• Professor
  • Holder of the Thaman Professorship
  • Director, Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory
John Valasek Profile Photo

Educational Background

  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1986
  • M.S. Aerospace Engineering, University of Kansas, 1990
  • Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, University of Kansas, 1995

Research Interests

    • Autonomous and nonlinear control of cyber-physical air, space and ground systems
    • Air vehicle control and management
    • Vision based sensors and navigation systems
    • Advanced cockpit/UAS systems and displays
    • Control of Bio-nano materials and structures

Awards & Honors

  • 2019 - Engineering Hall of Fame, College of Engineering, Calif. State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The college's Hall of Fame recognizes, honors, and preserves the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of alumni engineers and engineering technologists who have distinguished themselves in the community through leadership and professional achievement. From helping usher in the era of digital television to guiding the development of California's most recognizable structures, each inductee has made meaningful contributions deserving of honor and preservation.
  • 2018 - Aerospace Engineering Honor Roll, Aerospace Engineering Department, University of Kansas. This award recognizes alumni and other friends of the Aerospace Engineering Department who have made major contributions to the aerospace engineering profession. Members of the Honor Roll serve in perpetuity as role models for Aerospace Engineering students and the public at large.
  • 2018 - Charles H. Barclay, Jr. ‘45 Faculty Fellowship, College of Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • 2018 - Best Paper, SAE Control & Guidance Systems Committee, Meeting #119
  • 2017 – Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). For “Pioneering contributions and outstanding leadership in flight mechanics and control leading to new capabilities in autonomous air refueling, morphing flight, and flight safety.” The AIAA confers the distinction of Fellow upon 1 percent of its members in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics.
  • 2016-2018 - University Thaman Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M University. The award is conferred only upon the university’s most distinguished teachers of undergraduates — faculty who have exhibited uncommon excellence and devotion to the education of undergraduate students.
  • 2015 - John Leland Atwood Award, National Outstanding Aerospace Educator, ASEE/AIAA. Bestowed annually to recognize the accomplishments of a superior aerospace engineering educator and his or her contributions to the profession, and for demonstration of improvements of lasting influence to aerospace engineering education.
  • 2014, 2004, 2001 - McElmurry Outstanding Teaching Award. Decided by the May and December graduating seniors in Aerospace Engineering, for exemplifying dedication and commitment to developing students professionally and academically by displaying a desire for students to succeed.
  • 2012 - Herbert H. Richardson Faculty Fellowship, College of Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • 2010 - Charles W. Crawford Service Award, College of Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • 2009 - Outstanding Alumnus Award, Aerospace Engineering Department, Cal Poly Pomona
  • 2009 - Exceptional Service and Contributions as National President 2006 - 2009, Sigma Gamma Tau National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society
  • 2008 - Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching, University Level, Texas A&M University Association of Former Students
  • 2008 - Sustained Service Award, AIAA Headquarters. Presented to recognize 19 years of sustained, significant service and contributions to AIAA.
  • 2007 - Special Service Citation, AIAA Headquarters
  • 2006 - Elected National President, Sigma Gamma Tau National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society
  • 2006 - Group Achievement Award, SATS Project Team, NASA Headquarters. For contributions to the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) Program.
  • 2006 - Special Recognition Citation, AIAA Houston Section. For service as Chairman of College and Co-Op Programs.
  • 2005 - National Faculty Advisor Award, AIAA Headquarters. Awarded to the faculty advisor of a chartered AIAA Student Branch who, in the opinion of student branch members and the AIAA Student Activities Committee, has made outstanding contributions as a student branch faculty advisor, as evidenced by the record of his or her student branch in local, regional, and national activities.
  • 2005 - Center Team Award, SATS Project Team, NASA Langley Research Center. For contributions to the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) Program.
  • 2005 - Turning Goals Into Reality, SATS Project Team, NASA Langley Research Center. For contributions to the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) Program.
  • 2004 - Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching, College Level, TAMU Assn of Former Students
  • 2003, 2001 - B.P. Amoco Teaching Excellence Award, College of Engineering
  • 2001 - Scholar, Montague Center For Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M University. Awarded annually to one faculty member from each college, to honor early-career excellence in undergraduate teaching at Texas A&M University.
  • 1997 - Air Force Office of Scientific Research Summer Faculty Research Fellow. Fulfilled at Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH.
  • Best Papers in Session: AIAA 1st Intelligent Systems Conference, AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, IFAC American Control Conference, SAE Control & Guidance Systems Committee, Meeting #93 & #99,Digital Avionics Systems Conference

Selected Publications

  • Valasek, John (Ed.), Advances in Computational Intelligence and Autonomy for Aerospace Systems, AIAA Progress in Aeronautics and Astronautics Series, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2018. DOI :https://doi.org/10.2514/4.104794
  • Lauderbach, Alison H., (Eds.), Complex Aerospace Systems Engineering, AIAA Progress in Aeronautics and Astronautics Series, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2018. Chapter: Valasek, John, “Aerospace Capstone Design and Senior Technical Electives with Enhanced Complex Aerospace Systems Engineering Content”
  • Saha, Dipanjn,Valasek, John, Famularo, Douglas, “Output Feedback Control Using State Observers of a Class of Nonlinear Nonstandard Two-Time-Scale Systems,” International Journal of Control, (accepted; to appear).
  • Saha, Dipanjan, Valasek, John, Leshikar, Christopher, and Reza, Mashfique, “Multiple-Time-Scale Nonlinear Control of Aircraft with Model Uncertainties,” Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, (accepted; to appear).
  • Goecks, Vinicius, G., Gremillion, Gregory M., Lawhern, Vernon J., Valasek, John, and Waytowich, Nicholas, "Integrating Behavior Cloning and Reinforcement Learning for Improved Performance in Dense and Sparse Reward Environments," International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 2020 (AAMAS20), Auckland, New Zealand, 9-13 May 2020.
  • Goecks, Vinicius, G., Woods, Grayson, Das, Niladri, and Valasek, John, "Combining Visible and Infrared Spectrum Imagery Using Machine Learning for Small Unmanned Aerial System Detection," Automatic Target Recognition XXX, SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2020, Anaheim, CA, 28 April 2020.
  • Bera, Ritwik, Goecks, Vinicius G., Gremillion, Gregory M., Valasek, John, and Waytowich, Nicholas R., “PODNet: A Neural Network for Discovery of Plannable Options,” Combining Machine Learning and Knowledge Engineering in Practice (AAAI-MAKE) 2020, Palo Alto, CA, 23-25 March 2020.
  • Goecks, V.G., Gremillion, G.M., Lawhern, V.J., Valasek, John, and Waytowich, N.R., "Efficiently Combining Human Demonstrations and Interventions for Safe Training of Autonomous Systems in Real-Time,” 6613, Thirty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-19), Honolulu, HI, 27 January 2019.
  • Valasek, John, and Bowden, Ezekiel, “A UAS Flight Test Engineering Course Modeled on Professional Methodologies and Practices,” AIAA-2019-1078, 2019 AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, San Diego, CA, 9 January 2019.
  • Saha, Dipanjan, and Valasek, John, “Nonlinear Multiple-Time-Scale Attitude Control of a Rigid Spacecraft with Uncertain Inertias,” AIAA-2019-0932, 2019 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, San Diego, CA
  • Narang-Siddarth, Anshu, and Valasek, John, "Nonlinear Multiple Time Scale Systems in Standard and Non-Standard Forms: Analysis and Control," Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2014, eISBN: 978-1-61197-334-1, ISBN: 978-1-61197-333-4, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1137/1.9781611973341
  • Valasek, John, Akella, Maruthi R., Narang, Anshu, and Rollins, Elizabeth, "Adaptive Dynamic Inversion Control of Linear Plants with Control Position Constraints," IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, Volume 20, Number 4, July 2012, pp. 918-933.
  • Siddarth, Anshu, and Valasek, John, "Kinetic State Tracking for a Class of Singularly Perturbed Systems," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 34, Number 3, May-June 2011, pp. 734-749.
  • Restrepo, Carolina, and Valasek, John, "Structured Adaptive Model Inversion Controller for Mars Atmospheric Flight," Journal of Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 31, Number 4, July-August 2008, pp. 937-953.
  • Tandale, Monish D., and Valasek, John, "Solutions for Handling Control Position Bounds in Adaptive Dynamic Inversion Controlled Satellites," Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Volume 55, Issue #2, April-June 2007.
  • Tandale, Monish D., and Valasek, John, "Fault Tolerant Structured Adaptive Model Inversion Control," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 29, Number 3, May-June, 2006, pp. 635-642.
  • Valasek, John (Ed.), "Advances in Intelligent and Autonomous Aerospace Systems," AIAA Progress in Aeronautics & Astronautics Series, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2012, eISBN: 978-1-60086-896-2 print ISBN: 978-1-60086-897-9, http://dx.doi.org/10.2514/4.868962
  • Valasek, John (Ed.), "Morphing Aerospace Vehicles and Structures," John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, UK, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-470-97286-1.
  • Woodbury, Timothy, and Valasek, John, “Synthesis and Flight Test of an Automatic Landing Controller Using Quantitative Feedback Theory," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 39, Number 9, September 2016.
  • Valasek, John, Kirkpatrick, Kenton, May, James, and Harris, Joshua, "Intelligent Motion Video Guidance for Unmanned Air System Ground Target Surveillance," Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, Volume 13, Number 1, January 2016.
  • Kirkpatrick, Kenton, Valasek, John, and Haag, Chris, "Characterization and Control of Hysteretic Dynamics Using Online Reinforcement Learning," Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, Volume 10, Number 6, June 2013, pp. 297-305.
  • Kirkpatrick, Kenton, and Valasek, John, "Active Length Control of Shape Memory Alloy Wires via Reinforcement Learning," Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures , Volume 20, Number 4, July 2012.
  • Lampton, Amanda, and Valasek, John, "Multiresolution State-Space Discretization for Q-Learning with Pseudo-Randomized Discretization," Journal of Control Theory and Applications, Volume 9, Number 3, 2011, pp. 431-439.
  • Valasek, John, Tandale, Monish D., and Rong, Jie, "A Reinforcement Learning - Adaptive Control Architecture for Morphing," Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, Volume 2, Number 5, pp. 174-195, April 2005.
  • Valasek, John, Famularo, Douglas, and Marwaha, Monika, “Fault Tolerant Adaptive Model Inversion Control for Vision-Based Autonomous Air Refueling,” Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, (accepted; to appear in 2017).
  • Tandale, Monish D., Bowers, Roshawn, and Valasek, John, "Robust Trajectory Tracking Controller for Vision Based Autonomous Aerial Refueling of Unmanned Aircraft," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Voume 29, Number 4, July-August, 2006, pp. 846-857.
  • Doebbler, James, Spaeth, Theresa, Valasek, John, Monda, Mark J., and Schaub, Hanspeter, "Boom and Receptacle Autonomous Air Refueling Using a Visual Pressure Snake Optical Sensor," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 30, Number 6, November-December 2007, pp. 1753-1769.
  • Valasek, John, Hughes, Declan, Kimmett, Jennifer, Gunnam, Kiran, and Junkins, John L., "Vision Based Sensor and Navigation System for Autonomous Aerial Refueling," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 28, Number 5, pp. 979-989, September-October 2005.
  • Doebbler, James, Spaeth, Theresa, Valasek, John, Monda, Mark J., and Schaub, Hanspeter, "Boom and Receptacle Autonomous Air Refueling Using a Visual Pressure Snake Optical Sensor," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Volume 30, Number 6, November-December 2007, pp. 1753-1769.