Astrodynamics: Orbit and Attitude Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft

Research in the area of orbit and attitude dynamics and control of spacecraft is focused on the translational and rotational motion of orbiting spacecraft, and the control necessary to force a desired behavior, as well as the supporting modeling and simulation necessary to analyze these systems.

Key Faculty:

Research Focus Areas

  • Theoretical and Applied Astrodynamics
  • Space Situational Awareness
  • Optimal Satellite Reorientation
  • Continuous-Thrust Trajectory Optimization
  • High-Accuracy Orbit Determination
  • Space Mission Design and Engineering
  • Aerospace Systems Design Optimization
  • Space Flight Engineering

Astrodynamics Research Group of Penn State

The Astrodynamics Research Group of Penn State (ARGoPS) is a research lab associated with Penn State’s aerospace engineering department. Established in 2017, ARGoPS was formed to strengthen and exhibit the collaborative astrodynamics research environment that Penn State has to offer. Research areas include all of astrodynamics, such as orbital and attitude motion of Earth satellites, interplanetary mission design, spacecraft situational awareness, orbit determination, and trajectory optimization.

More information can be found on the ARGoPS website.



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