Systems Design & Optimization

Photo of someone holding a miniature, rocket shaped model.


The AE Systems Design and Optimization (SDO) group focuses on synthesis, analysis, and optimization of aeronautical and space vehicles as well as other complex systems in domains including energy, naval engineering, air transportation, and logistics. In the area of space vehicles, the SDO group has strong capabilities in planetary entry descent and landing (EDL), astrodynamics, space situational awareness and sensing, small satellite design for innovative science missions, space transportation architectures, and launch vehicle design. In the area of aeronautical vehicles, the SDO group works in the design and optimization of commercial transport aircraft, rotorcraft, and gas turbines aircraft engines, and in assessing fleet-level air transportation economics and emissions. The group also focuses on the evaluation of the impact of new technologies on enhancing the feasibility and value of aerospace vehicles and missions and on understanding and improving the robustness of proposed aerospace vehicle design concepts.


The SDO group leads a broad variety of research projects for government agencies including NASA, FAA, AFRL, and ONR as well as all most prime contractors and subsystem suppliers in the U.S. and European aerospace industry. SDO faculty are widely recognized as thought leaders in the field of aerospace vehicle design, analysis, and operations and serve on multiple government and industry boards and committees.


The SDO group maintains facilities associated with the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), the Space Systems Design Laboratory (SSDL), and the Integrated Product and Lifecycle Engineering (IPLE) Laboratory. Facilities in ASDL are available for interactive computational design, including the Collaborative Visualization Environment (CoVE) which consists of a large visualization wall, multiple high-performance workstations, and equipment for subject matter expert information elicitation.

The Collaborative Design Environment (CoDE) consists of a large display wall with stereoscopic projection for 3-D visualization. ASDL also maintains a UAV laboratory that is the basis for a highly-successful lineage of participation in AIAA and SAE undergraduate design-build-fly competitions and the Adaptive Design Prototyping and Testing Laboratory (ADePT) for autonomous air, sea, and ground vehicles. The IPLE Laboratory comprises multiple high-performance workstations for Computer Aided Engineering (CAE).

The SSDL faculty maintain facilities associated with the Center for Space Systems including the Flight Hardware Laboratory Clean Room, and a tracking station and mission control room for cubesat and university nanosat spaceflight projects including RECONSO, Prox-1, SPORE, and LightSail, as well as the Georgia Tech Space Objects Research Telescope (GT-SORT).