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Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering - Research & Technology
MAE Research Centers

The following Research Centers are organized by the MAE Department.

  • Center for Materials Research (CMR)
    The Center for Materials Sciences and Engineering provides a focus for research and education in Materials Science and Engineering at NPS. Research projects span the range from basic research sponsored by the NSF to applied work on microelectronics reliability sponsor by Intel Corp. through the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the Army Research Office (ARO). Also, projects include advanced processing of Naval materials sponsored by DARPA.
    [View more at the Center for Materials Research website.
  • Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research (CAVR)
    The primary goal of the NPS Center for AUV Research is to educate Navy and USMC officer students in the development and use of technologies needed for unmanned underwater vehicles through coursework, thesis and dissertation research. The secondary goal of the Center is to advance Naval UUV operations by providing: Support to the Fleet, Navy Labs and Program Offices, Testing and Experimentation of Advanced Technologies, Independent Verification and Validation of UUV Concepts, and Innovative Concept Development. Research is conducted into topics falling in the following broad areas: Underwater Navigation, Control and Communication; Tactical Decision Aids; Collaborative Multi-Vehicle Operations; Obstacle Avoidance (OA) using Forward Look Sonar; and Common UUV Mission Description Language.
    [View more at the Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research website.]
  • Turbo Propulsion Laboratory
    The Turbopropulsion Laboratory houses a unique collection of experimental facilities for research and development related to compressors, turbines and advanced air-breathing propulsion engine concepts. In a complex of specially designed concrete structures, one building, powered by a 750 HP compressor, contains 10 by 60 inch rectilinear and 4 to 8 foot diameter radial cascade wind tunnels, and a large 3-stage axial research compressor for low speed studies. A two-component, automated traverse, LDV system is available for CFD code verification experiments. A second building, powered by a 1250 HP compressed air plant, contains fully instrumented transonic turbine and compressor rigs in explosion proof test cells. A spin-pit for structural testing of rotors to 50,000 RPM and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit is provided. Model experiments and equipment for instrumentation development are located in a separate laboratory. Data acquisition from 400 channels of steady state and 32 channels of non-steady measurements, at up to 200kHz, is controlled by the laboratory's Pentium workstations. A third building houses a 600 HP radial and 150 HP boost compressor capable of delivering 2000 scfm of air at 10 and 20 atmospheres respectively. These charge four tanks for blow-down to a supersonic wind tunnel (4 x 4 inches), a transonic cascade wind tunnel (2 x 3 inches), and two free jets (one 6 inch and one 1 inch in diameter). The large free jet is equipped with an instrumented thrust stand for the testing of small gas turbine engines. The building also houses a 3-inch diameter shock tube. Pressure measurements are made with a 96-channel Scanivalve ZOC system and pressure sensitive paint, and schlieren and shadowgraph techniques are used routinely.
  • Spacecraft Research and Design Center
    The Spacecraft Research and Design Center at the Naval Postgraduate School consists of six state-of-the art laboratories: Fltsatcom Laboratory, Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control Laboratory, Smart Structures laboratory, Spacecraft Design Center, NPS-AFRL Optical Relay Mirror Spacecraft Laboratory, and Satellite Servicing Laboratory. These laboratories are used for instruction and research in space system engineering and space operations curricula. The emphasis has been on providing students with hands-on experience in the design, analysis, and testing of space systems and systems and to provide students facilities for experimental research. The emphasis in the research h areas is on acquisition, tracking and pointing of flexible spacecraft with optical payloads; active vibration control, Isolation, and suppression using smart structures; space robotics, satellite servicing, space system design, and computer aided design tools. These laboratories has been used in joint projects with Naval Satellite Operational Center, NRL, AFRL, Columbia University, and Boeing.
    [View more at the Spacecraft Research and Design Center website.]
  • Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Center
    The Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Center, founded in 2001, is constantly working on different challenging projects, providing a wide variety of thesis opportunities in the different areas such as: Conceptual Design, CFD Analysis, Computer Modeling, Image Processing, Control Design, Sensor Integration, and others. Depending on student skills and desire, he or she may be involved in rigorous computer simulations, hardware-in-the-loop simulations and real field tests of different parachute- and parafoil-based payload delivery systems in Marina airport, McMillan airfield and at the Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, AZ.
    [View more at the Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Center website.]

  • Control & Optimization Laboratories
    The Control and Optimization Laboratories focuses on research involving the development and application of advanced mathematical concepts to solving practical problems arising in the guidance, navigation, control and optimization of various dynamical systems. Our long-term research goals are to develop applicable techniques for the control of complex nonlinear systems. A new revolutionary approach to solving dynamic optimization problems is the main focus of our research effort. Legendre, Chebyshev and Sinc pseudospectral methods are at the core of solving nonsmooth dynamic optimization problems. The research efforts are conducted in our four laboratories.
    [View more at the Control & Optimization Laboratories website.]

  • Center for Survivability & Lethality
    This Center was "re-established" to look at a wide range of topics in both survivability and lethality (To thwart, withstand, and counter attacks against the United States and its allies by establishing survivability and lethality as an integrated engineering design process throughout all engineering and analysis disciplines).

    The CSL brings together faculty and students with expertise in a wide range of technical fields, such as survivability, sensors, weapons, radar, infrared and radar signatures, warhead design, ship shock, electronic warfare, weaponeering, operations analyses, and system engineering, to focus on making U.S. platforms (such as submarines, surface ships, ground vehicles, fixed and rotary wing aircraft, UAVs, and space assets), infrastructure (such as airports, power plants, chemical depots, and transportation centers), and personnel more survivable, as well as making our current and future weapon systems more lethal to the enemy.
    [View more at the Center for Survivability & Lethality website.]

MAE Research Laboratories

MAE Laboratories are designed as complements to the educational mission and research interests of the department. In addition to extensive facilities for the support of student and faculty research, a variety of general use equipment is available.

  • Unmanned Systems Lab/Center
  • CAD/CAE Computer Lab
  • Fluid Mechanics Combined Labs
  • Technical Support Facility
  • Materials Lab
  • Propulsion Lab
  • Structural Dynamics Lab
  • Thermal Engineering Labs
  • Ship Systems Engineering (TSSE) Lab
  • Astro-Engineering Lab

Click here to view more information about MAE Research Labs.


Research Project Summaries:

Research Briefs:

Student Theses Abstracts:

NPS Center for AUV Research Showcase Autonomous Vehicles
NPS Center for AUV Research Showcase Autonomous Vehicles -- Professor Tony Healey (second from left) and Cmdr. Doug Horner (left) co-principal investigators for the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for AUV Research showcase some of the autonomous vehicles that will be deployed in an upcoming field experiment.

Alum Astronaut Phones from International Space Station
Alum Astronaut Phones from International Space Station -- From 210 miles above earth, NPS alum and current ISS Commander Navy Capt. Michael Lopez-Alegria, thrilled an audience of students, faculty, staff and their kids April 5. Pictured above eight-year old Mark and nine-year old Julianne asked Lopez-Alegria what it’s like to float and what do stars look like from the space. Lopez-Alegria did one better. He tumbled himself like a whirling dervish and then told Julianne that when they are on the far side of Earth, away from the sun, there are so many billions-of-stars that it’s more like seeing a whitish background with little black specks!

NPS Professor’s Software Breakthrough - Allows Zero-Propellant ISS Maneuvers
NPS Professor’s Software Breakthrough - Allows Zero-Propellant ISS Maneuvers -- Naval Postgraduate School Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering I. Michael Ross briefs NPS Space Systems Academic Group students on NASA’s use of his optimal control software to maneuver the International Space Station cost-free, without the need to use thrusters and expend valuable fuel.


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