Photo of Robert Melton

Robert Melton



  • Aerospace Engineering

229B Hammond Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Astrodynamics, Vehicle Dynamics and Controls

Interest Areas:

Astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, spacecraft design, trajectory optimization.




  • BS, Physics (cum laude), Wake Forest University, 1976
  • MS, Physics, University of Virginia, 1979
  • Ph D, Engineering Physics, University of Virginia, 1982


Journal Articles

  • Dario Spiller, Robert G Melton and Fabio Curti, 2018, "Inverse Dynamics Particle Swarm optimization applied to constrained minimum-time maneuvers using reaction wheels", Journal of Aerospace Science and Technology, 75
  • Seung Pil Kim and Robert G Melton, 2015, "Constrained Station Relocation in Geostationary Equatorial Orbit Using a Legendre Pseudospectral Method", Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 38, (4), pp. 711-719
  • Robert G Melton, 2014, "Maximum-Likelihood Estimation Optimizer for Constrained, Time-Optimal Satellite Reorientation", Acta Astronautica, 103, pp. 185-192
  • Robert G Melton, 2014, "Hybrid methods for determining time-optimal, constrained spacecraft reorientation maneuvers", Acta Astronautica, 94, (1), pp. 294-301
  • Robert G Melton, 2012, "Numerical Analysis of Constrained, Time-Optimal Satellite Reorientation", Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2012
  • B. M. Yutko and Robert G Melton, 2010, "Optimizing Spacecraft Reorientation Maneuvers Using a Pseudospectral Method", Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Sciences and Applications, 2, (1), pp. 1-14
  • Robert G Melton, 2009, "Constrained Time-Optimal Slewing Maneuvers for Rigid Spacecraft", Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 135, pp. 107-126
  • P.-S. Hur, Robert G Melton and D. B. Spencer, 2008, "Meeting Science Requirements for Attitude Determination and Control in a Low-Power, Spinning Nanosatellite", Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Science, and Applications, 1, (1), pp. 25-33
  • M. A. Wissler, D. B. Spencer and Robert G Melton, 2007, "Coast-Arc Orbit Stability During Spiral-Down Trajectories about Irregularly Shaped Bodies", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
  • W. Chadwick, D. B. Spencer and Robert G Melton, 2006, "Geometric Visibility of Ground Sites for Beacon/Relays on the Martian Moons", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
  • D. B. Spencer, Robert G Melton and S. G. Chianese, 2006, "Selecting Projects for a Capstone Spacecraft Design Course From Real World Solicitations", Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research
  • S. G. Bilen, C. R. Philbrick, T. F. Wheeler, J. D. Matthews, Robert G Melton and D. B. Spencer, 2006, "An Overview of Space Science and Engineering Education at Penn State", IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Magazine

Conference Proceedings

  • Robert G Melton, 2012, "Hybrid Method for Constrained Time-Optimal Spacecraft Reorientation Maneuvers", Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 143
  • Robert G Melton, 2012, "Hybrid Methods for Determining Time-Optimal, Constrained Spacecraft Reorientation Maneuvers", Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 145

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Adviser Award, AIAA, January 2011
  • Sustained Service Award, AIAA, January 2010
  • Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching, Pennsylvania State University, 2006
  • Lawrence J. Perez memorial Student Advocate Award, College of Engineering, Penn State Univ., 2001
  • Special Service Citation, AIAA, 1995
  • Premier Teaching Award, College of Engineering, Penn State Univ., 1992
  • Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986
  • Outstanding Advising Award, College of Engineering, Penn State Univ., 1986
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Engineering, Penn State Univ., 1985


Service to Penn State:

Service to External Organizations:




The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569