth, TX, over March 8-10 participating in the Micro class and Advanced class. The Micro class challenges students to build a hand-launch UAV that can be quickly assembled from a small box along with a bulky PVC pipe payload. The ASDL team won 1st place in the design report and 2nd overall at the competition. The Advanced class is highly complex, requiring students to build an airplane that can drop water bottles and Nerf vortex footballs at a 50 foot radius target from an altitude above 100 feet, while also dropping autonomous gliders carrying ping pong balls that must navigate to the same 50 foot target zone. The ASDL team had the most successful drops at the competition and placed 2nd in design report, 2nd in presentation, and 1st place overall. Congratulations to the students that participated!

Click here to watch ASDL's SAE Aero Design East Micro Class flight!
Click here to watch ASDL's SAE Aero Design East Advanced Class flight!

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ASDL Visits Gulfstream Aerospace


A small group of ASDL students recently had the opportunity to visit the Gulfstream Aerospace campus in Savannah, GA. The students are participating in a Grand Challenge project sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace and traveled to the campus report on the team’s recent progress. While there the students had the opportunity to visit several in-house research and testing facilities, giving them a first-hand look at the various testing and support activities Gulfstream Aerospace regularly performs.

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Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Spring 2019!

ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this spring:
Zhenyu Gao
Hee Yong Jeon
Alexander Markov
Konstantinos Milios
Akshay Prasad
Syed Rameez
Matthew Rines
Joseph Robinson
Luis Eduardo Salas Nunez
Lea Harris
Efe Yamac Yarbasi


Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Fall 2018!

ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this fall:

Adam Baker
Albert Xie
Chelsea Johnson
Colby Weit
Dat Huynh
Edan Baltman
Hyunsoo Kim
Kohei Harada
Marlin Ballard
Paola Zanella
Steven Chetcuti


Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Spring 2018!

ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this spring:

Ameya Behere
Andrew Burrell
Yu Cai
Kenneth Decker
Ethan Evans
Andrew Hull
Melek Ozcan

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Fall 2017!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this Fall:

Dalton Baier
Ruxandra Duca
Zachary Ernst
Anusha Harish
Evanthia Kallou
Heriberto Solano
Stephanie Zhu


ASDL Team Awarded the Teledyne Marine Innovation Award at RoboSub 2017


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Congratulations to all of the ASDL students who are graduating this May! We want to say thanks.

Please bring your family and Join us in celebrating

Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL)

Date: MAY 5, 2017
Time: 2:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

The Bill Moore Student Success building is located in between the Tech Tower and the Stadium which is at a walking distance from ASDL, 281 Ferst Drive, N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30332.

PLEASE R.S.V.P. By APRIL 21, 2017
Light Appetizers, Desserts and Refreshments Will Be Provided

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ASDL students show up strong at President's Fellow Reception.

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We are looking forward to welcoming more President's Fellows to the ASDL family next year!


ASDL Celebrates 25 Years!!
Come Help Us Celebrate May 3rd

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For Event Details Please Email
sarah.roberts @

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Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in Fall 2017!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this Fall:

Patrick Meyer
Wil Roberts
Mackenzie Lau
Matthew Guckenberger
Esma Karagoz
Fatma Karagoz
Roger Lascorz
Darshan Sarojini

Congratulations December 2016 ASDL Graduates!


Ryan Armstrong
Ethan Evans
Aroua Gharbi
Andrew Hull
Mason Levy
Po-Nien Lin
Matthew Miller
Ramtin Motahar
Devan Thanki

John Dykes
Sayan Ghosh
Vadim Kim
David Rancourt
Dennis Siedlak
Adam Siegel
Halil Sahin Tetik

Happy Holidays


We here at ASDL would like to wish you a happy holidays.

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in Fall 2016!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this Fall:

Jai Ahuja
Mayank Bendarkar
Manuel Diaz
Raphael Gautier
John Mines
Christian Perron
Manish Pokhrel
Coline Ramee
Matthew Schmit
Kisun Song

For more information click here

In Memoriam: Hernando Jimenez


It is with heavy hearts that ASDL says goodbye to one of our own. Hernando Jimenez, 36, who passed away October 23, 2016.

A native of Colombia, Hernando was a graduate of Georgia Tech, earning his Bachelor of Science in 2003, Master of Science in 2005, Certificate in Management of Technology in 2007, and Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering in 2009.

After finishing his PhD, Hernando became a research engineer at ASDL, and was eventually promoted to Chief Engineer of the Advanced Concepts Division. He led a number of major research projects in the areas of systems analysis of unmanned air systems, environmentally responsible aviation, and next generation technologies. In addition to being a successful engineer, he was also a mentor and beloved friend to many. ASDL will be a different place without his quick wit and passion for continuous improvement.

To make a contribution to help Hernando's family during this difficult time, please follow the link below.

ASDL Grad Student Named Student of the Year


Aerospace engineering grad student Evan Harrison has been selected as the 2016 Department of Transportation Student of the Year for the FAA Centers of Excellence.The 25-year-old Washington, GA native traveled to Washington, DC in January to formally receive the honor from the Department of Transportation.

Harrison, a doctoral student, is one of several students working with ASDL director Dr. Dimitri Mavris and research engineer Dr. Hernando Jimenez on the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS), FAA Center of Excellence for General Aviation. Harrison’s project, Safety Analysis for General Aviation, aims at enhancing the safety of general aviation operations through the improved use of flight data.

“Ultimately, we want to identify unsafe states, so we can better predict problems and trends in general aviation, and formulate effective safety enhancements” said Harrison.

Harrison and his fellow researchers are comparing data collected with on-board recorders with aircraft performance models developed by the team that seek to predict aircraft behavior and response under different conditions. While commercial airplanes already record many flight parameters, and some carriers share anonymized data for safety analysis, this practice is voluntary and not widely adopted in general aviation.

Models describing the aircraft’s behavior must capture extreme conditions, common in safety-critical events, with great accuracy. These models are helping Harrison’s team to understand the energy state of aircraft at any given time, and to use energy-based metrics as a method for identifying unsafe states.

“If you look at time-stamped recordings of the aircraft’s flight – and use our models to estimate key parameters that are not recorded, like lift, drag, weight, and thrust – you can describe its performance more completely. Retrospectively, then, we can analyze when an aircraft has flown too close to the boundary of its performance envelope.”

Harrison has developed a detailed internal combustion cycle engine model that uses engine characteristics to predict the power output over a wide range of conditions. His efforts to develop, test, and validate the model against little published data available presented numerous difficulties.

“He tackled them with creativity and a sound technical foundation,” said Jimenez.

“Evan also collaborated with other graduate students working in this project to integrate, test, and validate aerodynamic and propulsion models against aircraft performance data. He even made some important refinements to his model to better use the data to infer the propulsive characteristics.”

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in Spring 2016!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this Spring:

Younghoon Choi
Zachary Fisher
Etienne Demers Bouchard
Eric Inclan
Kevin Reilley
Mingxuan Shi

For more information about The Georgia Institute of Technology and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, contact Sarah Roberts at 404.385.7708 or

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in Fall 2015!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this fall:

Giada Abate
Evan Harrison
Tejas Puranik
Dushhyanth Rajaram

ASDL grad student Tom Neuman takes top award in NASA Challenge


An airplane developed by Tom Neuman, MSAE '15, has won top honors in the graduate division of NASA's 2014-15 University Design Challenge: All-electric Aviation Vehicle competition.

The designs for The Vapor, Neuman's 3450-pound, hydrogen cell-powered, four-seat airplane will be reviewed again, in October, when the recent ASDL grad has been invited to present it before experts at NASA's Langley Center.

"It's a competitive design, so it's already generated some interest from employers," said the 24-year-old Marietta native, who completed co-ops at Boeing, Sikorsky, and Rolls Royce while a student at ASDL.

"It's really been quite exciting."

Neuman was the only one-person team to take on the challenge, which tasked student engineers to design a four-seat vehicle that could carry at least 400 pounds of extra cargo, fly at least 575 miles during a single flight, cruise at a speed of at least 150 miles-per-hour, and be able to take off in less than 3,000 feet under normal conditions.

And it would have to be competitive with standard piston-engine airplanes that burn aviation fuel by 2020.

"But those were just the minimal standards," said Neuman.

"The real goal was to be able to travel 1000 miles at a speed of 190 miles-per-hour, with a payload of 800 pounds. And the game wasn't one of pure number analysis either. They wanted to see a plane that could compete in today's market, with components that are available now to manufacture it."

At an estimated production cost of around $547,500, the Vapor was competitive with the Cirrus SR-22, one of the most popular single-engine gas-powered planes on the market. Not only did it meet the distance and payload demands, Neuman's plane was also shown to be 16 decibels quieter and to consume 3.8 times less fuel than the SR-22.

"We may not have hydrogen refueling stations everywhere yet, but there are economically feasible ways to develop hydrogen on site. It can be derived from natural gas, or biomass," he said.

"And its only emission is water vapor."

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the design process the development of a validation tool that would benchmark the Vapor's performance. Up until a few years ago, most electric or fuel-cell-powered planes were too small and too slow to meet the NASA specs.

"I had to analyze large electric powered planes because that's what I'm designing," he said. "Now there are a few larger electric airplanes in production that I can use to validate Vapor. The numbers I got were aligned with reality."

GT-AE's Brian German invited to join 2015 NAE Frontiers of Engineering


Associate Professor Brian German has been selected to attend the 2015 Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) Symposium, to be held Sept. 9-11 in Irvine, CA.

German is one of only about 100 engineers nationally invited to the two-day symposium, which is sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The annual event gives rising stars within various fields of engineering a rare opportunity to make cross-disciplinary and cross-professional connections and to promote the transfer of new techniques and approaches that promise to build US innovative capacity.

This year's FOE event was coordinated by NAE member and GT-AE professor Robert Braun and will feature four formal sessions: Cybersecurity and Privacy; Forecasting National Disasters; Optical and Mechanical Metamaterials; and Engineering the Search for Earth-like Exoplanets. The final of these presentations will be co-chaired by GT-AE assistant professor Mitchell Walker, himself, a 2014 FOE invitee.

"All of these areas are fascinating to me," said German, whose research focuses on multidisciplinary design, multi-objective optimization, and decision methods applied to air vehicle design and systems engineering.

"I'm particularly intrigued by the cyber-security component, because it intersects with my work, looking at electrically powered aircraft and automated systems. If you have a system whose architecture is electrically based, and there are computers running different systems, you have to protect against the possibility that it will be hacked."

An invitation to the USFOE symposium is considered a true honor by rising talents in the profession. The annual meeting recognizes exceptional engineering research and technical work among engineers ages 30 to 45. The participants -- from industry, academia, and government -- are nominated by fellow engineers or organizations. In addition to professors German, Walker and Braun, GT-ME professor Anna Erickson and GT College of Computing professor Richard Vuduc have also been invited to attend the fall meeting.

GT-AE team takes home a top honor at RASC-AL competition


A team of eight graduate and undergraduate researchers from GT-AE’s Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) has taken home a top honor in the NASA-NIA Revolutionary Aerospace Concepts Academic Linkage (“RASC-AL”) competition, held June 14-17 in Cocoa Beach, FL.

Coordinated by ASDL research engineer Stephen Edwards, ASDL’s Team SCHEMA took home first place in RASC-AL’s graduate division for its submission in the Earth Independent Mars Pioneering Architecture (EIMPA) category.

ASDL director Dimitri Mavris was not surprised by his team's success.

"These are among the most dedicated students at Georgia Tech," he said. "I am very proud of them."

The team’s Self-sustaining Colony for Human Exploration of Mars (SCHEMA) proposed a development plan for establishing a colony of 24 people on the surface of Mars that would achieve complete self-sufficiency by the year 2054.

“The team did an outstanding job of putting together a colonization plan, and generated meaningful modeling and simulation results that proved their design’s ability to fully satisfied a list of very difficult budgetary and schedule constraints,” said Edwards, the faculty supervisor.

Joining Edwards in the presentation of SCHEMA were graduate students Nishant Prasadh, Robert Moss, Christopher Jenista, Yann Charront, Michael Steffens, and undergraduates Nicole Davis, Akshay Prasad, and Akshay Bakane.

Other teams competing in this division were the University of Illinois, the University of Maryland, Drexel University, The University of Texas, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The EIMPA category was one of four that RASC-AL organizers designed as a way to get tomorrow’s engineers thinking strategically about how to further space exploration. RASC-AL organizers said they have set their sights far beyond the Earth’s orbit, where the challenges are much more complex:

“Deep space missions like the journey to Mars will require humans to travel for long periods of time and to live and work independently from Earth, without the frequent resupply shipments. That means understanding the impact of utilizing resources both from the moon and Mars, and figuring out if their use is viable will be critically important to sustainable human exploration.”

The other categories included in the RASC-AL competition were Earth Independent Lunar Pioneering Architecture, Mars Moons Prospector Mission, and Large-scale Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Pathfinder Mission.

The concept proposed by the SCHEMA team employs a whole suite of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies designed to extract water, oxygenand other necessary resources from the Martian soil and atmosphere.

The proposed colony structure is composed of 15 cylindrical modules, each divided into workshops, farms, and living quarters. Power for the colony is provided by a molten salt Thorium Nuclear Reactor, as Thorium is also a resource that is available on Mars.

The colony is also equipped with a number of staffed and robotic rovers which provide surface mobility to serve construction, mining, and science needs.

RASC-AL Aerospace Concepts is a prestigious university-level design competition sponsored by NASA and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). University teams from around the country submitted abstract proposals that described possible solutions to one of four challenge themes. Based on these submissions select teams were invited to provide a written report, poster presentation, and oral presentation at the 2015 RASCAL Forum, where the final competition took place.

ASDL collaboration with ECE and GT Facilities producing interesting results

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Smart Energy Campus (SEC) is a joint sustainability research initiative that is bringing together GT-AE's Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Georgia Tech Facilities Management.

The idea behind SEC is to see if Georgia Tech researchers can help the Facilities staff to optimize different energy systems by utilizing tools that are routinely employed in research: data analysis, modeling, and simulation.

The Smart Energy Campus Program uses Georgia Tech as a living laboratory and collects data from energy utility systems all over campus. Through collaboration among multiple campus departments, insights from this project will directly impact energy planning and consumption on campus in many ways, with the hope of making Tech’s energy utility systems more efficient.

“It is extremely exciting to know that our team is supporting some of the most brilliant complex-system designers in the world,” said Mark Demyanek, assistant vice president of Operations and Maintenance within Facilities Management.

“Using our built environment as a living laboratory is a concept that is growing in higher ed, and I believe we at Georgia Tech are leading that growth in a thoughtful and responsible way.”

Already, the Smart Energy Campus Program has created software for the Facilities Management Energy Conservation team to use when analyzing utility consumption trends and identifying potential energy efficiency projects. This project is designed to save labor hours, resources, and money by quickly identifying buildings that have unusually high energy usage, and then notifying teams to remedy the problem.

“The Smart Energy Campus Program is trying to take advantage of new modeling tools and large amounts of data to gain deeper insight and predict what can happen in terms of energy utilization on campus,” said Scott Duncan, research engineer in the ASDL.

The Facilities Management team consists of five people who meet with the research team several times per month. The research members on the team have included graduate students, research engineers, and postdoctoral fellows, all of whom serve as another set of eyes to interpret the data and help Facilities see problems in different ways.

“This program is revolutionary in getting access to data,” said Duncan. “If we were doing this program for a community outside of campus, it would be difficult to get access to this much data.”

With so much data, the project continues to grow and the mission evolves. Building a predictive model of campus energy is no easy feat.

“We keep finding things to do and smaller side projects to work on,” said Duncan.

Through thermal network and electric grid modeling of campus, researchers will have greater agility and insight to see where energy is not being used efficiently, as well as analyze the effects of energy system technology upgrades.

Through the research effort, areas of improvement will be more visible and enable Facilities to channel resources toward areas of need. The ultimate vision of the research team is a “smart” system that will identify and react to problems and inefficiencies on its own, potentially without human assistance.

“With any luck, one day soon, campuses across the world can use these tools to manage their facilities resources more efficiently,” said Demyanek.

AIAA recognizes Imon Chakraborty for scholarship and drive

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has singled out AE doctoral student Imon Chakraborty to receive two significant awards at the Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, to be held this June in Dallas, Texas.

The 28-year-old Kolkata, India native was selected to receive the AIAA 2015 Best Paper Award for his work, “A Requirements-driven Methodology for Integrating Subsystem Architecture Sizing and Analysis into the Conceptual Aircraft Design Phase," written with guidance from his advisor, Dr. Dimitri Mavris.

The award annually recognizes the overall best paper from a pool of various technical research topics.

Chakraborty was also selected to receive the AIAA Foundation William T. Piper, Sr. General Aviation Systems Graduate Award, a $1000 scholarship sponsored by the General Aviation Committee. It is awarded each year to an outstanding graduate student who is researching areas related to general aviation aircraft.

The research proposal that Chakraborty submitted in support of the Piper award, "Facilitating the Development of Pilot-friendly General Aviation Aircraft" underscores a longstanding personal interest he has in all aspects of human flight.

"I earned a private pilot license through Georgia Tech's Yellow Jacket Flying Club around two years ago," he said. "And I am very interested in the transfer of technology and concepts between aeronautics and high-performance motorsports."

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the leading aerospace publisher of aerospace books and journals and houses the largest source of aerospace industry archives. AIAA's mission is to inspire and advance the future of aerospace for the benefit of humanity.

ASDL presents its work before External Advisory Board

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The 2015 External Advisory Board (EAB) meeting for AE's Aerospace System Design Lab (ASDL) drew a standing-room-only crowd of experts from industry, government and academia to the Weber Building April 28 and 29.

Organized as a review of ASDL's research and academic mission, the meeting felt more like an aerospace symposium as nearly 120 students and faculty presented more than 50 academic and sponsored research projects.

Subjects ranged from airline schedule optimizations to astroid capture & mitigation and unmanned naval vehicles.

"For me, it was an opportunity to see how much more breadth and depth ASDL has acquired. It was great to see some of the projects have branched out into planetary exploration," said William Kimmel, co-chair of the 60-member advisory board and the chief technologist at NASA Langley Research Center's Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate.

"This meeting always gives me a chance to think about the future and to connect with other possible research partners. This year, I spoke with people from [NASA's] Marshall Research Center -- people I normally would not see -- and we began collaborating about a possible Marshall-Langley-ASDL research project."

Last week's EAB was the 23rd time that ASDL's many sponsors and supporters have gathered at the School of Aerospace Engineering to review the lab's many accomplishments, which, this year included:

Strategic software alliances with industry giants like Dassault Systemes, Phoenix Integration, Pace, and SAS;
An average of $14 million in research expenditures from nearly 50 industry and governmental entities, covering every sector of the aeronautical and astronautical fields;
Six recognized Centers of Excellence;
200 graduate and 100 undergraduate researchers;
40+ research faculty and post-docs.

The first day of the meeting featured Grand Challenge presentations by ASDL graduate students. Inspired by the needs of industry and governemnt, these open-ended explorations are the bedrock of many students' graduate programs-- integrating key principles from mulitiple disciplines with research, teamwork, communication, and other “soft skills” needed for success in the field. The results are often used as a basis for further, sponsored research.

"The hardest part about critiquing these presentations was finding something new to say about how well they were researched and executed," said one industry attendee during the reception that capped off the first day.

"I had to repeat what every other firm was saying: 'Your work is great. Come work for us.'"

The second day of the meeting featured closed-door reports on the outcomes and projected next steps of currently sponsored research projects in a wide variety of applications, including civil aviation, propulsion and energy, defense and space, advanced systems engineering, and advanced concepts.

"I think a lot of our board members walked away impressed by the level of analysis that ASDL research teams brought to their projects," said Mavris. "And we received feedback that confirmed our approach to the research."

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in Spring 2015!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students in our lab have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams this spring.

Michael Bozeman
Sun Choi
Gokcin Cinar
Adam Cox
Jean-Guillaume Durand
Brett Hiller
Yanal Issac
Arun Ramamurthy

ASDL team takes home the gold at SAE competition


A team of 35 graduate and undergraduate ASDL students has continued a Georgia Tech tradition by taking home the gold in the 2015 Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design East competition, held March 14 and 15 in Lakeland, Florida.

The Georgia Tech team designed, built, and launched vehicles that beat out rivals from 75 other teams in both the Micro Class and Advanced Class categories. The projects were underwritten by grants from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rolls Royce and UTC.

"The Micro Class challenge was really challenging," said GT-AE sophomore Matt Warren.

"It had to fit into a tube that was six inches wide, which is very small. We made it harder by deciding that our tube would be just six inches long."

After competing among themselves for the best design concept, the GT-AE team decided on Warren's design, a 1.3-pound Rogallo wing hand glider. It was judged according to how much of a payload it was capable of carrying, said research engineer Carl Johnson, one of the team's advisors.

"Our Micro Class submission came in number one, overall," Johnson said.

"It was also first place in design report, and second place in presentation."

Georgia Tech's Advanced Class submission also took home first place overall, second place in presentation, and first place for its target accuracy. With a 10-foot wing span, a two-stroke gas engine, and an 18-pound payload, the Advanced Class aircraft lived up to its name.

The remote-controlled autonomous vehicle was tasked with dropping part of its payload -- a shark-themed sandbag -- onto a target from 100 feet in the air. Scoring was based primarily on the accuracy of that drop.

Team captain Mustafa Kothowala said there were a lot of elements that had to work right for their vehicle to prevail in the competition.

"This airplane involved a multi-disciplinary effort," he said.

"We weren't just looking at the aerodynamics. We also had to have structural engineers who would build it and then we had to have software coders so that the pilot would know when to drop the sandbag."

The SAE Aero Design competition provides undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering challenge. The competition has been designed to give exposure to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environment. First and foremost a design competition, students perform trade studies and make compromises to arrive at a design solution that will optimally meet the mission requirements while still conforming to the configuration limitations.

Georgia Tech has placed in at least one category of the SAE competition since 2012. The 2015 competition is the first time that the Georgia Tech team has won the overall competition in the Advanced Class.

"I couldn't be prouder of our team," said ASDL director Dr. Dimitri Mavris. "This is the right way to start the design competition season."

Mavris named new Langley Distinguished Professor


The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) has named GT-AE's Dr. Dimitri Mavris as the new Langley Distinguished Professor in Advanced Aerospace Systems Architecture for the Georgia Institute of Technology.

A Regents professor and director of GT-AE's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL), Mavris replaces Dr. Alan Wilhite, who retired from that position and from Georgia Tech in December.

"It is a great honor – and an even greater opportunity – to assume the Langley Distinguished Professorship," said Mavris, who also serves as Georgia Tech's Boeing Professor for Advanced Aerospace Systems Analysis.

"We are at a time in history when the potential for collaboration between NASA, the academic community and the private sector shows incredible promise. I look forward to moving that process along."

The National Institute of Aerospace is a non-profit research and graduate institute, located near NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. It was created to support Langley's mission to do cutting-edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies and help train the next generation of scientists and engineers. NASA Langley also helps contribute to the funding for the Langley professorships.

"I am very excited that someone of Dr. Mavris’ stature and vision will be joining the NIA to perform transformational aerospace research," said Dr. Douglas O. Stanley, president and executive director of the NIA.

"I look forward to working closely with him as we create ASDL@NIA to lead the development of innovative aerospace concepts and design methods."

Mavris will split his time between Atlanta and Hampton, where he will be the principal Georgia Tech faculty member resident at NIA. He will lead NIA's research program in the field of systems analysis, with primary emphasis on developing life-cycle systems analysis and risk methodologies for advanced aerospace system architectures.

Joining Mavris will be GT-AE's Dr. Brian German as the new Langley Associate Professor and Dr. Daniel P. Schrage returning as the Georgia Tech Liaison Professor.

Mavris earned his undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. His research has focused on the formulation, development and implementation of comprehensive approaches to the design of affordable high-quality complex systems using visual analytics. Under Mavris' direction, the ASDL has served as a hub of multi-disciplinary system design and analysis work for a number of government and industry sponsors.

Over the last 10 years, the lab has done $125 million worth of research in new methods and tools and employed more than 200 research faculty, masters, and doctoral students.

Mavris now joins five other Langley Professors, each of whom holds a teaching and research faculty appointment at one of six NIA founding member universities. They will work as an integrated team with the NIA and NASA Langley research community, and the NIA liaison professors at the six NIA founding universities.

NIA was formed by a consortium of universities and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation. The roster of major research universities includes consortium members: Georgia Tech in Atlanta; Hampton University in Hampton; North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro; North Carolina State University in Raleigh; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Virginia Tech in Blacksburg; and affiliate members Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

eMeals: Designing a Better Dining Experience


They are familiar nuisances to anyone who has ever traveled on a commercial airline: the intrusive tray table and its noisy cousin, the food cart.

A team of graduate students from AE's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) is devising an alternative meal delivery system that could sideline those space-hogging scourges forever: a user-controlled food requisition system that automatically delivers your meal whenever you choose to order it.

"The idea is, you don't have to eat just because they tell you it's time to eat, and you don't have get trapped in your seat when they are delivering everyone else's food," says ASDL grad student Mathilde Deveraux, a France native and frequent flier.

"The food is delivered to your seat from an overhead rail, not a person."

Deveraux and her four ASDL colleagues put together their proposal, "eMeals Enhanced Meal Experience with Airborne Light Systems" for Airbus's 2015 Fly Your Ideas competition.

Their pitch made it through the first round of the competition, where almost 400 teams were sent away. Now, they must compete with 100 other teams to make it to the final round, in May, where just five teams will present their ideas to Airbus officials.

The winners will take home a $30,000 prize -- and bragging rights.

"It would be nice to have Airbus know who I am," said Deveraux, who graduates in May. "I would like them to know what I can do."

From now until the end of March, the ASDL team will be working with an Airbus engineer, Colin Hodges, and their ASDL mentor, Dr. Dimitri Mavris, to finesse the details of their concept. Located in Toulouse, Hodges consults with them almost daily via email, and weekly via Skype.

Their plan starts with a touch-screen, where passengers can order food and drinks as they choose. It then employs an overhead rail that runs between the two rows of overhead bins and conveys meals and beverages to each row. Beverages can be stored in large containers and served on tap in the galleys, thus reducing waste by replacing bottles and cans.

In addition to clearing the aisles of those bulky (and heavy!) carts, the system frees up space that can be used in the galleys or for more leg room. The team estimates that removing trolleys could save as much as $7.5 billion in annual fuel costs.

And the flight attendants? Will they still be needed?

"You will always need flight attendants. This will give them more time to spend with passengers," said Christopher Frank, a doctoral student on the team. "Passengers want to have humans there. They just don't need them to serve food."

Frank and Deveraux said there's no way to size up their competition in this match-up, because Airbus allows each team to choose a theme and a project that are totally unique.

"If there are 100 teams out there now, there are 99 teams for us to beat," said Deveraux. "We're just working as hard as we can to deliver a good presentation."

GT-AE's Students receive Lichten Awards for Southern Region

(1/30/15) Aerospace engineering doctoral student Kevin Jacobson has been chosen as the winner of the American Helicopter Society's (AHS) 2015 Robert Lichten Award for the Southern Region.

The win means that Jacobson, 23, is invited to submit his paper, "Advanced Hybrid-CFD Techniques with Non-Contiguous Grids" for consideration in the national Lichten competition, where he will be up against nine other student scholars. The winner of that competition will be invited to present at the AHS 71st Forum and Technology Display in Virginia this May.

Joining Jacobson on the medal stand was ASDL grad student Etienne Demers Bouchard, whose presentation, "Design Space Exploration of a Reconfigurable Rotor Helicopter Concept" was given the rare distinction of "runner-up" in the Southern Region competition.

Should Jacobson not submit a paper for the national competition, Bouchard will be invited to submit his work.

"The competition was fierce," said Professor Marilyn Smith, who witnessed the presentations. "The judges had a hard time making their decisions because of the high quality of the research and presentations."

Jacobson said his work focuses on the development of a simpler, less costly way of testing new rotor designs.

"To model a rotor, you typically have to model all of the area around it," he said. "And that involves big CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations that can take a long time."

"With non-contiguous grids, we are making the area of testing a lot tighter. We're measuring the area around the blades, but not the wake."

The tighter focus allows researchers to capture the complex wave features of the blades without bogging them down in time-consuming analyses of extraneous area.

"We expected to lose some accuracy, but, really, we didn't," said Jacobson.

Bouchard's presentation looks at the feasibility of using multiple, vertical lift-off and landing aircraft to hoist a tethered payload that, itself, holds the electrical source of power.

"Electric propulsion allows us to explore new design opportunities," said Bouchard. "In practice, it would be very helpful lifting payloads over locations where you cannot land a traditional aircraft."

Kevin Jacobson Winner of the AHS 2015 Robert Lichten Award - Southern Region
Etienne Demers Bouchard Runner-up for the 2015 Lichten Award - Southern Region

ASDL Hosts the FAA CLEEN Consortium

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Leaders from throughout the aerospace industry converged on Georgia Tech this week for the Fifth Annual FAA Continuous Lower Energy Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Consortium meeting, hosted by the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL).

The three-day meeting allowed FAA officials to review the progress that industry partners have made on multi-year contracts to develop technologies to reduce aircraft noise, emissions, and fuel burn. In addition to hosting the meeting, ASDL has played a key role in the technology development by conducting systems-level analyses of each project.

Led by ASDL Director Dimitri Mavris, a team of GT-AE research engineers has reviewed the efforts of engineering teams from several industry giants, including Boeing, Rolls Royce, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and GE.

“We have been tasked by the FAA with modeling the new technologies to translate their impacts into quantifiable fuel burn, noise, and emissions benefits,” said Christopher Perullo, who has worked alongside Mavris and senior researcher, Jimmy Tai.

“What we’ve seen, over the last five years, is that the FAA’s goal of accelerating the development of new technologies is working.”

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations


ASDL is proud to announce that the following students have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams.

Shai Bernstein
Coleby Friedland
Seth Gordon
Chase Leibenguth
Seth Libby
Ethan Minier
Ashwin Renganathan
Leah Ruckle
Dennis Siedlak

Designing a Better Car: ASDL's Youngchul Park

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Hyundai Motors this month singled out AE graduate student Youngchul Park for a top award as a part of the company's 4th Annual Global Top Talent Forum.

Park, 35, was flown to Paris, France in early October to receive the award in the vehicle performance category for his presentation on improving current automotive technology. Park gave that presentation at a 3-day forum in San Francisco this past August.

In addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to the Paris Auto Show, Park received a $3,000 prize and a job offer from Hyundai Motors for when he finishes his graduate studies, sometime in 2016.

Park's talk derived from his research at AE's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL), where he has used a cellular automata model and a hierarchical design process to simplify the problem faced by automotive engineers when the use of lighter materials allows for greater fracture and fatigue damage in the finished vehicle. His research is based on work he completed with his mentors, Dr. Dimitri Mavris and Dr. Neil Weston in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL).

The trio's work was summed up in "Simulation of Distributed Co-Crack Propagation with Cellular Automata Model by Time Warp Synchronization."

Park said that the research on automotive design was a natural outgrowth of his work in aerospace engineering, where light-weight, durable materials are critical to all vehicle designs. Applying those concepts to cars presented some intriguing challenges, however; cars experience unique stress and fracture behavior that has to be specifically addressed.

"The lighter materials make the car more fuel efficient, but they also have problems because they develop multiple cracks," he said.

"Traditional damage tolerant design (DTD) analysis only looks at one crack in the system. I wanted to see what the cumulative impact was for multiple cracks, caused by amplitude stress over the entire life of the vehicle."

His research suggested that by simplifying the DTD problems at each step in the design, engineers can follow a hierarchical design process that will allow them to produce a safer, lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Park said he will continue to work on this concept as a part of his dissertation.

Park earned a masters in mechanical engineering in his native Korea before starting a graduate program in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. He looks forward to perhaps joining industry one day, but admits that he would be very tempted to continue working with Mavris, his mentor, after earning his doctorate.

"I would not have received this award without his support and advice," he said.

Congratulations to the ASDL Recipients of the Fall 2014 President’s Fellowship


ASDL would like to congratulate the Fall 2014 recipients of the President’s Fellowship. Recipients were recognized at the CoE Prestigious Fellowship Awards Winners Breakfast on August 27th, 2014.

Mark Agate (President's Fellowship; Advisor: Mavris)
Erika Brimhall (President's Fellowship; Advisor: German)
Zachary Fisher (President's Fellowship; Advisor: Mavris)
John Mark Mines (President's Fellowship; Advisor: Mavris)
Schmit (President's Fellowship; Advisor: Mavris)
James Wittig (President's Fellowship; Advisor: Mavris)

For more information about the President’s Fellowship, click here, For more information about The Georgia Institute of Technology and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, contact Kara Kelch at 404.385.7708 or

Georgia Tech names Dimitri Mavris Regents Professor


Georgia Tech this week announced that it has selected Dimitri Mavris, a professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), to become a Regents Professor.

Mavris’s nomination to this honor was formally approved by the University System of the Georgia Board of Regents earlier this month and is effective immediately. The Regents Professorship is reserved for outstanding, tenured full professors whose work is characterized by excellence in research and contributions to their professions and institutions.

Mavris is known for emphasizing academic excellence among the many graduate students he advises. He regularly authors journal and conference papers with his students, and, over the last 10 years, has graduated more than 300 masters and doctoral students.

“The greatest accomplishment, really, is the opportunity I’ve been given to develop people,” said Mavris who also holds the Boeing Professorship for Advanced Aerospace Systems Analysis.

“To be able to support 600 or more students since I joined the ASDL [in 1998] is truly the biggest reward.”

Under Mavris’s direction, the ASDL has served as an unparalleled hub of multi-disciplinary system design and analysis work for a host of government and industry sponsors. Over the last 10 years alone, the lab has performed $125 million worth of research in new methods and tools and has anchored more than 200 research faculty, masters, and doctoral students.

Graduate and undergraduate students associated with ASDL have had the opportunity to work with a veritable “who’s-who” of industry giants, including Boeing, Lockheed, Rolls Royce, GE, NASA, and Pratt & Whitney, to name a few.

“It is hard to fully comprehend the wealth of resources and energy that Professor Mavris brings to his students and to the School of Aerospace Engineering,” said AE Chair Dr. Vigor Yang.

“He has generously provided his students with significant exposure to major research opportunities, reinforcing not only their technical finesse but their ability to manage real-world interactions.”

Mavris earned his undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. His research has focused on the formulation, development and implementation of comprehensive approaches to the design of affordable high-quality complex systems using visual analytics.

Mavris’s work as an educator and an engineering thought-leader has been widely recognized. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award. He is also a delegate to the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Council. In addition to his membership on AIAA’s Institute Development Committee, he was recently appointed to direct AIAA’s Technical Aircraft and Atmospheric Systems Group.

ASDL launches ACRUM, a year-long NASA collaboration

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At first glance, ACRUM sounds like the plot of a Hollywood sci-fi flick.

After identifying and capturing an asteroid, ACRUM researchers must redirect it into a new orbital path (the moon’s) so that scientists can study it.

In fact, the Asteroid Capture, Retrieval, Utilization and Mitigation (ACRUM) project is a very real NASA collaboration that launched this week at AE’s Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL).

For the next year, research teams consisting of students and faculty from five universities and several high schools will tackle the asteroid problem using the Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design (ICED) methodology.

"From the scope of the project - redirecting an asteroid - to the make-up of the research teams - from high school students to NASA experts - this is an impressive project, one that embodies what Georgia Tech is all about," explained Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson at the ACRUM kick-off event.

“Hollywood’s had its take on this,” said Charles Camarda, Ph.D., the former astronaut who heads up ACRUM for NASA. “But this is not a Hollywood movie. It’s real. And months from now, NASA will get nuggets of gold from the research that these teams will do."

Camarda made those remarks during ACRUM’s 2014 kick-off event, August 11, where dozens of educators and graduate students from across the country gathered at Georgia Tech to review the year-long ACRUM agenda.

A veteran of several very successful NASA ventures, Camarda urged listeners to attack the ACRUM challenge with an unorthodox approach.

“Failure is your friend," he said more than once. "You need to fail in order to succeed. That’s how you understand the limits of your analysis. That’s how you get a better concept.”

To back up his claim, Camarda cited a couple of real-world examples where major and very costly aerospace projects were derailed at the last moment because engineers had not allowed themselves to explore possible failures earlier in the project timeline. It's also about collaboration.

The ICED methodology addresses this pitfall by emphasizing aggressive and multiple concept generations at the front-end of a project. From there, components can be subjected to rigorous testing and analysis, where failure becomes fodder for an optimized concept.

“I want you to fail quickly, often, cheaply and intelligently. You need to think of all the ways a system will fail at the component level, not the prototype level, and test them. You need to come up with an alternative that doesn’t have the same problems,” Camarda explained.

“The alternative is to be slow, infrequent, and dumb. That’s where it gets expensive. And that’s where programs get killed before they have been fully explored.”

Camarda said this model is often lost on more rigid work environments, but that it shows great promise for the next generation of engineers – the target audience of ACRUM. The key, he said, is to address every thoughtful critique and explore every reasonable solution.

Lithia Springs High School math teacher Jonathan Freeman said Camarda’s approach is ideal for developing persistence in young minds.

“The idea that failure is okay will help us get through to our kids,” he said. “A lot of them are paralyzed by their own perfectionism. Or arrogance. This will get them to get beyond failure, to come up with new ideas.”

At Georgia Tech, ASDL research engineers will take on the ACRUM challenge, working with undergrads and connecting with high school faculty to push the research forward. Throughout the year, they will have access to subject matter experts (SMEs) at NASA, and will be supported by industry partners, like Boeing and Siemens.

“This is a natural fit for ASDL, which is always looking to increase its STEM outreach,” said Charles Domercant, Ph.D., the ASDL research engineer who is heading up the GT-ACRUM project.

“It will also give us a relevant, real-world problem that will pull in undergraduates. And all of this will give our graduate students great opportunities for leadership development.”

ASDL Director Dimitri Mavris echoed Domercant’s observations.

“This project will teach students to not be so school-centric, where the teacher tells them what they need to know,” he said.

“That is important, because, when they graduate, they’ll have to work in organizations where they will have to know how to communicate, how to survive failure before they own success.”

ASDL's Year-long Collaboration, AerosPACE, Recognized by ASEE

Boeing's AerosPACE program team.jpg

AerosPACE, a year-long collaboration between Georgia Tech, the Boeing Company, and three other universities has been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) with an Excellence in Engineering Education Collaboration Award.

ASEE's Corporate Member Council (CMC) presented the award to participants in the Aerospace Partners for Advancement of Collaborative Engineering (AerosPACE) program during ceremonies held June 16 at the Indiana Convention Center.

The award went to The Boeing Company, Georgia Tech, Brigham Young University, Purdue University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in recognition their joint participation in AerosPACE, a program that developed curriculum for real-life, hands-on learning and capstone design experiences for graduate students and seniors.

AerosPACE teams at each of the participating schools used and developed a collaborative computer aided design (CAD) software and a social learning website to complete their work. Using different materials, each team had to design, build, test, and deploy a UAV that is capable of accurately monitoring agricultural crops and delivering useful information on irrigation, pesticide use, and vegetative health.

Three of the schools were responsible for physically housing one of the UAVs during the construction process, but the project teams were composed of students from every school.

Each student had to contribute to the concept, design, testing, and deployment of at least one UAV -- even if it was physically located hundreds of miles away.

The results of their collaborations were showcased in April, when representatives from each of the teams came to Georgia to launch their vehicles before an audience that included many high-ranking Boeing officials.

They Are Not Roasting Marshmallows at ASDL's STEP Summer Camp

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For the 37 area high school students attending ASDL’s STEP (Science Technology and Engineering Pipeline) camp, there will be no “vinegar-and-baking-soda-does-what?” experiments this summer.

The open-ended problems they are tackling come from NASA and other real-world entities. And the answers they are finding come from hard work.

"The solutions are not in the back of the book," says camp organizer, Dr. Kelly Griendling, an ASDL research engineer.

"And the engineers supervising them might not have the particular expertise that's called for, so it's a lot of problem-solving, collaborating, and trying different things." Brandon Ringfield, a Lithia Springs junior, has been working on this hybrid motor that he hopes to install in an UAV that his colleague, Austin Pettit is programming. The challenge, he says is to get the throtttle at the "right place" so that the engine will start quickly and keep going.

Funded with grants from industry giants Lockheed and Boeing, STEP seeks to replicate both the challenge and the excitement faced by working engineers. That’s a winning combination for the impatient curiosity of its campers.

“I didn’t expect for it to get this real, this fast,” said Brandon Ringfield, a soft-spoken junior from Lithia Springs.

“They are letting me buy materials and try things on my own. It’s not like back at [high] school, where the teacher tells you how to do everything.”

In addition to learning some engineering fundamentals, students enrolled in STEP are learning how to collaborate, design, and execute – three skills every engineer needs to nail. They are testing materials, recording performance, and trying different strategies to make their projects successful.

One team is programming a remote controlled boat; another is answering an asteroid capture challenge; two others are designing a hybrid powered UAV; another is building a quad rotor vehicle (to meet Army Research Lab specs) and the last one is comparing the performance of different rotor-engine combinations.

This is the first time that ASDL has organized the two-month engineering intensive Griendling says. That’s meant a lot of work, she says, but the value is really obvious.

“All of the students had to apply to be here -- put together a resume -- so they want to get something out of it,” she said. " And when you see students like Brandon, zeroing in on the work, soaking up new information and skills all the time, you know it’s building a good foundation.”

The camp will conclude at the beginning of August, when students present their findings. But the adventure will hopefully last a lot longer.

"We'd like to see some of these kids come to Georgia Tech," said Dr. Daniel Cooksey, another ASDL research engineer who is helping out on the project. “And this camp is giving them something to imagine, to shoot for.”

$1.9M Research Grant Aims to Help Military in Austere Environments

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Beginning today, scientists from Georgia Tech’s Integrated Product Lifecycle Engineering (IPLE) lab and the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) will run a two-year project dubbed CREATE (Collaborative Repository for Engineering and Technology Education).

The goal of the CREATE project is to enable students, hobbyists and military personnel to understand, diagnose, repair and adapt high technology electro-mechanical systems that are often used in isolated or challenging environments. The work is funded by the MENTOR2 program, run out of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office.

“The CREATE team is in a unique position to develop and demonstrate innovative methods and tools,” said Dr. Daniel P. Schrage, whose IPLE lab led Georgia Tech’s work on the original MENTOR program and will also lead Georgia Tech’s effort on MENTOR2.

“We can build on and integrate key innovations from previous work and implement new innovations.”

Georgia Tech researchers will partner with the University of New Haven to evaluate the project demonstrations, which will use a combination of classroom teaching, camp practicums, unique simulation software, and distance learning to train users in all aspects of electromechanical system design, manufacturing, and support.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate on this project,” said ASDL director Dr. Dimitri Mavris. “Our main focus will be on developing the curriculum through the development and use of an education project kit.”

Impetus for MENTOR2 comes from the experience of the U.S. military, where defense readiness is largely dependent on the ability to maintain and adapt high-tech equipment despite limited resources. Personnel require specialized training to ascend the learning curve for new technologies and deploy them under trying conditions.

CREATE seeks to tackle this problem, first by providing a learning environment that improves users’ overall understanding of high technology systems, and then by providing ubiquitous access to educational/design materials and tools that will support the employment of that knowledge in practical situations in austere environments.

While other contractors will be responsible for developing simulation, design, and prototyping tools, CREATE will focus on the development of project kits and MOOCS (massively open online courses) for high school and college students. CREATE will evaluate the effectiveness of its approach during scheduled periodic demonstrations. Finally, Georgia Tech will serve as the overall MENTOR2 contractor for demonstrations and evaluation.

“Georgia Tech’s work under the CREATE project will deliver the sort of feedback that will improve the way we educate those who must repair and adapt electomechanical systems without access to the supply chain,” said Schrage.

“Our emphasis on project-based learning and technical skill development will also attract support from educators, as well as from industry.”

Federal Aviation Administration Recognizes ASDL Graduate Researcher

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Aerospace engineering graduate student Alek Gavrilovski has been recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a PEGASAS Outstanding Student Researcher Award.

Announcement of the honor came on June 4, during the annual meeting of the PEGASAS Center of Excellence for General Aviation -- a national gathering of industry, government, and academic partners in general aviation, held at Georgia Tech June 3-5. Find out more about this meeting.

The award recognizes the stature of Gavrilovski's overall scholarship, including his most recent project, Rotorcraft ASIAS (Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing), which is seeking to improve the safety record of helicopters.

"While the overall safety record in aviation has improved a lot over time, the safety of rotorcraft vehicles is still order-of-magnitude much worse than with commercial aviation," he said.

"So the idea [with ASIAS) was to use flight data monitoring (FDM), which is already used in commercial airlines, to improve the safety of rotorcraft flight."

Gavrilovski plans to create a unified data-sharing network to enable directed safety studies of rotorcraft data. As a part of this work, he will identify the events, parameters, rates and exceedences that are currently recorded using existing equipment. Along with an exhaustive literature search, his goal is to create and continually improve a rotorcraft-specific FDM system. Dr. Dimitri Mavris and his student, Alek Gavrilovski during a reception for the PEGASAS COE meeting.

"Because we will be looking at actual flight data -- information that could identify a particular pilot -- we had to run our entire plan though the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which was something new for me," he said.

"But it looks like we are cleared to begin."

Gavrilovski plans to pursue the Rotorcraft ASIAS project as a part of his doctoral work at Georgia Tech's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) where he works under the mentorship of Dr. Dimitri Mavris and Dr. Hernando Jimenez. A native of Macedonia, Gavrilovski earned his undergraduate and masters degrees at Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering.

ASDL to Host National Meeting on Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability

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Aviation experts from industry, academia, and government will converge on Georgia Tech's Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) June 3-5 for the Second Annual Meeting of the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability (PEGASAS).

Coordinated by the Federal Aviation Administration's Center of Excellence (COE) for General Aviation, the three-day meeting will focus principally on the sharing of technical information among members, but will also include public addresses from FAA officials, including FAA Research Division Manager Dr. Eric Neiderman, during its Wednesday proceedings.

Established in 2012, PEGASAS is a multi-university team selected by the FAA to serve as its new Center of Excellence for General Aviation. The partnership's research focuses on the primary needs of the general aviation sector, including safety, structures and propulsion systems, human factors, weather and NextGen technology applications.

PEGASAS research has been headed up by core integration teams from Georgia Tech, Purdue and The Ohio State University. Their work has been backed up by core team members from the Florida Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Texas A&M University.

Affiliate members include: Arizona State University, Florida A&M, Hampton University, Kent State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Oklahoma State University, Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), Tufts University, Western Michigan University and University of Minnesota, Duluth.

PEGASAS industry and organizational partners are GE Aviation; Battelle Memorial Institute; NetJets Inc.; Cessna; Gulfstream; Piper; Raytheon; Rockwell Collins; Cirrus; Flight Safety Foundation; Guardian Mobility; Harris Corporation; Jet Aviva; NextGen AeroSciences; Nelson Consulting; Rolls-Royce; The Spectrum Group; Take Flight Solutions; Woolpert; the Flight Deck Display Research Laboratory at NASA Ames; Columbus Regional, South Bend and Fort Wayne Airports; Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Indiana Departments of Transportation; the National Business Aviation Association; the National Intercollegiate Flying Association; and Ohio Aerospace Institute.

Georgia State Legislature Honors ASDL PhD Candidate Mauricio J. Guadamuz

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The lifelong accomplishments of AE alumnus Mauricio J. Guadamuz were celebrated by friends, family, and colleagues April 30 when the Georgia Legislature issued an official proclamation commending the Lockheed Martin systems engineer at a Statehouse ceremony.

The chief author of that proclamation, Rep. Pedro Marin, paraphrased the formal document with words of praise and respect for Guadamuz, whom he called "a role model for anyone who believes in the American Dream."

"There's a saying in Spanish 'Honor serves honor' and that applies to Mauricio," he said from the podium. "Mauricio has gone by the call of duty in being a professional and in giving back to the community."

A 2000 graduate of Georgia Tech's Aerospace Engineering masters program, Guadamuz, a Nicaragua native, has led Lockheed Martin's efforts to increase minority hiring and improve its research collaborations with top universities. In 2010, he was accepted into Lockheed's highly competitive Technology Officer's Corporate Engineering and Technology Ph.D. Program, which allowed him to return to Georgia Tech and pursue his PhD in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL). His doctoral studies focus on modeling new value-added technologies to improve affordability of systems.

Guadamuz's return to school is a wise investment, according to Dr. Alexander Eksir, Lockheed's vice president for Quality and Mission Success and Guadamuz's supervisor.

"With Mauricio, we are investing in human capital, which is more than our obligation as a corporate citizen, but the future of our country," he said. "And by promoting individuals of his caliber, we are ensuring the sustainability of what we all enjoy in this democracy, which has been built on the sacrifices of others."

In accepting the proclamation, Guadamuz gave thanks to his father, who left a war-torn Nicaragua in the early 1990s with nothing to fuel him but the determination to have his family survive -- and thrive.

"Who knows where I would be now, if he had not done that? I am an American by choice." Guadamuz said.

Turning to his own career, he quickly added "My success is not an exception. If you nurture, if you help, if you love any child, they can do what I did."

Guadamuz has been very active in the Latino community, where he frequently does STEM-related outreach and mentoring and has served as the Atlanta Chapter President for Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association (LISTA). He was the 2013 recipient of the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) Virtuoso Award and was also nominated to receive the 2013 LISTA Rising Star Award. Lockheed Martin Vice President for Quality & Mission Success Alexander Eksir was on hand to congratulate his colleague, Mauricio Guadamuz.

None of these achievements or accolades surprised Dr. Erian Armanios, a former Georgia Tech professor who served as Guadamuz's advisor during his first stint at Tech. Now a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Armanios flew to Atlanta to celebrate the proclamation's official release.

"It's nostalgic, really, to see Mauricio get this because I remember him as a masters student, wondering if he should get a Ph.D., and I knew, then, he had the talent and the drive," said Armanios.

"They key was that he had a circle of supporters around him -- his family, his Georgia Tech family, his work family - and he had a very strong faith."

That extended family was everywhere apparent at the Statehouse, where clusters of strangers quickly became friends as they spoke about Guadamuz.

"He was always engaged in helping Latinos to find out more about engineering and the sciences," said AE's Dr. Stephen Ruffin, who now administers the Space Grant Consortium and Sloan scholarship programs that helped Guadamuz finish his masters degree.

"What's great, to see him now, is that he has achieved so much more confidence in himself. He has established himself as someone who will be successful and it shows."

ASDL Welcomes Industry and Government Leaders at EAB Meeting


Dozens of government, academic and aerospace industry leaders converged on Georgia Tech this week for the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) annual External Advisory Board meeting, held April 28-29.

The two-day meeting featured presentations by AE graduate students that focused on some of the grand challenges facing the discipline and the world. Dressed to impress and ready to discuss details, the students spent Monday presenting their research on subjects ranging from gyrocopter-type airborne wind turbines to high bypass ratio engine integration.

"A lot of the people who come are leaders in industry, so it says a lot for the quality of the ASDL presentations that they took the time out to attend. It's not easy to get this kind of time," said EAB co-chairman Dr. Gary Seng, a retired Chief at the NASA Glenn Research Center.

"I'd say a lot of them get revitalized by the presentations, because the students here are fully involved in studying the latest research. They give us new perspective."

EAB co-chairman, Bill Kimmel, a chief technologist at NASA's Langley Research Center, said that working with the students at ASDL was something of an investment in the future.

"These are very smart students, the future researchers that we'll see at NASA, so what we do is stretch them a little," he said.

"For instance, they might present one of the best projects in the world, but if the cost is too high, that project will have a hard time getting by the suits. So we ask them to think about lower cost options, not just the best-case scenario."

For more information about The Georgia Institute of Technology and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, contact Kara Kelch at 404.385.7708 or

ASDL Georgia Tech Team Shines at International Airplane Design Competitions

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The weekend of April 12 was a busy one for a team of ASDL-led engineering students -- participants in two storied design competitions: the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) match-up in Marietta GA, and the 2014 AIAA Design/Build/Fly competition in Wichita, KS.

"It was a major undertaking by Georgia Tech and by AE that, on the same day, in two separate locations, we launched four different student-designed aircraft," said Dr. Dimitri Mavris, head of the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) that oversaw both efforts.

Supported by Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, the GT team spent hundreds of hours designing, adjusting, and testing the vehicles before they set out for the competitions.

"Before they launched any of the SAE vehicles, they had to build prototypes," said Mavris. "They got up before dawn many mornings so they could test them. They ran more than 135 test flights before they competed."

In the SAE competition, Georgia Tech aerospace and mechanical engineering students competed against 71 teams from eight countries, placing first in one category, second in two others, and third overall in the “micro” class.

Going into the much-anticipated DBF match-up, the Georgia Tech plane was widely considered to be a strong contender for first place. It was the second lightest vehicle in the competition and was designed by a team that had bested the field more than once before. With its signature "Buzz Gold" color and "angry eyes" windshield, this would have to be the Georgia Tech entry into the 2014 DBF Competition.

But windy weather proved too much of a challenge at Saturday’s take-off.

“It had a hard time moving forward because the winds were 30-35 miles an hour,” said Carl Johnson one of the ASDL research engineers who helped coordinate the competition.

“The irony is, one of our team members had researched wind conditions for Wichita over a 10-year period, calculating wind speed as a function of time so that we went in with a probability distribution that would tell us what the winds would be like at the time we launched. We had figured 5 to 25 miles, but it was actually a lot windier.” The Empire Buzzes Back was the name of this plane, which came in second for its written report in the regular class competition of the SAE International Competition.

Johnson and fellow ASDL research engineer David Moroniti said the entire team learned from its shortfalls and celebrated its victories.

“Everyone worked together on all four planes,” said Moroniti. “Our goal – our job – is to create the optimal - the best plane - so if someone had a strength in one area, he shared that on all of the teams.”

That approach worked well for the SAE, where the Georgia Tech team fielded winning submissions in three classes: micro, regular, and advanced.

In the advanced class, Georgia Tech’s “Return of the Buzzed” (Team #219) took home first place for its written design report.

In the regular class, Tech’s “The Empire Buzzes Back”(Team #27) received a second place award for its written design report. Students took care to transport the planes to safety after their flights. This year's entries will become next year's teaching models for Georgia Tech's SAE teams.

And in the micro class, Tech’s “A New Buzz” (Team #301) took home second place in the category of maximum payload lifted (11.19 pounds, officially). This plane also took home "third place overall” in the micro category.

A longtime participant in both the SAE and DBT competitions, Georgia Tech has established a winning legacy that is the envy of many engineering schools around the country.

That's prompted the team to develop something of an attitude – one that does not kindly tolerate second place.

“I think our team is eager to take revenge next year,” said Johnson, with a hint of a smile on his face. “I don’t mean we need to do 'better.' I mean: we have to win.”

AIAA Names Prof. Dimitri Mavris to Direct the Aircraft and Atmospheric Systems Group


The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recently announced that AE Professor Dimitri Mavris has been elected to serve a three-year term as the organization’s director for the Aircraft and Atmospheric Systems Group (AASG).

Announcement of Mavris’s election to this leadership position came April 7 and will become effective with AIAA’s next board meeting, to be held in Washington, DC on May 1.

The AASG oversees the activities of several technical committees within AIAA, including: Aircraft Design, Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems, Air Transportation Systems, Aircraft Operations, Balloon Systems, Flight Testing, General Aviation, Lighter-than-Air Systems, Product Support and V/STOL Aircraft Systems.

Mavris said he is excited to be heading up the work of the AASG, which is comprised of government, academic, and industry leaders from across the country.

“Active involvement in AIAA has been an integral part of my life throughout my career, so I am dedicated to developing and executing strategic initiatives to advance the state of aerospace disciplines and create exciting opportunities for our membership,” he said.

Currently the Boeing Professor of Advanced Aerospace Systems Analysis and the director of Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL), Mavris is the recipient of numerous career honors, including an NSF Early Career Award. Mavris has been a member of AIAA for a quarter century and was named an AIAA Fellow in 2009.

In addition to his most recent appointment, Mavris has been involved in several other AIAA committees and initiatives, including the Energy Optimized Aircraft and Equipment Systems Program Committee (as chair); the Aircraft Operations Technical Committee (chair); the Aircraft Design Technical Committee (chair); the International Activities Committee of IAC; the Institute Development Committee, IDC; and the ICAS-US Delegate and Executive Committee.

ASDL's Hernando Jimenez to chair AIAA's Aircraft Design Technical Committee


Dr. Hernando Jimenez, a member of ASDL’s research faculty, has been elected chairman of the Aircraft Design Technical Committee (ADTC) of the American Institute of Aeronatuics and Astronautics (AIAA), a term that will begin May 1.

A native of Bogata, Colombia, Jimenez earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech and now serves as a research engineer with the Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL).

Jimenez has been involved with ADTC in various capacities since 2007, most recently as the committee's vice chairman.

The ADTC is charged with promoting the discipline of aircraft design in the field of aerospace engineering. The committee actively communicates with thought leaders, academics, and upcoming generations of students, as well as diverse elements of the aircraft design community.

“We are a very active committee, and this is possible only because our members are tremendously motivated and passionate about aircraft design,” he said.

“Working with them as champions of aircraft design is very rewarding. I look forward to continue serving the AIAA, harnessing the talent and enthusiasm of the committee’s members in support of the institute’s response to current challenges in the aerospace profession.“

Jimenez’s first official duties as chair will put him front and center later this spring, when the AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition (AVIATION 2014) comes to Atlanta, June 16-20. His committee will oversee part of the awards ceremony and will present 13 technical paper sessions.

At Georgia Tech, Jimenez leads ASDL’s research on unmanned aircraft systems integration into the national airspace. His research interests center on systems analysis and design, primarily with regards to uncertainty quantification and non-deterministic approaches, aircraft performance and design, modeling and analysis of the national airspace, and analytical extensions of systems engineering.

Much of his recent work pertains to integrated UAS airspace operations and aircraft systems analysis for environmental impact mitigation. In the last year he has also led research efforts under the FAA’s new center of excellence on general aviation, PEGASAS, where he also serves a deputy site director for Georgia Tech.

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations - Spring 2014

(03/21/2014) ASDL is proud to announce that the following students have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exams.

Spring 2014
Eugina Ramos
Adam Siegel
Brandon Johnson
Doug Trent
Pierre Valdez
Chris Frank

Mavris and ASDL Team Collaborate on Efficient Wing Design

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A three-year, $875,000 collaboration between Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), Virginia Tech, General Electric, and Boeing is seeking to reduce future airplane fuel consumption by as much as 60 percent.

Headed up at Georgia Tech by AE’s Dr. Dimitri Mavris, the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) project has recently grabbed the attention of Aviation Week, which published a story on the project Jan. 27.

The NASA-funded project is focused on designing a truss-braced wing that is not compromised by the weight penalty normally associated with conventional designs. The result is expected to burn substantially less fuel and could be ready for active deployment in an airliner by 2030.

At Tech, Mavris has been working with a team of five professional and seven student researchers to optimize the wing planform and truss geometry for Boeing engineers who are then performing detailed finite element method (FEM) analysis and wind tunnel testing.

The SUGAR project is also assessing the benefits of using hybrid electric propulsion which embeds an electric motor within the engine. This allows the engine’s fan to be electrically powered in flight which results in lower fuel burn.

As something of an added benefit, the SUGAR project prompted ASDL researchers to develop new evaluation tools, which can be used to assess detailed engine performance for a variety of engine architectures. The new suite of hybrid electric modeling elements employs the industry standard Numerical Propulsion Systems Simulation (NPSS) software, and can be used on engine variants involving fuel cells, batteries, and cryogenic components.

“The tools and models we’ve developed on this project are ready to be deployed and used today for a wide variety of unconventional propulsion systems.” explains ASDL researcher Christopher Perullo. “The deployment of a newly designed plane typically takes a lot longer, but we could see this as early as 2030.”

Georgia Tech Awarded New FAA Air Transportation Center of Excellence


The Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at Georgia Tech has been awarded a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to participate in a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for alternative jet fuels and the environment.

The FAA will provide the COE with $4 million a year for 10 years in order to support research and development that will launch aviation into a new world of clean energy. The team will focus on the NextGen environmental goals for noise, air quality, climate change and energy.

The purpose of NextGen is to enhance safety, save passengers time, and protect the environment better by reducing aircraft exhaust emissions, according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are leading the new center, and several other universities are involved as well. “The FAA continues its goal to improve National Airspace System energy efficiency by at least two percent per year, and to develop and deploy alternative jet fuels for commercial aviation, with a target of one billion gallons of alternate jet fuel in use by 2018,” said Huerta. “This Center of Excellence is a valuable tool to provide the critical data we need to reach these goals.”

The institutions involved, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, will “help us take environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuel technology to the next level. The Center of Excellence will tap talented universities to help us take environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuel technology to the next level. Airlines and their customers will both benefit from their work developing cleaner fuel that supports the environment and continued aviation growth.”

The COE program itself represents a partnership between academia, industry and government. Projects at the new COE will include scientists from all participating universities, and graduate and undergraduate students will also have opportunities to get involved.

ASDL at Georgia Tech has had a longstanding relationship with the FAA. Dr. Michelle Kirby, a senior research engineer at Georgia Tech and the ASDL Civil Aviation Division chief, says she is looking forward to extending it by exploring new ways to meet environmental and energy goals. “ASDL, under FAA PARTNER funding, has developed a comprehensive and robust analysis capability of estimating source noise, exhaust emissions, performance, and economic parameters for future aircraft designs under different technological, operational, policy and market scenarios to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the impacts of aviation to inform national and international decisions makers.”

For more information about the FAA Centers of Excellence program, visit the COE webpage at

ASDL Student, Mauricio Guadamuz, Selected for MAES Virtuoso and LISTA Rising Star Awards


Mr. Mauricio Guadamuz has been selected to receive the 2013 Virtuoso Award by Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) and is the recipient of the 2013 Rising Star Award from the National Association of Latinos in Information and Sciences and Technology (LISTA).

The Virtuoso Award is the top national award for Scientists and Engineers given by MAES. The Virtuoso award recognizes individuals showing exemplary capabilities in management and leadership; technology advancement in the areas of procurement, research and development; or leadership in increasing diversity among the technical disciplines. These individuals are frontrunners in their organizations and are poised to advance to senior leadership roles.

Mr. Guadamuz is currently pursuing his PhD in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Aerospace Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Dimitri Mavris. He is also employed as a Staff Systems Engineer for Lockheed Martin Corporation. He received a master's degree from Georgia Tech in 2000 and his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in 1999.

At Lockheed Martin, he has reported to the Vice President for Technology for Corporate Engineering and Technology since August 2011. In December of 2010, he was accepted in the Chief Technology Officer's Corporate Engineering and Technology PhD Program. He is scheduled to finish his doctoral studies in fall of 2014.

Prior to his educational leave from Lockheed Martin, Mr. Guadamuz served as Campus Relations Manager for University Talent Acquisition where he led efforts to increase the footprint and impact of college minority hires and research collaboration with key universities for Lockheed Martin. Previously, he served as Senior Engineer on several key programs in multiple capacities/disciplines.

Mr. Guadamuz is a recognized community figure in Atlanta where he has served as Atlanta Chapter President for LISTA. He was nominated in 2011 to the HENACC Santiago-Rodriguez Diversity Award - a landmark, national nomination for those that have made significant strides in driving diversity at major corporations. Mr. Guadamuz was nominated in 2007 to the HENAAC Most Promising Engineer or Scientist with Advanced Degree Award- a top nomination in the US for Hispanic individuals that have made significant engineering and science contributions.

MAES ( is the foremost Latino organization for the development of STEM leaders in the academic, executive, and technical communities, promoting, cultivating, and honoring excellence in education and leadership among Latino engineers and scientists.

LISTA ( is a not-for-profit organization assisting Latino technology professionals to advance their careers, their small business and providing inroads for the community at large to take advantage of technology. LISTA provides professional development, career mentoring, small business development and technical education opportunities for Latinos across the country. LISTA is a vanguard for change in policies and programs that will lead to the prosperity and inclusion of Latino tech professionals and entrepreneurs with a network currently reaching over 75,000 Latino professionals worldwide.