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Research centers and laboratories in the Texas A&M University 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.

Research Centers and Laboratories

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

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 Human Systems Laboratory (AHSL)

The AHSL aims to research and develop the capabilities to design and model space life support systems. These life support systems will be anthropometrically engineered spacesuits for microgravity operations and fractional-g planetary surface exploration. These goals will be achieved through digital (static and dynamic) human modeling, variable-g fluid physics modeling, advanced materials selection, and rapid prototyping and manufacturing research. By using a systems approach, the AHSL aims to design spacesuits and environmental controls with the human at the center of the design consideration.

Faculty supervisor: Bonnie J. Dunbar

Aerospace Laboratory for Lasers, Electromagnetics and Optics (ALLEMO)

The ALLEMO is located next to the National Aerothermodynamics and Hypersonics Laboratory (NAL) to rapidly implement new diagnostics funded by the Chancellor's Research Initiative with matching funds from the Texas Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI). Research conducted at the ALLEMO focuses on new diagnostic capabilities for hypersonics and combustion, aerodynamic control, and stand-off detection of hazardous gases and atmospheric properties. The facility includes a LIDAR lab with an observatory dome, an ultrafast nonlinear optics lab, a diagnostics development laboratory and a 120-foot lab with a subscale atmospheric facility.

Faculty supervisor: Richard Miles

Aerospace, Technology Research and Operations Center

The Aerospace, Technology Research and 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.

Faculty supervisor: Greg Chamitoff

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

AggieSat Laboratory

The AggieSat Laboratory is a student-led program with the mission of developing and demonstrating modern technologies for space-based systems while educating students in systems engineering and enriching the university experience. Our lab takes an integrated approach to small spacecraft research, design-build-fly, and education for multidisciplinary teams of freshmen through graduate students, with support from industry and government affiliates. Students are responsible for the whole design process, from concept proposal to end-of-mission operations. Members of the AggieSat Laboratory work with real-world deliverables, quality-assurance checks, documentation, design and safety reviews, and organization. The goal is for our students to gain hands-on mastery in current tools and industry practices related to specification, design, analysis, fabrication, and testing of space systems while actively applying and extending complementary concepts taught in classes and making critical decisions. The context for this program is in the design and development of small space systems, such as satellites and rovers, but the skill set acquired is applicable to a wide variety of disciplines and industries.

Faculty supervisorDr. Helen Reed

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

Detonation Physics Laboratory

The Detonation Physics Laboratory specializes in the study of detonation physics, high-speed combustion phenomena and energetic material performance. Applications involve propulsion, power generation, explosion hazard analysis, defense and mining.

Faculty Supervisor: Scott Jackson

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

Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures

Intelligent Multifunctional Materials and Structures 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

Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory

The Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory focuses developing advanced algorithms and analytical methods for designing next generation autonomous systems, operating in uncertain dynamic environments.

Faculty supervisor: Raktim Bhattacharya

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.

Faculty supervisor: Ed White

Laboratory of Space Systems and Optomechanics (LASSO)

LASSO focuses on designing and developing inertial sensors with applications in distinct fields such as gravitational-wave astronomy and space geodesy. The group's research centers on novel optomechanical inertial sensing technologies, optical precision measurements and system characterization and signal processing. LASSO members are also part of international collaborations such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antena, LISA Consortium and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, and LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Members contribute to the characterization and development of ground and space-based observatories.


Land Air & Space Robotics (LASR) Laboratory

The LASR Laboratory is a robotics facility operated by the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M. 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

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

Nanostructured Materials Lab

The Nanostructured Materials Lab takes challenges from aerospace engineering and applies material science principles to address them. 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

National Aerothermochemistry and Hypersonics Laboratory (NAL)

The Texas A&M University NAL 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

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

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 (SEAK) Lab

The 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).

Faculty supervisor: Daniel Selva

Turbulence and Advanced Computations Lab (TACL)

The 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 Texas A&M-RELLIS. 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