Centers and Laboratories

Research and service facilities in the Department of Aerospace Engineering are considered among the best in the nation and are used to supplement theoretical studies in the major disciplines.

Among the facilities available to researchers and graduate students are a variety of wind tunnels, a continuous-flow water tunnel, several machine shops, a flight simulator and an airport complete with a runway system and hangar.


Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory

Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory conducts inter-disciplinary fundamental research in next generation vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) concepts, novel aircraft concepts for planetary exploration, energy efficient green aviation, and high efficiency vertical axis wind turbines. Faculty supervisor: Moble Benedict


Aero and Fluid Dynamics Lab

Many pressure and velocity measuring devices, are available, including manometers, pressure transducers, and laser Doppler anemometers. Smoke and helium bubble generators are used for flow visualization. In addition, various data acquisition and signal conditioning instruments are included in this lab. 


Aerospace Technology Research & Operations

ASTRO is a Texas Engineering Experiment Station center that helps researchers get their advanced engineering concepts to Technology Readiness Levels suitable for adoption by government and commercial users, and helps infuse those customers’ needs into the Texas A&M research and education process. The Aerospace Technology Research & Operations center pursues research, engineering and testing activities in the areas of power systems, thermal management, space sensors, and other electronics systems. It pursues programs that provide valuable applied research and training opportunities for professors, students and industry collaborators.


Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute

The Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute addresses issues that impact the aerospace community through international cooperative research and collaboration conducted by industry, government and academia.


AggieSat Lab Satellite Program

The goal of the AggieSat Lab Satellite Program is to develop and demonstrate modern technologies by using a small-satellite platform, while educating students and enriching the undergraduate experience. Our Lab takes an integrated approach to small-spacecraft research, design-build-fly, and education for multidisciplinary teams of freshmen through graduate students, along with industry and government affiliates. Our Lab is currently engaged in a four-mission campaign with NASA Johnson Space Center to demonstrate autonomous rendezvous and docking technologies. The AggieSat Lab is located in Room 120 of the Munnerlyn Astronomical Laboratory & Space Engineering Building. This facility supports hardware and software design, prototyping, fabrication, and on-orbit operations for students conducting research and building microsatellites meeting sponsor objectives and requirements. Our Lab complies with Federal ITAR and operates under industry-standard configuration management, quality assurance, safety, and documentation practices. Contact Dr. Helen Reed or click the button for more information


Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems

The Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems is a joint venture of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M University College of Engineering (COE).  CANVASS is a 17-laboratory center with investigators from member COE departments (AERO, CSCE, CVEN, ECEN, MEEN, BAEN, ETID) administered through the Department of Aerospace Engineering.  CANVASS connects the relevant research talents from these labs to create multidisciplinary teams that develop innovative, synergistic strategies for the design, analysis, control, validation and verification of complex autonomous vehicle and sensor systems operating in challenging environments.  Faculty supervisor: John Valasek


Center for Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures

NASA has chosen Texas A&M University to lead the Center for Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures  (CiMMS), bringing together some of the top researchers in Texas and the world - including a Nobel laureate and several members of the National Academies - in biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomaterials and aerospace engineering to develop the next generation of bio-nano materials and structures for aerospace vehicles.  Faculty Supervisor: Amine Benzerga


Klebanoff-Saric Unsteady/Quiet Wind Tunnel

The Klebanoff-Saric Wind Tunnel (KSWT) is a low-disturbance, closed-loop wind tunnel designed for boundary layer stability and transition experiments. 


Laboratory for Uncertainty Quantification

This lab focuses on developing algorithms to understand the influence of uncertainty on the behavior of dynamical systems and how they can be controlled. We use methods from statistical physics, optimization, approximation theory, control & estimation theory, and information theory to develop modeling, analysis and synthesis tools for UQ. Some of the applications we are currently working on include certification of flight control laws, assessment of risk in planetary reentry problems, uncertainty management in cyber physical systems, design of nonlinear filters & estimators, and probabilistic robust control. Our publications, project information, etc, can be accessed from the webpage. This work is funded by NASA, NSF and AFOSR. Faculty supervisor: Raktim Bhattacharya


Laser Diagnostics and High-Speed Combustion

The lab is a graduate research facility dedicated to the study of high speed combustion for propulsion applications. Laser diagnostics like spontaneous Raman, Rayleigh scattering, and Laser-Induced Fluorescence are used to study the fundamentals of supersonic flows with or without reactions. The lab is one of the few facilities worldwide capable of producing multiscalar measurements in supersonic flames; the pressure, temperature, density and major species concentrations, i.e., the full thermochemistry, of a supersonic flow can be characterized using the techniques developed here. Reduced-chemistry CFD and detailed-chemistry calculations are also used to complement the experimental effort. High-energy Nd:YAG and dye lasers, and a host of high technology detectors, from high-fidelity scientific CCD and EMCCD to high-speed cameras, intensified systems and Long-Wave Infrared detectors form the core of the experimental facilities. Faculty supervisor: Adonios Karpetis


LASR Lab

The LASR Lab is a robotics facility operated by the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. The lab conducts research in robotic sensing and control with an aim to enhance the fields of proximity operations, human-robot interaction, stereo vision, swarm robotics, and autonomous aerial vehicles. Faculty director: Manoranjan Majji


Materials and Testing Lab

The Materials and Testing Lab is primarily used for processing and evaluating high-temperature metal matrix composite (MMC) materials, but the lab can be used to evaluate and process a wide range of materials. Three hydraulically-based MTS load frames are available for uniaxial mechanical testing. Each load frame can be equipped with one of five furnaces used in high temperature material evaluation. A hot isostatic press (HIP) and various furnaces are available to process metal matrix composites. This lab also includes various temperature-measuring devices. Faculty supervisor: Amine Benzerga


Multifunctional Materials and Aerospace Structures Optimization (M2AESTRO) Lab

The M2AESTRO Lab focuses on the development of novel aerospace material and structural concepts that provide multiphysical and multifunctional responses.  Material systems of interest include shape memory alloys, liquid metals, high conductivity composites laminates, and others. Laboratory capabilities include a customizable 3'x4' wind tunnel test section for acquisition of fully three-dimensional surface deformation, strain and thermal fields as measured on adaptive aerospace structures in a flow environment. Integrated augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) environments allow experiential immersion into the complex data sets generated during such experiments and allow straighforward and intuitive comparison between computational mechanics results and laboratory test data. Faculty supervisor: Darren Hartl


National Aerothermochemistry Lab

The Texas A&M University National Aerothermochemistry (TAMUNA) Laboratory is a graduate research facility founded by Professor R. Bowersox to perform leading research and to house unique facilities in support of National interests in high-speed gas dynamics, unsteady flows, and flows with thermal and chemical non-equilibrium effects. Primary sponsorship is provided by the US Air Force, Army and NASA. The laboratory is a true multidisciplinary research resource, with significant faculty involvement from both Aerospace Engineering and Chemistry. The laboratory is currently considered a National Resource by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Faculty supervisor: Rodney Bowersox


Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel

The Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel is a self-contained research facility located near Texas A&M. It is a closed-circuit, single-return type tunnel, with a rectangular test section 10 feet wide and seven feet high and housed in a two-story building. The administrative building, tunnel and test section, external balance and drive motor all have independent foundations to reduce the transmission of vibrations among them. A wide variety of tests are conducted at the wind tunnel for industry, governmental agencies, educational institutions, and private individuals. Tests at the tunnel have dealt with, but are not limited to aircraft, space vehicles, ground vehicles, buildings and offshore structures. The wind tunnel can provide many different types of information during a test. It is used for both basic and applied airflow research and development and also provides instructional aid for students of various departments.


Propulsion lab

This lab contains a fully instrumented and working turbine engine originally designed for cruise missiles. Inlet and nozzle configurations can be changed to vary engine inlet and back pressure. Faculty supervisor: Paul Cizmas


The Immersive Mechanics Visualization Lab

The Immersive Mechanics Visualization Lab (MAESTRO VR Annex) is a lab space fully dedicated to the tasks and goals of the Immersive and Intuitive Data Environments project. It is a 14’x17′ secure room with an HTC Vive VR system and associated computer with exceptional graphics card capability. A screen share and projection system allow visitors and collaborators to share the VR experience with the individual directly using the HTC Vive. Legacy dark room lighting (red and amber) allow for a comfortable work environment during in situ investigations.

Current research involves the development of robust methods for translating solid models (e.g., SolidWorks files) and finite element models (e.g., Abaqus models) into the VR environment and for interacting with such models in an intuitive manner.


Turbulence and Advanced Computations Lab (TACL)

The Turbulence and Advanced Computations Laboratory (TACL) conducts research on fundamental understanding of turbulent flows and turbulent mixing using state-of-the-art simulations at massive scales. While turbulence is the most common state of fluid motion in natural and engineering systems, its complexity has made the topic extraordinarily difficult. At TACL we develop and use the most advanced computational tools on the largest supercomputers available combined with theory and analysis to understand a number of aspects of turbulent flows. Some of the current interest include turbulent simulations at extreme scales, universailty of turbulent flows, intermittency and anomalous scaling, turbulence mixing at low and high Schmidt numbers, compressible turbulence, shock-turbulence interactions, and turbulence in thermal non-equilibrium. Faculty supervisor: Diego Donzis


Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory

The Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory houses experimental research, flight demonstrations, and FAA certification of small to medium sized fixed-wing and rotor-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). VSCL is comprised of a flight simulator lab housed in H.R. Bright along with a laboratory located at the RELLIS campus. This laboratory is located in a 5,000 square foot hanger next to the control tower at the former Bryan Air Force base (83TX), and a 7,000 foot runway is retained in "active" status for UAS flight testing. The flight testing area is a box approximately 1.5 miles by 1.5 miles. The six fixed-wing UAS in use at this facility are the Pegasus I and Pegasus II vehicles (80lb GTOW, 20 lb payload, 12 foot wing span), a UAV Factory Penguin B, a modified R/C Rascal 110, a modified Extra 300, and a BAE Systems Maxdrone. In addition, several rotorcraft UAS are operated from the facility including a Rotor Buzz II (115 lb empty weight, 100 lb payload), two Align 600's, an Align 700, and a Mikado Logo 14. All rotorcraft UAS are equipped with autonomous flight capability including auto-takeoff and auto-land. Two manned aircraft are also maintained for chase duties: a Piper Super Cub and a Schweizer 2-32 Sailplane. The facility also includes ground-based UAS flight test equipment, an instrumented small engine test stand, and a complete fabrication and construction workshop. The entire 1,900 acre site is known as the Texas A&M Riverside Campus, and is located west of Bryan on Highway 21. Faculty supervisor: John Valasek.