Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics




Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Enrollment Over the Last Ten Years

% of Women
% of Under. Minorities

Graduate Program

A total of 296 applications were received for the fall 2001 term. Out of these, 144 were admitted and 77 accepted the offer of admission. Enrollment for fall 2001 included 77 SM, 0 EAA, nine doctoral, three MEng degree candidates for a total of 76. There were a total of four minority students (no doctoral and four SM) and 21 women students (three doctoral, 16 SM, and one MEng). For the spring 2002 term we received 29 applications. We admitted 17 and 13 enrolled, including five woman. One minority application was received. Enrollment for spring 2002 included 10 SM, three doctoral, and zero MEng for a total of 13. Total women students numbered five (one doctoral and four SM). There was one minority student (one SM; zero MEng).

Fall 2000 / Spring 2001
MIT Fellows/Tuition Awards
Outside Fellowships Staff Appointments
(RAs, Draper Fellows)
Teaching Assistants and Fellows
Engineering Internship Program
Other Types of Support
(Employer, Foreign, Self)

Faculty Notes

Raul Radovitzky joined the department as Charles Stark Draper assistant professor, working in the area of multiscale modeling and simulation of the mechanics of advanced materials and in computational solid mechanics. Zoltan Spakovszky joined the faculty as Carl Richard Soderberg assistant professor, and Karen Willcox joined the faculty as Charles Stark Draper assistant professor, both in the fluid mechanics, propulsion and energy conversion division. Zoltan and Karen each spent almost a year in industry (at GE Aircraft Engines and Boeing, respectively) between receiving their PhD and joining the faculty, as part of the department's plan to further enhance the strong contact with the aerospace industry. Oliver De Weck joined the department in the area of engineering systems, with a dual appointment in the Engineering Systems Division. He comes to MIT with five years of professional experience at McDonnell Douglas and SF Aircraft and Systems.

David Darmofal and John-Paul Clarke were promoted to associate professor without tenure effective 1 July 2002. David Miller and Brian Williams received tenure effective 1 July 2002.

Wesley Harris returned from holding the Goldwater Chair at Arizona State University and has been appointed Draper professor. Mark Drela has been appointed Kohler professor in fluid dynamics and Brian Williams has been appointed Finmeccanica career development professor. Carlos Cesnik and Nesbitt Hagood have left the faculty: Cesnik for the University of Michigan; Hagood to work with a startup.

Margaret-Anne Storey, of the University of Victoria, BC, was a visiting associate professor during 2001–2002, working with Nancy Leveson on software engineering. Allen Haggerty, former VP and general manager, Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems Group, was in residence as the Hunsacker professor working with the Lean Aerospace Initiative. He delivered the 2002 Minta Martin Lecture entitled "Lean Engineering has finally come of age (or why we can't ignore 80% of a product's cost anymore)". Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut (and Harvard astrophysics PhD), has been in residence during the year and will continue his visit, teaching and working with the department on developing plans to use the International Space Station as a testbed for new aerospace technologies.

John Hansman was elected fellow, AIAA. Earll Murman was elected fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Dava Newman received the Aerospace Educator Award for 2001 from Women in Aerospace. Steven Hall was selected as a MacVicar Fellow. Amedeo Odoni received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Ian Waitz received the the Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award. As of 1 August, Ian will take up the position of associate department head, succeeding Edward Greitzer.

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Research Highlights

Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory

The mission of the Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory (ACDL) (formerly the Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory) is to improve the design of aerospace systems through the advancement of computational methods and tools that incorporate multidisciplinary analysis and optimization, probabilistic and robust design techniques, and next-generation computational fluid dynamics. The laboratory studies a broad range of topics that focus on the design of aircraft and aircraft engines.

Current research projects include: the development of a "distributed flow simulation environment" capability; aerodynamics of subsonic, transonic, and hypersonic vehicles; aeroelasticity; development of low order aerodynamic models for multidisciplinary analysis; computational approaches to active flow control; the development of tools for aerodynamic analysis and design; distributed visualization; development of distributed fast equation solvers; and development of algorithms for assessing and quantifying numerical uncertainty.

Lean Aerospace Initiative

Current Goals, Objectives, Priorities

The Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) is an evolving learning community that brings together key stakeholders from 25 aerospace companies, 15 US government offices and programs, organized labor, and MIT. It is a consortium-guided research program led by the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in close collaboration with the Sloan School of Management, and managed under the auspices of the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development (CTPID). LAI also collaborates internationally with LARP (Lean Aerospace Research Program) at Linköping University and the UK LAI.

Transforming an Industry

The Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) was born out of practicality and necessity as declining defense procurement budgets collided with rising costs and military industrial overcapacity prompting a new defense acquisition imperative: affordability rather than performance at any cost. The initiative was formally launched in 1993 when leaders from the U.S. Air Force, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), labor unions, and defense aerospace businesses forged a trail-blazing partnership to transform the industry, reinvigorate the workplace, and reinvest in America using a philosophy called "lean."

An Evolving Lean Message – An Evolving Lean Community

Lean is about people and processes efficiently delivering value to every stakeholder. This means achieving lean capability at the enterprise level. Creating lean enterprise value goes well beyond figuring out better ways to do the job right—it's also about doing the right job. It means eliminating waste with the goal of creating value, being responsive to change, continually focusing on quality, and enhancing the effectiveness of the entire workforce.

Today, LAI's community extends forward to the customer and reaches back through the supply chain. The consortium now consists of leaders and implementors from major US defense and commercial aerospace companies, suppliers, government agencies, organized labor, and MIT.

Through active partner collaboration, LAI functions as a real world laboratory. Resulting benchmarking data and other findings fuel an ongoing cycle of learning including the application of knowledge, assessment of progress, and continuous improvement. Ultimately this cycle generates new research questions leading to new results, and lasting value. It also provides a foundation for more tangible and meaningful tools and products that enable lean transformation efforts across the enterprise—products such as the Lean Enterprise Model (LEM), the Enterprise Transition To Lean Guide (TTL), and the Lean Enterprise Self-Assessment Tool (LESAT). LAI's research base also continues to fold into policy recommendations.

Accomplishments, Research Results, and Knowledge Products

Through its ongoing Lean Effects on Aerospace Programs (LEAP) exploratory study, LAI has found strong impact from lean occurring over the period of 1992 to 2000, with a large acceleration since 1997 representing as much as: ~60 percent increase in inventory turns; 40+ percent increase in labor productivity (current dollars); and as much as 80 percent reduction in product development cycle time. This research also revealed lean to remain heavily concentrated on factory floor. Basic lean changes still, however, benefit as much as 95 percent of shipped products and impacts 40–80 percent of all manufacturing and procurement processes.

Other recently published research includes findings and recommendations around:

As of May 2002, the LAI student roster totaled 16 MS and PhD candidates including:

Also as of May 2002, LAI had recorded 57 graduated MS and PhD students with:

Lean Transformation Tools and Products

In the past year, LAI has stepped up efforts to help transform the US aerospace enterprise by developing and deploying education programs as well as leadership and transformational tools including:

Lean Learning II Workshop—The race toward lean knowledge accelerated when 74 learners, change agents and implementors from across the aerospace community, gathered for LAI's Lean Learning II workshop in Charlotte, November 6–8, 2001. The second in a series of activity-based professional development forums, this workshop emphasized both people and process, and focused on the organizational behaviors as well as specific tools, such as LAI's LESAT, that enable lean transformation. It also featured an emerging LAI product "The Workbook for Change," a how-to soft skills guide.

"Lean Enterprise Value: Insights from MIT's Lean Aerospace Initiative (LEV)—Published by Palgrave in March 2002, this book outlines the core challenge for industry in the 21st century as the ability to identify and deliver value to every stakeholder and the subsequent requirement of lean capability at the enterprise level. The LEV book demystifies the three levels of enterprise, offers a Value Creation Framework, and concludes with Enterprise Level Lean Principles.

Enterprise Value: The New Lean Horizon—This annual stakeholders conference, held March 26–27, 2002, featured key lessons from "Lean Enterprise Value" and honed in on the larger concepts of what an enterprise is by looking beyond manufacturing successes to the greater opportunities associated with addressing an enterprise as a whole.

Sharing multiple enterprise perspectives were Bob Nelson, corporate vice president business strategy, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Carolyn Corvi, vice president-general manager, Boeing 737 Program; Mike Fortson, director JSF Affordability, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; and Ellen Plese, Atlas Program Office, Lockheed Martin Astronautics.

"Our experience with lean principles has shown that lean enables the cultural, process, and systems integration required to meet future customer requirements," said Bob Nelson. "Lean also offers a new common denominator."

LAI-Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Strategic Partnership Established—On May 22, 2002, LAI and DAU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to engage in collaborative work in two broad areas: acquisition research and curriculum development. Work has already started on development of a web-based introductory learning module of basic lean concepts suitable for government, industry, or academic applications. Future work would include collaboration on the inclusion of lean enterprise perspectives in the DAU capstone Program Manager's Course.

Lean Enterprise Value Executive Short Course—On June 19–21, 2002, LAI presented its first Executive Short Course to 25 leaders and implementers from aerospace. Designed and built around an integrated enterprise simulation game, this class encouraged experiential learning and immediately application of lecture materials. Content was derived from the LEV book beginning with an overview of lean fundamentals and culminating with a broad perspective of the integrated operations between the enterprise functions and their impact on achieving a lean enterprise transformation.

Moving Forward

Undeniably, LAI has taken root, grown, and flourished as a successful new model of industry, government, labor, and university partnership. But perhaps more importantly, LAI represents a true learning community with the ability to leverage multiple perspectives for longer-term solutions. Through this community, LAI is able to open and sustain knowledge sharing, create a common vocabulary, infuse new ideas into the industry, and enhance communication among all stakeholders. This accelerates lean transformation efforts by bridging sectors and cultures as well as organizational functions, layers, and competing interests. It also creates a system to rapidly diffuse best practices throughout the enterprise. Now LAI is poised to do for the rest of the enterprise what it did for manufacturing.

As LAI begins in next phase, the Enterprise Value Phase, in September 2002, the consortium will work to shift mindsets away from "silos" and into the enterprise, and to broaden LAI impact up, down, and across value streams.

LAI itself will model best practices by focusing on integrated goals, deliverables, and products that meet the needs of multiple stakeholders. As part of this vision, LAI is introducing the LAI Educational Network (LEN), a cadre of other colleges and universities who can help to foster lean thinking through education while expanding curriculum development and delivery.

Lean Sustainment Initiative

Established in 1997, LSI's mission is to enable a fundamental transformation of the US commercial and military maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industries into cost-effective, quality-driven, timely, and responsive support enterprises. As a joint academic-military-industry consortium LSI develops research-based recommendations for systemic change followed by the implementation of military-industry pilots to demonstrate the impact of the recommendations on the MRO effectiveness of the enterprises.

Two aerospace industry leaders have joined LSI, a development that signals firm industry commitment to streamlining the US Air Force's $5.4 billion dollar MRO operations. The Boeing Commercial Airplane Company and the Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation joined LSI in late 2001. In joining LSI, these industry leaders reinforce existing efforts to apply lean principles, processes, and practices to the sustainment operations, business processes, and enterprise integration that keep the backbone of America's air defense system—legacy aircraft like B-52s, C-5s, F-15s, F-16s, KC-135s—in the air. Boosting sustainment efficiency could increase the percent of US air war fighters that can go into immediate action within existing fiscal constraints about 75 percent.

During 2001–2002 LSI completed three studies: the impact of policy on the availability of materials and parts; identification of barriers preventing the flow of high quality data input to forecasting tools; identification and quantification of goals, objectives, and metrics that drive behavior and performance at the flight line. Based on the results of these studies, recommendations for implementation pilots have been developed and presented by MIT for LSI stakeholder review.

LSI members delivered invited presentations at the Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Congress and Exhibition, September 10–14, 2001, Seattle, Washington, and the Caribbean Academy of Sciences 13th annual meeting and conference, June 1–4, 2002, Mona, Jamaica, WI.

In addition, LSI produced several master's theses, white papers, and technical briefings.

Next year's plans include: further expansion of stakeholder base to include international corporations and more national corporations; continue the development of graduate and executive level sustainment courses with analytical framework and case studies; initiation of implementation pilots.

Man Vehicle Laboratory

The Man Vehicle Laboratory continues to be at the forefront of research in aerospace physiology, human factors, and cognitive engineering, supported by NASA, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, DOT, FAA and industry.

In the space research domain, Man Vehicle Laboratory continues a multi-year effort to build the suite of spaceflight-qualified virtual reality display hardware for the International Space Station (ISS) Human Research Facility, with the assistance of professional engineering staff from MIT's Center for Space Research. The hardware supports "VOILA" (Visuomotor and Orientation Investigations in Long Duration Astronauts), a family of nine flight experiments developed under MVL director Dr. Charles Oman's leadership by a US-French-Italian-Canadian science team, to be conducted on the ISS in 2004–2005.

Professor Dava Newman's new microgravity disturbance experiment for ISS, "MICRO-G" is approved and entering definition stage this fall. Final reports and journal articles appeared for Professor Newman's Enhanced Dynamics Load Sensor Experiment, which flew on the Russian Mir space station, and for Dr Oman's STS-90/Neurolab experiments on human visual orientation. Both undergraduate and graduate students participated in several parabolic flight experiments supporting the VOILA and MICRO-G.

In the aeronautical domain, Dr. Oman's experiments on pilot performance using vertical navigation profile displays appeared in journal form. He participated in writing the SAE standards for such displays, and Boeing is introducing the first airliner version this year. A new program of research on assessment of pilot attention and eye movement patterns using hidden markov models is underway in collaboration with DOT Volpe Center colleagues, as part of a research program on airliner head up display certification standards. Dr. Oman and Dr. Alan Natapoff continue to collaborate with Professor James Kuchar on experiments on time-critical decision making in a military aircraft route replanning context. Preliminary results were presented.

In the educational domain, Professor Newman continued to develop new curricula in the space biomedical engineering area, supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. She also leads the department's active learning tools development project, sponsored by Microsoft's Project I-Campus. Supporting these programs, Drs. Oman and Young developed a new alternate year HST graduate subject on spatial orientation and vestibular function. As part of the department's CDIO effort to increase awareness of aerospace system operational issues, Dr. Oman organized a faculty trip to United Airlines Training Center for Boeing 737 familiarization training. Over IAP 2002, he and Brian Nield of Boeing held a four-day, 20-hour Boeing 767 systems and automation course, utilizing the Project I-Campus flight simulation lab facilities, and Boeing-supplied computer based training software. Several pilot alumni also participated as instructors. During the spring semester, graduate students from MVL, SERL, and ICAT participated in a new cognitive human factors engineering seminar, supervised by Dr. Oman and this group founded a student chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

This year Professor Laurence Young retired as director of NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), but continues in a leadership role as special advisor to the director. Dr. Oman continues to serve on the Space Station Utilization Advisory Subcommittee (SSUAS) of the NASA Advisory council, and leads all NSBRI programs in the Neurovestibular discipline (42 investigators from 21 institutions) Professor Newman received tenure, and is spending part of a sabbatical year aboard her 48-foot sailboat circumnavigating the world, and conducting a collaborative educational experiment "Galatea World Odyssey", which introduces students to history, geography, science, and techonology by means of local lectures, visits aboard, and an expedition web site.

Software Engineering Research Laboratory

Software Engineering Research Laboratory (SERL) is relatively new to the department, being part of the recent expansion and redirection of the department focus. It was started four years ago when Professor Nancy Leveson joined the faculty. This year Professor Kristina Lundqvist and Professor Charles Coleman have joined SERL. Currently, SERL has 14 graduate students, two undergraduates, two postdocs, a visitor from NASDA (the Japanese Space Agency) and a visiting professor from Canada.

Research in SERL focuses on topics related to the design of complex systems having software components. The development of software in these systems cannot be separated from system engineering activities and much of the research in the lab would more properly fit into the category of systems engineering than software engineering. SERL research is cross-disciplinary and spans aeronautics and astronautics, computer science, human factors and cognitive engineering, system safety engineering, and other disciplines and applications using computers for control (such as transportation and medical devices). SERL researcher are working with Eurocontrol, NASA, Raytheon, Ford, and others on such diverse applications as air traffic management, aircraft avionics and flight management systems, autonomous vehicles, robots, the International Space Station, and interplanetary spacecraft. Research topics include model-based system and software engineering, system safety engineering, system and software requirements specification and analysis, and design of human-computer interaction (cognitive engineering).

Space Grant Consortium

The Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium (MASGC) added two affiliate members this year and now includes MIT (lead), Tufts University, Wellesley College, Harvard University, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Marine Biological Laboratory, Five College Astronomy Department, Northeastern University, Williams College, Holy Cross University, Boston Museum of Science, the Christa McCaullif Center/Framingham State College, and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.

MASGC continues to support a wide variety of programs aimed at education/public outreach and aerospace workforce development. MASGC contributes to the education of pre-college teachers in space science and engineering through summer workshops run by the Wright Center at Tufts. MASGC continues to support undergraduate research through the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and similar programs at affiliate institutions. It also provided graduate fellowships last year for three students. MASGC supported several students at the summer Space Academies at NASA's Goddard and Ames centers. It increased the number of companies involved in placing students for summer employment in the aerospace industry and organized a summer jobs fair in conjunction with MIT's career fair.

Last November, in cooperation with the Boston Museum of Science, MASCG hosted the annual "New England Space Day", inviting students supported by MASGC and other New England Space Grant Consortia to present the results of their research to an assembly of Boston area high school students. The students then heard a lecture by Dr. Janice Voss, NASA astronaut, on synthetic aperture radar mapping of the Earth from space. During the spring semester at MIT, MASGC sponsored a popular undergraduate seminar on "Modern Space Science and Engineering", with guest speakers from our industrial and academic affiliates. The annual Space Grant public lecture this year was given by Professor Jeffrey Hoffman, an Aero/Astro faculty member and a former NASA astronaut, on "Exploring Space with Humans and Robots". Professor Hoffman joined MASGC this year as associate director and is currently serving as acting director.

Space Systems Laboratory

Model-based Embedded and Robotic Systems Group

A new generation of sensor rich, massively distributed, embedded systems are being developed that have the potential for profound social, environmental, and economic change. The objective of the model-based embedded and robotic systems group (MERS) is to revolutionize the way in which we create and control these new artifacts.

MERS was created three years ago and includes roughly twenty students, postdocs, visitors, faculty and staff. The group's accomplishments this year included the completion of five master's theses, a bachelor's thesis, five journal and conference papers, the creation of a cooperative rover testbed, and several demonstrations of model-based autonomy capabilities, summarized below.

Research in Model-based Autonomy

The challenge of space exploration has dramatically shifted, from simple fly-bys to micro-rovers that can alight upon several asteroids, collect the most interesting geological samples, and return with their findings. This challenge will not be answered through billion dollar missions with 100 member ground teams, but through innovation. Future space exploration will be enabled in significant part by inexpensive, fire and forget space explorers that are self-reliant and capable of handling unexpected situations; they must balance curiosity with caution.

Self-reliance of this sort can only be achieved through an explicit understanding of mission goals and the ability to reason from a model of how the explorer and its environment can support or circumvent these goals. Robustness of this sort can only be achieved by careful coordination of the complex network of sensors and actuators within a spacecraft. Given the complexity of current (and future) spacecraft, such fine-tuned coordination is ordinarily a nearly-impossible task, both conceptually and as a software engineering undertaking. Such coordination is also essential to creating and operating future networked embedded systems, such as earth orbiting, remote sensor networks. Similar levels of robustness and ease of use are equally relevant in more down to earth contexts, within complex embedded systems of the sort found in environmental control of large buildings.

Our research confronts these challenges by introducing a new automated reasoning paradigm called model-based autonomy. We envision model-based explorers that are programmed rapidly and simply by specifying strategic guidance in the form of a few high-level control behaviors, called model-based programs. These control programs, along with a commonsense model of its hardware and its environment, enable an explorer to control and monitor its hidden state according to the strategic guidance. To respond correctly in novel, time-critical situations, our explorers use their onboard models to perform extensive commonsense reasoning within the reactive control loop, something that conventional AI wisdom had suggested was not feasible.

Our work on model-based autonomy this year resulted in a range of increasingly capable model-based autonomous systems, named Titan, Kirk and Moriarty. Each system has required significant advances in real-time reasoning along three fronts: model-based diagnosis and estimation, model-based planning and execution, and deductive, commonsense reasoning. Theses capabilities were applied to scenarios for three space missions (the Air Force's TechSat21, and NASA's ST-7 and Messenger Missions), Mars rovers, a Martian habitat and cooperative automobiles.

Titan: Model-based Programming and Execution

Model-based autonomy has the potential to make everyday embedded systems more robust, including automobiles, air vehicles and copiers. The challenge is to make it simple enough for any programmer to use and fast enough that they are willing to use it. We are creating increasingly fast and powerful model-based executives, which are made easy to use through the metaphor of model-based programming.

This year we completed the development of the first release of our Reactive Model-based Programming Language (RMPL). RMPL simplifies embedded programming by allowing the programmer to read and set the evolution of state variables hidden within the hardware. For example, an RMPL program might state, "produce 10.3 seconds of 35 percent thrust," rather than specifying the details of actuating and sensing the hardware (e.g., "signal controller 1 to open valve 12," and "check pressure and acceleration to confirm that valve 12 is open").

To execute RMPL programs we completed Titan, an execution system that automatically turns RMPL programs into hardware control actions that generate and monitor the desired state evolution. Titan is safe in the sense that it avoids potentially damaging, irreversible actions. Titan is fast; it plans and diagnoses quickly by shifting most reasoning to compile time, which allows it to generate each action in roughly constant time. RMPL is opening the software engineering community to the potential of dynamic languages that reason from models. During this year Titan was demonstrated on scenarios for the Air Force TechSat21 mission, and NASA's Mercury Messenger and ST-7 missions. Our future research will explore the role of compile-time analysis of RMPL programs to achieve high assurance and responsiveness.

Kirk: Model-based Programming of Cooperative Robotic Networks

Networks of unmanned air, space and land vehicles are being created that will perform elaborate missions in uncertain environments. Autonomy is key; the potential interactions between vehicles are too complex for programmers to predefine manually and the required response time is too fast for operators to handle on the fly. This is similar to the preceding challenge of coordinating a system's internal network of devices, except that the devices are far more complex, highly autonomous and agile. Kirk extends model-based programming and execution to the coordination of these agile, cooperative systems.

Kirk demonstrates that model-based programming languages can manage a rich set of interactions automatically—planning, scheduling, state estimation, and control, and that representations for describing the semantics of programs can be used to reason about complex, cooperative behaviors. Kirk was selected this year for the first phase of the NASA ST-7 autonomy validation mission. This research is enabling a new paradigm for cooperative air vehicles and Mars exploration. The concept of a cooperative Mars mission, including overhead blimps and distributed sensing networks, was demonstrated to the NASA Mars program within our multi-rover test bed. Our future research will incorporate distributed reasoning, agile vehicle path planning and intercommunication into the overall coordination process.

Moriarty: Hybrid Model-based Adaptive Systems

On September 23rd 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere. Extensive investigation found that a units error in a table of small forces introduced an indiscernible fault that over time caused mission failure. The subsequent Mars Polar Lander failure proved equally subtle. This thrust tackles the challenge of detecting and diagnosing failures during their onset, when the earliest symptoms may be hidden within the noise.

We are developing a model-based adaptive reasoning system, called Moriarty, which detects the onset of failure that are extremely subtle, and automatically learns the hybrid discrete/continuous models that are needed to perform these diagnoses.

Moriarty is being applied to advanced life support at Johnson Space Center. This year we published several papers on a method, called Hybrid Mode Estimation, that is able to detect the onset of subtle, multiple point failures. In addition we completed a thesis on automated learning of hybrid discrete/continuous models. Our future research will incorporate Moriarty within a hybrid executive that addresses the challenge of entry, descent and landing, highlighted by the Mars Polar Lander failure.

Technology Laboratory for Advanced Composites

The most significant events during the past year were the arrival of Professor Raul Radovitzky from the California Institute of Technology in September 2001 and the departure of Professor Carlos Cesnik to the University of Michigan in August 2001. Since January 2002 Dr. Kim Blair has been associated with the lab as a research scientist. The personnel of TELAC during AY2002 included three faculty members (Lagace, Radovitzky, and Spearing), one research scientist, one engineering specialist, four post doctoral researchers, fifteen graduate students, sixteen UROPers, and twelve undergraduate students in the undergraduate projects class (16.621/2) who performed their research projects in the laboratory. Professor Constantinos Soutis was a visitor in the lab from Imperial College London, from July 2001 until August 2002, and Mr. Mats Brickman was visiting from Saab Aerospace from January 2002 until April 2002 . Four students finished their master's theses in the laboratory during 2001/2 and three doctorates were completed during this period. Approximately 47 research papers and reports were published during the year by laboratory personnel.

With the arrival of Professor Radovitzky the research activities have broadened significantly. New activities include simulation of the effective mechanical response of polycrystals with special emphasis on incorporating mechanisms of deformation and failure taking place at the microstructural scale, while at the same time having a decisive effect on the macroscopic behavior. Also underway is the development a numerical approach for the design of nanomechanical biodetectorsas part of a collaborative effort with the California Institute of Technology to realize the goal of developing single-cell biodetectors through the novel use of bio-functionalized nanoelectromechanical systems (BioNEMS). This research will play an important role in designing a miniature, portable, and robust BioNEMS sensor.

Professor Radovitky is also leading an effort to simulate blast-structure interactions with the goal of developing an end-to-end simulation capability to represent complex weapon-target interaction applications. Some of the targeted DOD challenging application areas include penetration into deeply buried structures, force protection applications against terrorist threats, optimized design approaches for improving lethality of weapons and decreasing vulnerability of structures, and non-conventional weapon-target interaction.

Continuing projects include the accelerated insertion of materials (composites), actively conformable aerodynamic control surfaces, highly flexible composite wings, fatigue/damage tolerance for composite structures, fatigue of Ti/Gr hybrid laminates, materials, structures and package design for high power density microsystems, metal-composite adhesive joining, piezo-induced fatigue of adhesive joints, structural design of a howitzer launched aerial vehicle and structural health monitoring for composites, including the use of ferromagnetic shape memory alloys.

The laboratory continues to have extensive collaborations with industry, including Boeing, Draper Laboratory, Rockwell Scientific, and Sikorsky, other academic institutions, including the California Institute of Technology, Cambridge University, Clark Atlanta University, Hirosaki University, Imperial College, University of Michigan, and Stanford University. Within MIT strong collaborations exist with the Gas Turbine Laboratory, Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory and the Microsystems Technology Laboratory and groups in Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

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Departmental Awards

Undergraduate Awards

The Yngve Rausten Award was presented to Namiko Yamamoto, a sophomore from Tokyo, Japan, for "outstanding academic achievement in each of the components of unified engineering, for consistently and successfully bridging the two cultures of modern Japan and MIT, and for extending genuine friendship and outreach to the unified engineering community."

The Andrew Morsa Memorial Award was presented to Christopher Rakowski, a senior from North Arlington, NJ, for "outstanding ingenuity and initiative in the application of computers to the ARGOS imaging satellite system test bed."

The David J. Shapiro Memorial Award was given to Ryan K. Owen, a junior from Great Falls, MT, to "design, build, and assess a GPS-based take-off performance estimator."

The Thomas B. Sheridan Award was presented to Jaime Devereaux, a senior from Barrington Hills, IL, and Margarita Marinova, a junior from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for an "experimental study of the impact of cognitive distraction on driving while using a cellular phone."

The Leaders for Manufacturing Prize was awarded to Emily M. Craparo, a senior from Destin, FL, and Benjamin T. Ingram, a senior from Landale, PA, for "innovation in developing a rapid, cost-effective, and robust construction method for a micro-sized ornithopter wing." The LFM prize was also presented to Mark A. Monroe, a senior and first-year graduate student from Middletown, RI, and Nathan A. Fitzgerald, a senior from Hyannis, MA, for "demonstrating excellence in modern manufacturing processes in the fabrication and assembly of a micro gas turbine engine ejector-mixer testing apparatus."

The United Technologies, Corp. Award was given to Aleksandra Mozdzanowska, a senior from Drexel Hill, PA, and Paul H. Nicholson, a senior from Amherst, MA, for their project on the "parametric study of the effect of geometric variations on flow fields in combustors." The United Technologies award was also presented to David M. Bennett, a senior from North Hampton, NH, and Todd A. Oliver, a senior from Austin, TX, for their project on the "wing-grid: a new approach to reducing induced drag project."

The James Means Memorial Award For Excellence in Space Systems Engineering was presented to Kay U. Sullivan, a first-year graduate student from Huntsville, AL, for her "superior work in providing keen and insightful analyses to develop optimum system architectures for a Mars sample return mission." This award was also presented to Marcus J. Dos Santos, a senior from Winfield, AL, for the "design and construction of the structure of the ARGOS imaging satellite system test bed."

The James Means Memorial Award for Excellence in Flight Vehicle Engineering was presented to Roland E. Burton , an exchange student from Altincham, Wales, for the "design and analysis of the flight propulsion and power system for an unmanned lighter-than-air surveillance vehicle."

The Admiral De Florez Award for Original Thinking or Ingenuity was presented to Roland E. Burton and Krzysztof J. Fidkowski , a junior from Macungie, PA, for "demonstrating original thinking in the conception and definition of their project 'A Variable Rear Wing Control System for Road Vehicles', and for showing enormous initiative leading to an impressive demonstration of an actively controlled wing."

The De Florez award was also presented to Marianne H. Okal from Evanston, IL, for "pursuing her original idea of designing a device that can detect excessive damage to climbing carabiners not detectable by visual examination."

The Henry Web Salisbury Award was presented to Benjamin T. Ingram, for "superior academic achievement in every category of the undergraduate degree program of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and for demonstrated excellence in theory, design, and implementation covering several components of aeronautics and astronautics."

Edward F. Crawley
Department Head
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor of Engineering Systems

More information can be found on the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics web site at


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