From state-of-the-art facilities to a legacy of leadership in analysis and design of complex systems and decision making, the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) has the resources and experience to tackle real world problems for the benefit of its sponsors and its students. Our mission is to formulate, develop, and implement comprehensive approaches to the design of affordable and high-quality complex systems.

The basic aim of current and future research at ASDL is to be educational leader in advanced systems architecting, engineering, design, integration and operations, decision making, digital engineering, data and visual analytics.

ASDL aims to accomplish this by:

  • Training the next generation of highly qualified engineers for academia, industry, and government
  • Developing leading design methods suitable for the design of all types of complex systems
  • Providing a point of global dissemination for cutting-edge research to academia, industry, and government
  • Advocating for research fields critical to the continued maturation of industry

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ASDL Participates in New Virtual RobotX Competition

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Graduate students from the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) were part of the Georgia Tech team that placed second in the inaugural Virtual RobotX (VRX) Competition. The competition started with 17 teams representing Asia, Australia, and the United States, with 11 teams competing in the final phase.

The VRX competition is an international, university-level competition designed to broaden student’s exposure to autonomy and maritime robotic technologies. For the competition, student teams operate their vehicle in a Gazebo-based simulation environment built by Open Robotics and Naval Postgraduate School. Teams are tasked to develop innovative solutions to ensure their virtual USV can perform prescribed tasks in this environment. The challenges include station-keeping, automated docking, and navigating through a series of gates in an obstacle field.

An ASDL team composed of Matthew Gilmartin, Coline Ramee, Rahul Rameshbabu, and Anthony Velte helped develop the code for the Georgia Tech team, which placed second. The team also included several other students in various departments involved through the Marine Robotics club. “We are proud of the Georgia Tech team for placing in this new competition,” said ASDL director Professor Dimitri Mavris. “Working together on teams to solve challenging problems is a valuable real-world experience for our students,” he added.

For more information about the competition, click here.

Zanella Wins the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

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ASDL PhD student Paola Zanella has won Georgia Tech's version of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition with her talk on "Mitigation of Helicopter Accidents Related to Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness". She now joins the ranks of ASDL 3MT winners from years past, including Eugene Mangortey, the 2018 First Place winner in the Master’s category and Jonathan Walker, the 2015 First Place winner. As the winner, Zanella will be awarded $2,000 research travel grant. “We are very proud of Paola,” said Prof. Mavris, Director of ASDL and Zanella's PhD advisor. “She is an excellent student and the way she effectively synthesized and communicated her work during the 3MT competition exemplifies this.”

Another ASDL PhD student, Darshan Sarojini, was also a finalist with his presentation on "Analysis and Optimization of Complex 3-D Structures Through Dimensional Reduction to 1-D Models". We congratulate both of them for their great achievement and wish them all the best for the remainder of their PhD journey!

Click here to read about the story on the Georgia Tech AE website.

Sublett Wins Zarem Award

Aerospace Engineering PhD Student Johnie Sublett has been recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as one of the two recipients of the Abe M. Zarem Award for Distinguished Achievement for this year. This award recognizes graduate students in aeronautics and astronautics who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in their field and who are pursuing graduate degrees.

Sublett won the Zarem astronautics award for “Design and Testing of a Fault-tolerant Space Suit.” He also won first place in the graduate portion of the student paper competition at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, held 21–25 October in Washington, D.C. Sublett has always been fascinated by complex problems and smart engineering solutions. He is working on fault-tolerant space suits that can protect astronauts from many of the puncture risks associated with planetary surface operations.

“The School of Aerospace Engineering and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) are proud of Johnie,” commented Prof. Dimitri Mavris, director of ASDL. “The Zarem award is a prestigious recognition and it is well deserved!”

For more information, click here to see the AIAA press release.

ASDL Students Become Finalists in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition


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Two Ph.D. students at ASDL, Darshan Sarojini and Paola Zanella, were selected to compete at the final round of Georgia Tech's version of the 3MT Competition. 3MT originated at The University of Queensland, Australia, as an academic research communication competition and has spread to campuses around the world. Since 2015, Georgia Tech’s competition has helped graduate students hone their communication skills by challenging them to share their research in three minutes in a way anyone could understand.

The finals will take place on Thursday, Nov. 14, from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Global Learning Center Amphitheater on Tech’s campus. During the finals, 18 graduate students will compete and be challenged to talk about their research in three minutes in an engaging way that anyone can understand. The winners will receive research travel grants ranging from $500-$2,000 in PhD and Master's categories.

Ms. Zanella's talk is on "Mitigation of Helicopter Accidents Related to Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness" and Mr. Sarojini's talk is on "Analysis and Optimization of Complex 3-D Structures Through Dimensional Reduction to 1-D Models". "I hope my thesis enables faster aircraft design optimizing for both weight and safety.", says Mr. Sarojini. "Lower weight will lead to less fuel burn and lower emissions."

We congratulate both of our students and wish them the best of luck in the finals. Click here for more information on the 3MT Competition.

ASDL Delegation Attends NATO AVT-RSY-323 Research Symposium


ASDL Director Prof. Dimitri Mavris and Research Engineer Dr. Gokcin Cinar attended the NATO AVT-RSY-323 Research Symposium on Hybrid/Electric Aero-Propulsion Systems for Military Applications and the 44th AVT Panel Business Meeting Week held on October 7-11 in Trondheim, Norway. According to the meeting announcement published by the AVT-RSY-323 Programme Committee, "the objective of this Research Symposium is to convene an international array of scientists and engineers together with other important stakeholders with intent to cover aspects associated with the design, qualification/certification and operation of future aircraft utilising hybrid/electric and coupled aero-propulsion technologies. The context is to familiarise all participants with what technical aspects should be considered when aiming to create effective, efficient and agile NATO aerial vehicles." Prof. Mavris is also a member of the AVT-RSY-323 Technical Programme Committee.

Prof. Mavris and Dr. Cinar presented two research papers at the Research Symposium:

  • A Framework for Electrified Propulsion Architecture and Operation Analysis
  • Multi-mission Performance Optimisation of Hybrid-Electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

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ASDL Delegation Attends International Astronautical Congress


ASDL sent a small delegation to attend the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington, DC in October. This event is the global forum for the space community and features a large technical program, exhibit, and a number of associated events including the Space Generation Congress, the International Institute of Space Law, and International Academy of Astronautics. IAC is hosted by a different country each year; this year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics organized it. The event was last held in the United States in 2002 so it was a great opportunity to highlight U.S. space-related research and activities.

Research Engineer Dr. Bradford Robertson and students Manuel J. Diaz, Eugina Mendez-Ramos, and Katherine McBrayer participated in the IAC and presented two ASDL papers:

  • A Network Flow-based Formulation to Optimize Campaign Alternatives for a Reference Lunar Surface Base. IAC-19-D1.4B1,x52183.
  • A Conceptual Design Study for an Unmanned, Reusable Cargo Lunar Lander. IAC-19-D2.4.10,x52270.

For more information about the IAC, visit

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ASSESS Initiative Announces a Strategic Collaboration with ASDL


ASSESS Initiative recently announced a strategic collaboration with ASDL. This strategic collaboration is focused on fostering broader use of “systems thinking”, systems modeling & simulation and detailed simulation of Sub-Systems to enable a viable path to development and deployment of commercial grade Digital Twin(s). This strategic collaboration will bring together the resources of the ASSESS Initiative and ASDL to significantly increase the use and benefit of Engineering Simulation. Some of the planed activities in this collaboration include:

  • Strong presence of ASDL at the ASSESS 2019 Congress
    • Three attendees including the renowned Dr. Mavris
    • Platinum sponsorship
  • ASSESS Theme Workshops hosted by ASDL
    • Integration of Systems Simulation and detailed Sub-System Simulations
    • Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s)
  • Other activities to be mutually agreed

ASDL is always looking for collaborators to help advance the state of the art in systems thinking, design of complex systems, and engineering simulation,” said Dr. Dimitri Mavris, S.P. Langley NIA Distinguished Regents Professor and Director of ASDL. “In the ASSESS Initiative, we have found a great partner and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

School of Aerospace Engineering Ranked No. 2 in U.S. News Undergrad Rankings


All of Georgia Tech's undergraduate engineering programs are ranked in the top four of their respective disciplines by U.S. News & World Report. The School of Aerospace Engineering was ranked No. 2 and College of Engineering tied for 4th overall among engineering schools. The U.S. News rankings are one indicator of the quality of a program and institution, as stated by the College of Engineering. Click here for more information and the rankings of other engineering fields at Georgia Tech!

ASDL Team Comes 2nd in the AIAA Graduate Team Missile System Design Competition

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recently announced that an ASDL team won second prize in the AIAA Graduate Team Missile System Design competition. Ryan Ogilvie, Casey Wilson, Jeffrey Pattison, Rahul Rameshbabu, Andrew Van Zwieten, and William Craver were members of the team that designed SLIM JIM: Strategic Long-Range Intercontinental Missile for Joint Interest in MAD. “AIAA’s Design Competitions are more than winning a prize—they help students solve real-life problems and prepare them to make a difference in the aerospace community,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “On behalf of AIAA, I congratulate them for a job well done!” ASDL director Prof. Dimitri Mavris noted, “Being involved in design competitions like those organized by AIAA is a great learning experience for students. ASDL has a long history of entering teams in this competition—we have participated for 18 years and placed first 16 times. We are proud of our students who participate and are happy to see them get recognized for their efforts.” The SLIM JIM Team is advised by Prof. Mavris and Dr. Bradford Robertson.

Click here for the AIAA announcement

Congratulations to the ASDL Students that Passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations for Fall 2019!


ASDL is proud to announce that the following AE students in our lab have passed the PhD qualifying examinations:

Gabriel Achour
Alexander Braafladt
Joshua Brooks
Domitille Commun
Samantha Corrado
Chloe Downs
Xiaoshu Fei
Michael Herman
Hunter Johnston
Eugene Mangortey
Nate Omoarebun
Barbara Sampaio Felix
Jimmy Tang
Jiajie “Terry” Wen
Wenxin Zhang

Former Graduate Student, Gen. James McConville, Sworn in as Army’s Top Officer


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General James C. McConville took over as the Army’s top officer August 9. He replaces Gen. Mark A. Milley, who was confirmed in July as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. McConville, MSAE '90, was a former graduate student of Prof. Mavris and Prof. Schrage. The program he was in officially became ASDL 2 years after he graduated. McConville praised the professors he studied under in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, especially Daniel Schrage and Dimitri Mavris. “They were great mentors and coaches, and very committed to the development of their students,” he said.

Dr. Mavris and his family were present at the ceremony where Gen. James McConville assumed responsibility as the 40th Army Chief of Staff. “Even when Gen. McConville was a master’s student, we knew he would go far,” said Dr. Mavris, Director of ASDL. “Throughout his distinguished career, he has demonstrated an exemplary level of commitment and service to our country. We are confident he is the best man for the job and that he will excel at leading and preparing the Army for the future.”

Click here to read more on this story.
Click here to watch the ceremony shared by the U.S. Army Twitter account.

ASDL Welcomes Incoming Graduate Students


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Next week, 43 students coming from around the world will join the ASDL family. We congratulate and welcome our new family members, and hope to meet them in the ASDL Orientation next week!

Here is a snapshot of the incoming class:

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Click here for a list of incoming students and countries and schools they'll represent!

ASDL Hosts Visiting Master's Student


This past March, ASDL welcomed Yoann Le Lamer, a visiting Master’s student from Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse. Since then, Yoann has been working with research engineers and students at ASDL. His research has developed methods for finding a shock-free design subspace for boundary layer-ingesting (BLI) aircraft conceptual design. In early design of novel aircraft configurations, high fidelity analyses such as CFD are often required to capture key physics of the concept. A key challenge is the computational cost of such analyses. The research focused on aero-propulsion design of a BLI aircraft with an engine nacelle mounted behind the fuselage. Bayesian adaptive sampling techniques were developed to minimize the use of CFD while finding the boundaries in design space where shock waves appear in the inlet. The research tested whether classification and prediction of shock-free inlets can be used to focus early design to regions of efficient power or fuel consumption.

At the end of his 5-month-long visit, Yoann gave a presentation about his work to ASDL director Dr. Dimitri Mavris as well as students and research faculty in the lab.

"We are very proud of his progress during his time here and we wish to continue our collaboration. We wish him the best of luck with his career!", said Dr. Mavris.

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Dimitri Mavris Named Director of PMASE Program


Prof. Dimitri Mavris, director of ASDL, has been named the Director of Georgia Tech’s Professional Master’s in Applied Systems Engineering (PMASE) program, effective July 1, 2019. PMASE is a two-year program that consists of six core courses on systems engineering fundamentals, modeling and simulation, SysML, and system design. An additional four courses provide a specialization in complex systems. The program’s hybrid format blends face-to-face instruction and online learning, enabling PMASE students to work full time while earning a two-year advanced degree.

Click here for full announcement
Click here for more information about PMASE

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