The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech

Defense and Space

Mission Statement

To educate the future industry and government leaders of the defense and space community while improving the acquisition and operation of defense and space systems through the use of innovative methods and techniques.


The Defense and Space Division (D&S) has particular expertise in the application of advanced design methods to military strategic planning, design and operational challenges. Project areas include ballistic missile defense, cargo logistics, naval systems, manned and unmmaned aerial vehicles, ground vehicles, missile systems, access-to-space vehicles, and C4ISR. Currently we have approximately $3.7M of sponsored research, four full-time researchers and over 35 graduate researchers supporting the division, and work closely with other divisions of ASDL including Advanced Systems Engineering, Advanced Concepts, and Propulsion and Power.


Stephen Edwards
Acting Division Chief

Defense and Space Branches

The Defense and Space Division is currently reorganizing its branches. This portion of the page is currently under construction.

Space Systems

Branch Lead: Stephen Edwards (Acting)

Airborne Systems

Naval Systems

ASDL has a long and proud history of conducting research for naval entities. The NSE&I Branch was established to have an in-house capability to conduct naval engineering analysis, further the development of naval research efforts, and transition methods and techniques from other engineering disciplines to the naval domain.

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
The NSE&I branch supports projects requiring knowledge of naval engineering disciplines. Despite Georgia Tech not offering a degree on Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering, the branch maintains a knowledge base on the associated disciplines. Most often, this function conducts hydrodynamic resistance, powering, seakeeping, hydrostatics, stability, and ship structural analyses. Past projects have included development of parametric models of ONR Innovative Naval Prototypes, conceptual design and analysis of surface combatants, and torpedo design and analysis.

Naval Logistics/Sea Basing
This function focuses on developing analysis tools and techniques for naval logistic problems. Sea Power 21 and Sea Basing, one of its central pillars, highlighted the need and the associated difficulties in supporting large forces ashore from the sea. Research under this function addresses these gaps and supports decision makers by using quantitative analyses of this truly complex problem. Examples of techniques used under this function are: discrete event simulation, agent-based modeling and simulation, naval operations research and analysis, and non-linear optimization.

Autonomous Naval Systems RDT&E
The advent of autonomous systems and their ability to conduct the dirty, dull and dangerous missions, has not gone unrecognized by the Navy. This function of the NSE&I branch focuses on developing and applying state-of-the-art automation and robotic technologies to the naval domain. The novel nature of these problems provides a unique opportunity to attract talented engineers to the problems faced by the Navy today. For this reason, ASDL has partnered with the Georgia Tech Marine Robotics Group to give students at Georgia Tech an opportunity to learn about Naval Engineering and its application to autonomous naval systems. Under this function, the NSE&I branch supports activities related to naval architecture of autonomous systems, autonomy and controls, mechatronics, robotics, rapid prototyping, electrical engineering, computer science, and user interface design.

Naval Engineering Education
Georgia Tech is proud to be a member of the Naval Engineering Education Center and the NSE&I branch strives to expand the naval engineering research and academic opportunities available to Georgia Tech students. Through the NEEC, this function focuses on providing practical education and research opportunities for students with an interest in naval engineering. With support from ONR, the branch also supports between two and four Grand Challenge teams working on Navy-inspired problems every year. With support from the NEEC and ONR, the branch taught in the Fall semester of 2010 AE4803MAV/GER - Design and Construction of Autonomous Naval Systems, the first naval engineering course ever offered at Georgia Tech.



Our sponsors include:


Selected Publications and Reports

  • Robertson, B.; Crowley, D.; Garmendia, D.; Douglas, R.; Mavris, D. N.; and B. Hellman, “A Modeling Methodology and Environment for Integrated Trim Analysis for a Reusable Booster System”, AIAA-2011-1009, 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Orlando, Florida, Jan. 4-7, 2011.
  • Edwards, S.; Mavris, D.N.; and B. Hellman, “Rocketback Trajectory Figures of Merit for a Reusable Booster Technology Flight Demonstrator”, AIAA-2010-8667, AIAA SPACE 2010 Conference and Exposition, Anaheim, California, Aug. 30-2, 2010.
  • Balestrini-Robinson, S. and D. M. Mavris, “How to Distribute Modeling Effort for Complex Systems,” In Proceedings of the 2010 Summer Simulation Multiconference (Ottawa, Canada, July 11-15), 2010.
  • Mavris, D.N., and R. Douglas, (U) QUANTITATIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT (QTA) PROGRAM, Task Order 0001: Next Generation Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Cooperative Engagement Capability Study for a Mothership and Deployable UAVs, s.l. : AFRL-RB-WP-TR-2010-3087 AFRL-RB-WP, Jul 2010.
  • Balestrini Robinson, S., “A modeling process to understand complex system architectures”; Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009., Publication Number: AAI3376248, ISBN: 9781109417814, Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-10, Section: B, page: 6369., 347 p.
  • Griendling, K.; Balestrini-Robinson, S. and D. Mavris, “DoDAF-based System Architecture Selection using a Comprehensive Modeling Process and Multi-Criteria Decision Making,” In Proceedings of the 12th AIAA/ISSMO Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference (Victoria, Canada, September 10-12), 2008.
  • Balestrini Robinson, S.; Li, Y.; Nixon, J. N.; and D. M. Mavris, “Model Development of Large-Scale DoD System-of-Systems,” In Proceedings of the 2008 International Simulation Multi-conference (Edinburgh, Scotland, June 16-19), 2008.
  • Balchanos, M.; Balestrini, S.; Weston, N.; and D. Mavris, “Multi-Physics Time-Variant First-Order Model Integration of Complex Systems,” In Proceedings of the 2007 ASNE Conference on Automation and Controls, (Biloxi, MS, December 11), 2007.
  • Zhang, D.; Balestrini, S.; Li, Y.; Weston, N.; and D. Mavris, “A Multi-Agent-Based Control System for the Integrated Engineering Plant,” In Proceedings of the 2007 ASNE Conference on Automation and Controls, (Biloxi, MS, December 11), 2007.
  • Hughes, R.; Balestrini, S.; Kelly, K.; Weston, N.; and D. Mavris, “Modeling of an Integrated Reconfigurable Intelligent System (IRIS) for Ship Design,” In Proceedings of the 2006 ASNE Ship and Ship Systems Technology (S3T) Symposium, 2006.
  • Weston, N.; Balestrini-Robinson, S.; Fulmer, D.D.; and D.N. Mavris, “Design of a Resource Advisor for the Next-Generation Surface Combatant,” In Proceeding of the Thirty-Eighth Southeastern Symposium on Systems Theory (SSST), (Cookeville, TN, March 5-7), pp. 176-180, 2006.