Research centers and laboratories in the Department of Aerospace Engineering are considered among the best in the nation and support the research encompassing all the major aerospace disciplines.

Among the facilities available to researchers, undergraduate and graduate students are a variety of wind tunnels, a flight simulator, a virtual reality lab, as well as the National Aerothermochemistry and Hypersonics Lab.

Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory

Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory conducts interdisciplinary 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

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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 Lasers and Electromagnetics Laboratory

This is a new laboratory being built adjacent to the National Aerothermodynamics and Hypersonics Laboratory (NAL). Research conducted in it will focus on the development of new methods for the use of lasers and electromagnetic concepts for applications relevant to aerospace. These include new diagnostics for high-speed aerodynamics, long-range detection of trace hazardous gases and pollutants, plasma-based methods for flow control, guiding of electromagnetic and laser radiation, and advanced energy conversion methods. The laboratory and the state-of-the-art equipment to be contained within it are jointly funded through the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI) and the Governors University Research Initiative (GURI). Faculty supervisor: Richard Miles

 Aerospace Technology Research & Operations

The Aerospace Technology Research & Operations center 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 ASTRO 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.

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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. Supervisor: Dave Redman

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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 the 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. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Helen Reed or visit the AggieSat Lab website for more information.

Bioastronautics and Human Performance

The Bioastronautics and Human Performance research group focuses on investigating human performance in extreme environments, and on developing technologies and countermeasures to improve human health and performance. We use both human-in-the-loop experiments and well as computational models and simulation to characterize and improve different aspects of human performance, including physiological responses as well as human-system interaction. Our multidisciplinary approach integrates aerospace and biomedical sciences and engineering as well as human factors, and our areas of interest include: human performance in altered-gravity environments, exercise physiology, extravehicular activity, biomechanics, computational models of physiological systems, and the use of virtual/augmented reality to improve performance. Faculty supervisor: Ana Diaz Artiles

Center for Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures

The Center for Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures (CiMMS) consists of 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. CiMMS is a collaborative effort of professors and researchers from six universities: Prairie View A&M University, Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and The University of Texas at Arlington. Faculty supervisor: Amine Benzerga

High Temperature Gasdynamics Laboratory

The High Temperature GasDynamics (HTGD) Laboratory, directed by Dr. Daniil Andrienko, focuses on computational and theoretical simulations of high speed and high-temperature flows. We apply first principles of molecular dynamics to describe the paramount of chemical and physical processes taking place in a hypersonic flow. A tight collaboration with experimental groups is another key species of our research. Our approach is multiphysical: we work at the junction of the following disciplines: molecular dynamics, radiation transfer, chemical kinetics, computational fluid dynamics and quantum chemistry. Faculty supervisor: Daniil Andrienko

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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 14x17 foot 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. Faculty supervisor: Darren Hartl

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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 and 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 and 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

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Land, Air and Space Robotics (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 supervisor: Manoranjan Majji

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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

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 3x4 foot 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 straightforward and intuitive comparison between computational mechanics results and laboratory test data. Faculty supervisor: Darren Hartl

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Nanostructured Materials Lab

Our curiosity to understand the processing-microstructure relationships in promising nano-structured materials drives us toward developing lightweight materials, whether it is for structural light-weighting, enhanced energy storage or smart textiles. Faculty supervisor: Mohammad Naraghi

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National Aerothermochemistry and Hypersonics 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Faculty supervisor: Rodney Bowersox

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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 7 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. Faculty supervisor: Ed White

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Plasma Dynamics Modeling Laboratory

The Plasma Dynamics Modeling Laboratory (PDML) focuses on developing numerical methods and theoretical models to understand the physical phenomena in various plasma discharges and flows. Primary applications include electric propulsion (EP), such as Hall effect thrusters and hollow cathodes, and fundamental plasma physics phenomena including plasma-material interactions, plasma-wave interactions, and plasma-beam interactions. Faculty supervisor: Ken Hara

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Plasma Simulation Laboratory

Research conducted in the Plasma Simulation Laboratory is focused on modeling of plasma influence on ignition, combustion and turbulent flows. Main problems we are working on include: controllable ignition by discharges plasma; combustion processes control and stabilization by plasma; deflagration to detonation transition control by plasma; laser and microwave discharge dynamics; flow control by plasma discharges; and nanosecond pulsed discharge igniters. Faculty supervisor: Albina Tropina

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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

Systems Engineering Architecture and Knowledge Lab

The Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Knowledge (SEAK) lab is devoted to research at the intersection of space systems, systems engineering and design, and artificial intelligence. Lab members (SEAKers) develop intelligent decision support tools to help systems engineers design systems, with a strong emphasis on space mission design. An example is Daphne (, the first cognitive assistant to support the design of Earth observing missions. To design intelligent tools like Daphne, SEAKers must become proficient in space system design as well as in various aspects of system design and artificial intelligence (e.g., search and optimization, machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, multi-agent systems, visualization, human-computer interaction). SEAKers also emphasize the rigorous validation of the intelligent agents they develop using experiments, both computational and with human subjects. Finally, SEAKers also like to apply the tools they develop in the design of actual flight projects with new architectures (e.g., NASA TROPICS mission). Sounds interesting? Find out more at

Tensegrity lab

This lab seeks to develop new analytical tools to merge structure design, control design, integrated with signal processing resource design. The structural paradigm for this research is tensegrity systems, creating minimal mass systems that also allow minimal control energy, within the constraints of allowable computational and sensing/actuating resources. The lab builds physical demonstrations of this integrated system design philosophy. Robots are designed to deploy from small stowed packages. Robots are designed to harvest rocks and regolith from asteroids or the moon. Tensegrity structures are designed for deployment in space. Tensegrity Robots are designed to autonomously build tensegrity structures in space. Wings are designed without hinged surfaces to controllable shapes. Antennas are designed for deployment in space within operational accuracies. Impact tensegrity structures are designed to protect payloads at impact on the moon or mars. Using these techniques, we have performed feasibility studies for truck bumpers for the Ford Motor company. We have created design methods for high rise buildings that can survive any earthquake with a specified energy bound. These studies employ data-based as well as model-based control methods. Faculty supervisor: Robert Skelton

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, universality 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 wingspan), 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.

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