ARGoPS holds first-ever astrodynamics research symposium


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The newly formed Astrodynamics Research Group of Penn State (ARGoPS) held its first-ever ARGoPS Research Symposium in November on the University Park campus.

More than 25 people attended the symposium, which provided the opportunity for astrodynamics researchers in academia, industry and government to share their knowledge on a wide range of topics with undergraduate and graduate students in the Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering. Guest speakers and presenting organizations included faculty and graduate students from the department, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), KinetX, Inc., a. i. solutions, Air Force Research Laboratory and The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

“This event was a major success,” said Jason Reiter, Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering and ARGoPS student program manager. “It provided our graduate students with a unique opportunity to present their research and network with industry representatives in a laid-back environment. Everyone received a lot of positive feedback from our guests, and our students made industry contacts that will hopefully help propel them into successful careers in the aerospace industry."

Two highlights for the undergraduate student attendees were class lectures by David Vallado, senior research astrodynamicist at AGI, and Jim McAdams, senior mission design engineer at KinetX. Vallado gave a talk titled “Is My Geosynchronous Satellite Going to Be a Hit” to the AERSP 309 class, and McAdams spoke about “KinetX Mission Involvement” to the AERSP 401A class.

“I am proud of our students for helping to put this event together,” said David Spencer, professor of aerospace engineering and ARGoPS co-director. “This was a high-quality technical workshop, and it gave our students and guests a better understanding of each other’s research work. Our students benefited tremendously from the opportunity to get feedback on their work and to see how what they are doing can be applied to real-world problems.”

ARGoPS is a research lab associated with the aerospace engineering department and was formed in 2017 to strengthen and exhibit the collaborative astrodynamics research environment at Penn State.


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Chris Spallino



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.

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