mirror performance. These MEMS deformable mirrors can play key roles in wavefront control systems on larger space telescopes to enable high contrast exoplanet imaging. »» FLARE (Free-space Lasercom and Radiation Experiment): FLARE is part of AFRL’s University Nanosatellite Program 9, and will fly two 3U CubeSats, containing both a laser communications transmitter and receiver as well as an energetic particle spectrometer. We will collaborate with Professor Paulo Lozano in the Space Propulsion Laboratory on FLARE’s thruster system. Bigger Space Telescopes for Exoplanet Science »» Professor Cahoy and graduate students in STAR Lab are supporting larger space telescopes for exoplanet science, including MIT’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), led by Dr. George Ricker. We are part of the science investigation team for the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission, which will have a wavefront control system and an internal coronagraph on a Hubble-sized space telescope. We also support exoplanet mission science and technology definition teams, such as Exo-C and HabEx. The STAR Lab is directed by Professor Kerri Cahoy. Visit the STAR Lab at starlab.mit.edu Strategic Engineering Research Group Strategic Engineering is the process of architecting and designing complex systems and products in a way that deliberately accounts for future uncertainty and context in order to maximize their lifecycle value. SERG focuses on research and teaching of Systems Engineering for long-lived systems with lifetimes of decades or in some cases, centuries.
In the area of human space exploration and settlement we are a leading laboratory in systems analysis and campaign planning. Our SpaceNet software environment has been used for modeling and simulation of future space exploration campaigns going back to the NASA Constellation program and more recently the Evolvable Mars Campaign. SpaceNet 2.5r is available under a GNU open license and performs detailed network and trajectory analysis, propulsion and logistics calculations and feasibility checks for proposed campaigns. HabNet is a new space habitation modeling and simulation environment that quantifies the flow of resources such as water, gases, propellants, foods, spares, and crew through closed or semi-closed habitat systems. The framework allows the conduct of technology sensitivity analysis for environmental control and life support systems as well as in-situ resource utilization. Our publications in the 2015-2016 timeframe include the feasibility analysis of the proposed MarsOne one-way campaign to Mars, which was the most-downloaded article at MIT’s DSpace repository and has led to over 500 media stories. We also developed and presented a proposal at NASA HQ for use of lunar produced propellants as an enabler of sustained human Mars campaigns with up to 68 percent mass savings compared to the current NASA Design Reference Architecture 5.0 campaign. SERG also studies the future of infrastructure systems on Earth including multimodal transportation networks, water supply systems, electrical networks and agricultural systems. In 2015-2016 we published a new Generalized Multi-Commodity Network Flow approach that optimizes systems where multiple types of interacting flows exist. Our future work will incorporate distributed satellite missions for earth science with network-based systems design under uncertainty, as well as the modular design of platform-based systems for future aerospace and defense applications. Awards and recognitions received in 2015-2016 include a Reviewer’s Favorite Choice Award at the ICED 2015 Conference, a Best Paper at the Annual Simulation Symposium at SpringSim’16, and a Best Paper Award at the 26th INCOSE International Symposium.
Published on Nov 18, 2016
Annual magazine review of MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department research and educational initiatives.