Skip Navigation...

 

Research Topics

 

Below is a list of research topics supported by the AFRL. Use the filters and keyword search below to find research topics of interest. You can apply for up to 3 topics on your application.


   

 

Scholars are encouraged to contact any mentors whose projects they find of interest. To contact the mentor, use the link included at the conclusion of each project description.

 

Advanced Array Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jessica Lynn Buckner, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
As the power needs for spacecraft increase, so does the need for new materials for the space solar arrays. These new materials cover a wide range of applications including; solar cell coverglass, fracture resistant solder, lightweight electrical connections and other novel materials that will expand capabilities of solar arrays. Improvements in the mechanical and optical properties including; transparency, strength, fracture toughness, radiation tolerance, thermal stability and density are necessary to the demanding requirements of both commercial and military needs.  The space environment imposes significant constraints to materials, due to the effects of radiation, large temperature gradients, and constant thermal cycling -tens of thousands over the lifetime of a spacecraft. This in conjunction with the need to reduce weight and volume make it imperative that advanced materials are developed, which can further improve the reliability and capacity of traditional array components. This project will utilize advanced equipment at the AFRL facility to include SEM, AFM, XRD, thermal cycler, MTS test fixture, and spectrometer in order to characterize new materials and correlate microstructural features to mechanical and optical behavior.
Contact mentor

Advanced Attitude and Pose Estimation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The multiplicative extended Kalman filter (MEKF) is typically used to process sensor data to determine the attitude or pose (position and attitude) of spacecraft; however, the MEKF assumes that the attitude error is small. In cases where the attitude uncertainty is large, which can be the case when lower-cost and –quality sensors are used, or when part of a sensor suite fails, the assumption that the attitude error is small can lead to poor performance of the filter. This topic seeks to explore improvements to the MEKF, as well as the development of novel attitude and pose estimators that can operate accurately in the presence of large attitude uncertainty. Potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor for more information, as well as to discuss specific research ideas for the summer.
Contact mentor

Advanced Attitude and Pose Estimation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The multiplicative extended Kalman filter (MEKF) is typically used to process sensor data to determine the attitude or pose (position and attitude) of spacecraft; however, the MEKF assumes that the attitude error is small. In cases where the attitude uncertainty is large, which can be the case when lower-cost and –quality sensors are used, or when part of a sensor suite fails, the assumption that the attitude error is small can lead to poor performance of the filter. This topic seeks to explore improvements to the MEKF, as well as the development of novel attitude and pose estimators that can operate accurately in the presence of large attitude uncertainty. Potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor for more information, as well as to discuss specific research ideas for the summer.
Contact mentor

Advanced Attitude and Pose Estimation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The multiplicative extended Kalman filter (MEKF) is typically used to process sensor data to determine the attitude or pose (position and attitude) of spacecraft; however, the MEKF assumes that the attitude error is small. In cases where the attitude uncertainty is large, which can be the case when lower-cost and –quality sensors are used, or when part of a sensor suite fails, the assumption that the attitude error is small can lead to poor performance of the filter. This topic seeks to explore improvements to the MEKF, as well as the development of novel attitude and pose estimators that can operate accurately in the presence of large attitude uncertainty. Potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor for more information, as well as to discuss specific research ideas for the summer.
Contact mentor

Advanced Electro-Optical Characterization Methods for Multijunction Solar Cells
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Kyle H Montgomery, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project encompasses a wide variety of electrical and optical characterization methods for multijunction solar cells used for space applications. Common tools include dark current-voltage, light current-voltage using advanced solar simulators, quantum efficiency, photoluminescence, electroluminescence, and more. Your work will focus on learning about current characterization methods and then developing new methods or test plans using current equipment, or to propose for new equipment. One potential example is developing a software-based lock-in amplifier for ultrafast quantum efficiency measurements. Other specific projects will be reviewed before starting the summer.
Contact mentor

Advanced Guidance and Control Law Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Due to the high cost of space systems, the ability to inspect, service, and repair/refuel these systems on-orbit is highly desireable.  Such missions require precise control of spacecraft motion to ensure mission objectives are met (e.g., imaging parameters, relative velocity constraints for docking, etc.), which is dependent on the closed-loop guidance algorithms used to ensure the vehicle completed the required mission within the defined constraints.  This topic seeks to develop improved guidance algorithms that provide improved robustness and performance in the face of systemic uncertainties (e.g., modeling errors), are adaptive to such errors to enable peformance in spite of errors, provide solutions for mission assurance and mission safety (e.g., fail-safe qualities), enable efficient use of spacecraft resources (fuel, power, etc.), and are reconfigurable based on shifting mission priorities.
Contact mentor

Advanced Guidance and Control Law Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Due to the high cost of space systems, the ability to inspect, service, and repair/refuel these systems on-orbit is highly desireable.  Such missions require precise control of spacecraft motion to ensure mission objectives are met (e.g., imaging parameters, relative velocity constraints for docking, etc.), which is dependent on the closed-loop guidance algorithms used to ensure the vehicle completed the required mission within the defined constraints.  This topic seeks to develop improved guidance algorithms that provide improved robustness and performance in the face of systemic uncertainties (e.g., modeling errors), are adaptive to such errors to enable peformance in spite of errors, provide solutions for mission assurance and mission safety (e.g., fail-safe qualities), enable efficient use of spacecraft resources (fuel, power, etc.), and are reconfigurable based on shifting mission priorities.
Contact mentor

Advanced Guidance and Control Law Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Due to the high cost of space systems, the ability to inspect, service, and repair/refuel these systems on-orbit is highly desirable.  Such missions require precise control of spacecraft motion to ensure mission objectives are met (e.g., imaging parameters, relative velocity constraints for docking, etc.), which is dependent on the closed-loop guidance algorithms used to ensure the vehicle completed the required mission within the defined constraints.  This topic seeks to develop improved guidance algorithms that provide improved robustness and performance in the face of systemic uncertainties (e.g., modeling errors), are adaptive to such errors to enable performance in spite of errors, provide solutions for mission assurance and mission safety (e.g., fail-safe qualities), enable efficient use of spacecraft resources (fuel, power, etc.), and are reconfigurable based on shifting mission priorities.
Contact mentor

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques for Spacecraft Fabrication
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Haug, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Recently, the field of additive manufacturing has advanced quickly where many systems are being used in personal, commercial, and operational settings.  The majority of research efforts are currently focusing on the development and advancement of systems and processes for single-class material systems such as systems for metals, thermoplastics, or conductive inks.  These systems are rapidly improving in their ability to produce consistent, high-quality parts using a single material class and have demonstrated mass saving through part optimization beyond the capability of traditional subtractive fabrication approaches as well as significant cost savings by reducing material waste, fabrication time, and engineering design time.  
Much of the research performed to date is on single material systems; however, there are a number of advantages that can be envisioned by moving to multi-material systems capable of combining structurally relevant materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP), with dielectric and conductive materials to produce components or systems with integrated functions.  An example would be a structural panel or electronics enclosure with integrated antennas, wiring, sensors (i.e. strain gauges, temperature sensors, etc.), and/or heater elements. This topic will explore the capabilities and limitations of integrating multi-material additive manufacturing systems together to fabricate structures or other components with integrated functionality and will include design, fabrication, assembly, and testing of components.
Contact mentor

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques for Spacecraft Fabrication
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Haug, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Recently, the field of additive manufacturing has advanced quickly where many systems are being used in personal, commercial, and operational settings.  The majority of research efforts are currently focusing on the development and advancement of systems and processes for single-class material systems such as systems for metals, thermoplastics, or conductive inks.  These systems are rapidly improving in their ability to produce consistent, high-quality parts using a single material class and have demonstrated mass saving through part optimization beyond the capability of traditional subtractive fabrication approaches as well as significant cost savings by reducing material waste, fabrication time, and engineering design time.  
Much of the research performed to date is on single material systems; however, there are a number of advantages that can be envisioned by moving to multi-material systems capable of combining structurally relevant materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP), with dielectric and conductive materials to produce components or systems with integrated functions.  An example would be a structural panel or electronics enclosure with integrated antennas, wiring, sensors (i.e. strain gauges, temperature sensors, etc.), and/or heater elements. This topic will explore the capabilities and limitations of integrating multi-material additive manufacturing systems together to fabricate structures or other components with integrated functionality and will include design, fabrication, assembly, and testing of components.
Contact mentor

Advanced Satellite Navigation Concepts
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Madeleine Naudeau, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Advanced GPS Technologies (AGT) program researches next generation satellite navigation (SatNav).  Research areas include: advanced SatNav signals and signal exploitation, spacecraft SatNav payloads, and SatNav control systems.  Technology areas include:  digital and RF signal processing, software defined radios, RF signal generation and broadcast, encryption, and command and control technologies.  Research is performed both in a simulated environment and in the laboratory.
The AGT program is developing new SatNav concepts.  These concepts need to be further defined, their feasibility analyzed, and initial performance characteristics estimated before the concepts can be advanced.   An intern project would involve building a model of the concept in an appropriate environment (possibilities include Matlab, Simulink, software defined radio, etc.), calculating link budgets, estimating the size, weight, and power (SWaP) of a transmitter/receiver, estimating receiver performance in the presence of an appropriate noise model, etc.  Beneficial skills include familiarity with RF propagation, GPS signals, software defined radios, MatLab, and C++.  Ultimately, the research topic will be tailored to the intern’s interest and skill set and the nature of the new SatNav concept.
Contact mentor

Advanced Satellite Navigation Payloads
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Madeleine Naudeau, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Advanced GPS Technologies (AGT) program researches next generation satellite navigation (SatNav).  Research areas include: advanced SatNav signals and signal exploitation, spacecraft SatNav payloads, and SatNav control systems.  Technology areas include:  digital and RF signal processing, software defined radios, RF signal generation and broadcast, encryption, and command and control technologies.  Research is performed both in a simulated environment and in the laboratory.
The AGT program is testing advanced amplifiers, waveform generators, and various SatNav receivers in a laboratory environment that incorporates hostile (jamming and spoofing) signals.  The performance characteristics of these components is being measured prior to integration into a payload configuration.  An intern project would support this laboratory effort.  An intern project might involve programming a digital waveform generator with advanced signal and signal combining concepts, building an injection jammer/spoofer capability, transitioning testing from a simulated to a laboratory environment, etc.   Beneficial skills include familiarity with LabView, MatLab, GPS receivers, and RF signals and test equipment.  Ultimately, the research topic will be tailored to the intern’s interest and skill set.
Contact mentor

Advanced Satellite Navigation Payloads
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Madeleine Naudeau, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Advanced GPS Technologies (AGT) program researches next generation satellite navigation (SatNav).  Research areas include: advanced SatNav signals and signal exploitation, spacecraft SatNav payloads, and SatNav control systems.  Technology areas include:  digital and RF signal processing, software defined radios, RF signal generation and broadcast, encryption, and command and control technologies.  Research is performed both in a simulated environment and in the laboratory.
An intern project would support this laboratory effort.  An intern project might involve programming a digital waveform generator with advanced signal and signal combining concepts, building an injection jammer/spoofer capability, transitioning testing from a simulated to a laboratory environment, etc.   Beneficial skills include familiarity with LabView, MatLab, GPS receivers, and RF signals and test equipment.  Ultimately, the research topic will be tailored to the intern’s interest and skill set.
Contact mentor

Advanced Satellite Navigation Signals
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Joanna Hinks, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Space Vehicles Directorate researches next generation satellite navigation (SatNav).  Research areas include: advanced SatNav signals and signal exploitation, spacecraft SatNav payloads, and SatNav control systems.  Technology areas include:  digital and RF signal processing, software defined radios, RF signal generation and broadcast, encryption, and command and control technologies.  Research is performed both in a simulated environment and in the laboratory.
The AGT program is developing signals for the next generation SatNav systems, including GPS.  Research is ongoing both in the development of new signal (and modification of existing signals) and the development of the receiver algorithms necessary to fully exploit the advanced signal features.  An intern project would involve designing, implementing, and receiving these advanced signals in a simulation environment.  Beneficial skills include familiarity with digital signal processing techniques, software defined radios, MatLab, and C++.  Ultimately, the research topic will be tailored to the intern’s interest and skill set.
Contact mentor

Advanced Satellite Navigation Signals
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Joanna Hinks, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Space Vehicles Directorate researches next generation satellite navigation (SatNav). Research areas include: advanced SatNav signals and signal exploitation, spacecraft SatNav payloads, and SatNav control systems. Technology areas include: digital and RF signal processing, software defined radios, RF signal generation and broadcast, encryption, and command and control technologies. Research is performed both in a simulated environment and in the laboratory. The AGT program is developing signals for the next generation SatNav systems, including GPS. Research is ongoing both in the development of new signal (and modification of existing signals) and the development of the receiver algorithms necessary to fully exploit the advanced signal features. An intern project would involve designing, implementing, and receiving these advanced signals in a simulation environment. Beneficial skills include familiarity with digital signal processing techniques, software defined radios, MatLab, and C++. Ultimately, the research topic will be tailored to the intern’s interest and skill set.
Contact mentor

Advanced Solar Array Technology Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: David M Wilt, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
AFRL/RVSVP is developing advanced photovoltaic power system technologies to support space as well as ground applications.  This work includes development of advanced solar cells, solar blanket and panel technologies as well as solar arrays.  This particular topic is focused on solar array blanket, panel and array technologies.  These activities include developments that impact solar cell configuration, such as advanced semiconductor metallization, solar cell interconnect technologies, novel cover glass replacement technologies, as well as development and testing of advanced rigid panel and flexible blanket assembly technologies.  At the highest level of integration, work in this area includes collaboration with members of AFRL/RVSVS on advanced solar array development.  Specific projects can be tailored to students’ interests and skills, but will require a basic understanding of electrical, optical, mechanical and materials properties.  Students selected for this research opportunity will work with their mentor to develop a productive work plan which will be synergistic with their graduate work and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s mission.
Contact mentor

Aero-optics research
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chung-Jen John Tam, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The propagation of laser beams through turbulent flows has been an important topic with applications ranging from missile defense to target designation and tracking. The turbulent air disturbances are severe enough to severely distort the light, preventing it from properly focusing.  The study of these interactions has been described as "aero-optics".  The opportunities for the aero-optic research at AFRL include experimental studies of turbulence such as turbulent boundary layers and shear layers as well as the development of appropriate diagnostic instrumentation, and water-table visualization. Computational (CFD) opportunities also exists to design aero-optic experiments and to develop accurate aero-optic CFD solutions.
Contact mentor

Aero-optics research
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chung-Jen John Tam, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The propagation of laser beams through turbulent flows has been an important topic with applications ranging from missile defense to target designation and tracking. The turbulent air disturbances are severe enough to severely distort the light, preventing it from properly focusing.  The study of these interactions has been described as "aero-optics".  The opportunities for the aero-optic research at AFRL include experimental studies of turbulence such as turbulent boundary layers and shear layers as well as the development of appropriate diagnostic instrumentation, and water-table visualization. Computational (CFD) opportunities also exists to design aero-optic experiments and to develop accurate aero-optic CFD solutions.
Contact mentor

AFRL Maker Hub Engineer
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Malcolm Steven Reese, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate
AFRL Maker Hub is a collaborative space with the mission of creating a community where users can create, learn, explore, repair, invent, and more. Users have access to powerful tools and resources for prototyping and manufacturing to fuel their innovation.

Students will learn how to use and maintain innovative technology to include, but not limited to:
3D printers
Laser cutter/engraver
Soldering stations
Microcontrollers (Raspberry Pi, Intel Galileo, Arduino, etc.)
Graphic design software
3D CAD software

Students will be expected to design, make, and assemble several projects using the technologies listed above as well as develop experiments that will aid in learning how to use the equipment and optimize it.
Contact mentor

AFWERX Workshop Engineer (AFWERX Vegas, Nevada)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Elizabeth Escamilla, AFWERX
Location: AFWERX
Academic Level: Masters, Upper-level Undergraduate
Air Force Senior Leaders have directed that one of our Air Force's Top 5 priorities is to Drive Innovation....to Secure the Future." AFWERX is an innovative approach to grow and accelerate innovation in our Air Force for the warfighter. It will also connect innovators across industry, academia, and non-traditional contributors and accelerate results by creating more options, pathways, and pivot speed for our warfighter. AFWERX will have an intern opportunity at the AFWERX-Las Vegas HUB for the summer of 2019. The AFWERX facility is in the Hughes Center which is close to the convention center and strip in Las Vegas, NV. This position will touch different focus areas as our workshops and problem defining events this fall will shape the work that will be conducted next summer. The research focus areas that may/will apply to the summer project will include but will not be limited to: Aerospace Engineering, General Engineering and Materials Engineering. The intern will be involved in a series of technology reviews/technology scouting events that will bring forth industry, academia, small business and military experts to showcase and review future tech applications to the AF.  The intern will also help with the organization and evaluation of any open challenge initiatives, provide feedback and participate in other in-house AFWERX projects as well.
Each project will make progress in addressing Air Force gaps and initiatives through workshops/discussions/colliders with industry, academia and small businesses. The intern will bring new skills, diverse thinking and fresh perspective to promote innovation in the Air Force.
They will learn how to communicate with entrepreneurs, customers, and other participants in the AFWERX ecosystem, expanding the network and building relationships. They will be able to connect and communicate the corporate mission and quickly grasp topics or ideas without losing track of the big picture.
Contact mentor

AI- and Palm Vision-based Assembly Navigation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ron Lumia, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Using a Barrett Technology Whole Arm Manipulator (WAM) hand with a palm vision scanner and tactile sensors in the fingers, we will explore assembly navigation. The robot (and hand) will use sensors to navigate through a field of parts, use AI and vision to identify parts, use vision and tactile sensors to determine the precise orientation of parts for acquisition and placement. This capability will integrate into an impedance-based real-time ROS control system to pick and place parts in a low-volume agile manufacturing environment.
Contact mentor

Air Independent N2O Fuel Cells for Satellite Power
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Lok-kun Tsui, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles directorate seeks a graduate student intern to work on developing air and oxygen-independent fuel cells for power systems in satellites. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an attractive alternative to oxygen as an oxidant in fuel cells for space applications due to its ability to offer higher power and energy density compared to batteries. We are working to develop solid-oxide fuel cells which may be driven by N2O for use as a power source for long endurance, high power requirement satellites in support of Air Force’s satellite missions. We will perform electrochemical studies to optimize the power output of the N2O fuel cells on metal and metal oxide electrode catalysts. The possibility to use N2O as a combined fuel cell oxidant and a propellant will also be investigated.
Contact mentor

Algorithm Development and Control Testbed
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chau Ton, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This topic will focus on improving our current system by developing and enhancing holonomic, omnidirectional robots’ capabilities for algorithmic development and testing. This effort will involve the development and integration of omni-wheel directional robot with computer vision, gimbal motor control, and estimation algorithms to obtain the relative state of the robot. Projects will be assigned based on student skillset. Partial topic list: computer vision, estimation and guidance control algorithms, model identification, rotational and translation control, orbit guidance, and multi-agent systems.
Contact mentor

Analysis of proposed small satellite capabilities for potential adaption by future small satellite programs
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Space Vehicles Directorate is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to place a limited number of payloads on a new constellation of small satellites.  Many payload proposals were submitted but not all will be analyzed for their potential benefit to the Department of Defense if they did not make the cut for source selection.  The interested student would develop models representing some of these concepts in the Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration and Modeling (AFSIM) and assess their utility within one or more military mission areas.  This analysis should include quantifiable benefits, advantages, disadvantages, limitations, concerns and recommendations regarding a given concept.
Contact mentor

Analytical Techniques for Heterogenous Log Files
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The student will implement existing or develop new algorithms for conducting real-time or post-processed analyses of heterogeneous log files generated by embedded computing systems. Analyses will focus on identifying anomalous behavior as a result of either hardware, software, or user interactions. Example logs and log formats will be provided for testing of developed software and algorithms.
Contact mentor

Analyzing Long-Duration Photometry for Satellite Seismic Modes
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas Ryan Swindle, Directed Energy
Location: AMOS
Academic Level: Ph.D.
The Air Force Maui Optical & Supercomputing (AMOS) site has access to several ground-based optical telescopes with a wide range of utilities. The student will use these telescopes to collect and analyze long-duration photometry (and/or polarimetry and/or velocimetry) collected on both astronomical and man-made space objects. The goal is to search for short- and long-duration seismic activity and, in the case of astronomical objects, compare the results to those from community-developed models.
Contact mentor

Architecture Analytics for Next Generation Space Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jesse Keith Mee, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
AFRL/RVS has established a dedicated architecture analytics testbed under the Space Performance Analytics and Computing Environment Research (SPACER) project. The objective of this project is to provide AFRL with an organic, in-house, capability to assess processing options for next generation mission applications. This addresses the increasing challenge of mapping mission requirements to hardware and software implementations for space computing applications. The topic provides several summer research opportunities for students interested in optimization and evaluation of mission application code on space hardware. The selected summer scholar will be given mission application algorithms/code and tasked to examine methods for optimization of the code (parallel constructs, optimized libraries, etc.) and compilation/execution of the software on hardware resources. This will allow for detailed analysis of the application’s performance on different hardware architecture alternatives, providing critical insight into the computational requirements for next generation mission applications. This effort will provide a valuable capability to the Air Force, guiding future science and technology investments decisions.
Contact mentor

Architecture Analytics for Next Generation Space Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jesse Keith Mee, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
AFRL/RVS has established a dedicated architecture analytics testbed under the Space Performance Analytics and Computing Environment Research (SPACER) project. The objective of this project is to provide AFRL with an organic, in-house, capability to assess processing options for next generation mission applications. This addresses the increasing challenge of mapping mission requirements to hardware and software implementations for space computing applications. The topic provides several summer research opportunities for students interested in optimization and evaluation of mission application code on space hardware. The selected summer scholar will be given mission application algorithms/code and tasked to examine methods for optimization of the code (parallel constructs, optimized libraries, etc.) and compilation/execution of the software on hardware resources. This will allow for detailed analysis of the application’s performance on different hardware architecture alternatives, providing critical insight into the computational requirements for next generation mission applications. This effort will provide a valuable capability to the Air Force, guiding future science and technology investments decisions
Contact mentor

Assessment of Outer Zone Radiation Belt Models
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: James P McCollough, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Near-Earth space is a harsh environment. It contains the radiation belt, energetic charged particles trapped by Earth’s magnetic field that can adversely affect spacecraft and their payloads.  

The outer zone of the radiation belt, consisting of electrons spanning tens of kiloelectron-volts to megaelectron-volts in energy, is dynamic and driven by disturbances in the solar wind. It fills a wide swath of space, from altitudes of hundreds of kilometers  to over 35,000 kilometers. 

The dynamic and driven nature of the outer zone means particle radiation levels can change rapidly (within minutes). Most outer zone models are based on diffusive transport and employ the Fokker-Planck formalism to evolve the system in time. Given the limitations of our understanding of the outer zone, these models benefit from the assimilation of in-situ data where available.

This project will quantitatively assess the performance of state-of-the-art and cutting edge radiation belt models available to the scientific community. It will lead to a better understanding of where the gaps in our knowledge reside and what fundamental research is needed for progress in this area.
Contact mentor

Attitude Determination Control Testbed
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jordan Taylor Kirk, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The AFRL has a large spherical air bearing testbed which is used to emulate a spacecraft complete with a full attitude determination and control subsystem. In addition to the testbed, peripheral subsystems interact with the testbed to create a wide range of potential research topics. 
A partial list of topics follows; if students want to discuss more topics in further detail, they should contact the project mentor. Partial topic list: control moment gyros (CMGs), reaction wheels, orbit disturbance modeling (rotational and translational), reaction control thrusters, hardware integration and test, orbit guidance, GUI development, and computer vision.
Contact mentor

Augmented Reality (AR) Enabled Concepts for Spacecraft Assembly
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Derek Thomas Doyle, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
RV would like to develop AR based concepts that can be utilized in the assembly of spacecraft. This can be achieved at multiple stages from being able to identify a component, verify part matches modelled expectations, track task orders, document progress, and report information. This effort will require the user to be able to develop AR workspaces and be familiar with software associated with AR development and HoloLens systems.
Contact mentor

Augmented Reality to Increase Human Cognition of Structural Dynamics
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Fernando Moreu, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Humans rely on sensor data to understand the dynamics of structures and assess their safety or integrity. However, sensors need to collect the data, algorithms be run, and results analyzed to inform new designs or solutions. This project will use Augmented Reality to develop a new portal able to collect and share dynamic information in a centralized form. This project will integrate real-time structural dynamic collection and sharing, (2) new human in the loop design of sensor data sharing and visualization in mixed reality domains, (3) optimal display of real time responses (by augmentation) and monitoring of human cognition of dynamics with and without augmentation. The students are expected to develop both hardware and software contributing to the prototype of this new human-structures interface.
Contact mentor

Augmented Reality to Increase Human Cognition of Structural Dynamics
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Fernando Moreu, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Humans rely on sensor data to understand the dynamics of structures and assess their safety or integrity. However, sensors need to collect the data, algorithms be run, and results analyzed to inform new designs or solutions. This project will use Augmented Reality to develop a new portal able to collect and share dynamic information in a centralized form. This project will integrate real-time structural dynamic collection and sharing, (2) new human in the loop design of sensor data sharing and visualization in mixed reality domains, (3) optimal display of real time responses (by augmentation) and monitoring of human cognition of dynamics with and without augmentation. The students are expected to develop both hardware and software contributing to the prototype of this new human-structures interface.
Contact mentor

Big Data Processing For Space Situational Awareness (Colorado Springs, CO)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Sivilli, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The internship for this project is located in Colorado Springs, CO.
This open-ended project will investigate new and innovative approaches and untapped information sources that will enable rapid detect and characterization of space objects. Specifically looking at leveraging existing open-AI and cloud computing architectures to explore the art of the possible as applied to the space domain.
Contact mentor

Big Data Processing For Space Situational Awareness (Colorado Springs, CO)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Sivilli, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The internship for this project is located in Colorado Springs, CO.  This open-ended project will investigate new and innovative approaches and untapped information sources that will enable rapid detect and characterization of space objects. Specifically looking at leveraging existing open-AI and cloud computing architectures to explore the art of the possible as applied to the space domain.
Contact mentor

Can neural networks recognize localization in density functional theory?
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Density functional theory (DFT) is the standard quantum mechanical framework for studying defects in insulators and semiconductors using supercells. Standard adhoc jellium-based methods for computing the energy levels of charged defects have predicted defect levels of these defects that have been qualitatively wrong. Our group, which includes colleagues from the Directed Energy Directorate and Sandia National Labs, is pioneering the use of a non-jellium-based technique for calculating electrostatic interactions that has been far more successful. One important requirement for the validity of this technique is that the defect wave function be localized, so that the Kohn-Sham defect energy level appears in the band gap and that the wave function density is localized on a few atoms. For truly deep levels, these criteria are easily verified. However, for accidentally shallow states -- states with Kohn-Sham levels near a band edge, but with strongly localized wave functions, this verification requires a laborious analysis of defect energy levels and wave function coefficients, and at times a study of these defect levels as a function of supercell size. Our group is interested in exploring whether a convolutional neural networks (CNNs) can be trained to distinguish whether a defect level is localized or not, with the hope that this could lead to some automation of the analysis. Moreover, we are interested in whether the results of the CNN study can give unexpected insights into the physics of localization..
Contact mentor

Characterization and Modeling of Spacecraft Plumes
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Benjamin Douglas Prince, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Detection and characterization of thruster firings in orbit is a utility desired by the Air Force. In this project, the selected student will use a set of AFRL-developed software tools to examine key observables associated with simulated and actual thrust maneuvers for a variety of different propulsion systems being observed with different sensors. The findings will determine ideal sensor types and capabilities for future space missions.
Contact mentor

Characterization of Electrode Materials for space-based energy storage
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jessica Lynn Buckner, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Energy storage is of significant interest for many applications from power tools to electric vehicles to satellites. Improvements in energy density, power density, charge/discharge rates, and cycle life are necessary to meet the demanding requirements of both commercial and military needs. The space environment can be particularly harsh for batteries with extreme temperatures, pulsed discharge, and ten's of thousands of charge/discharge cycles seen during spacecraft lifetime. This in conjunction with the need to reduce both weight and volume make it imperative that advanced materials are discovered which can lead to improved energy storage devices. This project will utilize advanced characterization tools in the Space Power Lab such as XRD, SEM, AFM, and potentiostat/galvanostat measurements to examine advanced materials and then relate materials properties with electrical device behavior in order to identify key material parameters that lead to better energy storage materials.
Contact mentor

Characterization of III-V Photovoltaics Under Pressure
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jessica Lynn Buckner, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
In current III-V photovoltaics, the band gap is changed by doping, which can sometimes create defects. An alternative to doping is pressure induced band gap engineering. High pressure allows for a wider energy space to be evaluated for device characterization and design. This project involves using a high pressure setup and a variety of tools, including Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence, to characterize III-V structural and electrical changes in the material as a function of pressure. Work will involve preparation of samples, working with the high pressure setup, characterization, and data analysis. These findings will be fed back into the device design to design more versatile and radiation hard solar cells.
Contact mentor

Clocks in Space: Developing the Next Generation of Spacecraft Timing Architectures & Algorithms
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Joanna Hinks, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Clock technology is crucial in many spacecraft applications, both for timing and as a component of navigation systems. The best atomic clocks are expensive, cumbersome, highly sensitive to environmental conditions, and subject to performance limitations imposed by physics. Atomic clocks are not standalone devices; they operate in the context of a timekeeping system and overall performance is influenced by the timekeeping system architecture. One way to improve clock performance is to combine the outputs of multiple clocks into an “ensemble” or “composite clock”. The resulting output behaves as a virtual clock that has the potential to outperform each of the individual clocks. 
Students will work on developing better architectures, algorithms, and test capabilities for advanced clock technologies, with special emphasis on spacecraft clock systems. Research is ongoing in clock ensembling algorithms, clock phase measurement hardware, anomaly detection algorithms and implementation, and advanced timekeeping system architectures. Specific projects will be tailored to the student’s interests and skill set, and may involve work in the lab, computer simulations, or theory-based derivations. Prior knowledge of atomic clock technology is not necessary, although students having this background may find ways to apply it. Beneficial skills and experience include instrumentation and data collection, familiarity with RF hardware/firmware, strong programming skills (in MATLAB, C++, or a similar language), estimation and Kalman filtering, optimization, statistics, and signal processing.
Contact mentor

Clocks in Space: Developing the Next Generation of Spacecraft Timing Architectures & Algorithms
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Joanna Hinks, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Clock technology is crucial in many spacecraft applications, both for timing and as a component of navigation systems. The best atomic clocks are expensive, cumbersome, highly sensitive to environmental conditions, and subject to performance limitations imposed by physics. Atomic clocks are not standalone devices; they operate in the context of a timekeeping system and overall performance is influenced by the timekeeping system architecture. One way to improve clock performance is to combine the outputs of multiple clocks into an “ensemble” or “composite clock”. The resulting output behaves as a virtual clock that has the potential to outperform each of the individual clocks. 
Students will work on developing better architectures, algorithms, and test capabilities for advanced clock technologies, with special emphasis on spacecraft clock systems. Research is ongoing in clock ensembling algorithms, clock phase measurement hardware, anomaly detection algorithms and implementation, and advanced timekeeping system architectures. Specific projects will be tailored to the student’s interests and skill set, and may involve work in the lab, computer simulations, or theory-based derivations. Prior knowledge of atomic clock technology is not necessary, although students having this background may find ways to apply it. Beneficial skills and experience include instrumentation and data collection, familiarity with RF hardware/firmware, strong programming skills (in MATLAB, C++, or a similar language), estimation and Kalman filtering, optimization, statistics, and signal processing.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Experimental Control and Data Acquisition
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Spencer E Olson, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Our laboratory is developing inertial navigation sensors and clocks using cold-atom technology.  The relevant experiments and prototypes for cold-atom sensors typically require specialized timing-control hardware, software, and computer integration.  We are developing means to utilize micro-controllers, low-power computers, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), and open-source software for data acquisition and experimental control.  The assigned project will depend on the student's interest and experience, but could include micro-controller programming, FPGA programming, low-power computer-experiment integration, and/or development and testing of new cold-atom control routines/hardware for use in future or current experiments.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Experimental Control and Data Acquisition
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Spencer E Olson, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Our laboratory is developing inertial navigation sensors and clocks using cold-atom technology.  The relevant experiments and prototypes for cold-atom sensors typically require specialized timing-control hardware, software, and computer integration.  We are developing means to utilize micro-controllers, low-power computers, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), and open-source software for data acquisition and experimental control.  The assigned project will depend on the student's interest and experience, but could include micro-controller programming, FPGA programming, low-power computer-experiment integration, and/or development and testing of new cold-atom control routines/hardware for use in future or current experiments.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Experimental Control and Data Acquisition
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Spencer E Olson, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Our laboratory is developing inertial navigation sensors and clocks using cold-atom technology.  The relevant experiments and prototypes for cold-atom sensors typically require specialized timing-control hardware, software, and computer integration.  We are developing means to utilize micro-controllers, low-power computers, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), and open-source software for data acquisition and experimental control.  The assigned project will depend on the student's interest and experience, but could include micro-controller programming, FPGA programming, low-power computer-experiment integration, and/or development and testing of new cold-atom control routines/hardware for use in future or current experiments.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Sources
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew Squires, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Cold atoms are used to make precision measurements of rotation, acceleration, time (think atomic clocks), etc.  Atoms are typically cooled using laser cooling techniques to temperatures less than 100 micro Kelvin to reduce thermal noise and increase measurement time.  We are investigating new cold atoms sources that either reduce the size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements of laser cooled sources or that can cool atoms without lasers.  Reducing SWAP is an important considering for making compact devices that can be transitioned from the laboratory into real world applications.  Cooling atoms without laser opens the possibility of using atoms that currently cannot be cooled but have properties that are of scientific and/or technical interest.   The assigned project will depend on the student’s interest and experience.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Sources
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew Squires, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Cold atoms are used to make precision measurements of rotation, acceleration, time (think atomic clocks), etc.  Atoms are typically cooled using laser cooling techniques to temperatures less than 100 micro Kelvin to reduce thermal noise and increase measurement time.  We are investigating new cold atoms sources that either reduce the size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements of laser cooled sources or that can cool atoms without lasers.  Reducing SWAP is an important considering for making compact devices that can be transitioned from the laboratory into real world applications.  Cooling atoms without laser opens the possibility of using atoms that currently cannot be cooled but have properties that are of scientific and/or technical interest.   The assigned project will depend on the student’s interest and experience.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Sources
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew Squires, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Cold atoms are used to make precision measurements of rotation, acceleration, time (think atomic clocks), etc.  Atoms are typically cooled using laser cooling techniques to temperatures less than 100 micro Kelvin to reduce thermal noise and increase measurement time.  We are investigating new cold atoms sources that either reduce the size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements of laser cooled sources or that can cool atoms without lasers.  Reducing SWAP is an important considering for making compact devices that can be transitioned from the laboratory into real world applications.  Cooling atoms without laser opens the possibility of using atoms that currently cannot be cooled but have properties that are of scientific and/or technical interest.   The assigned project will depend on the student’s interest and experience.
Contact mentor

Cold Atom Sources
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew Squires, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Cold atoms are used to make precision measurements of rotation, acceleration, time (think atomic clocks), etc.  Atoms are typically cooled using laser cooling techniques to temperatures less than 100 micro Kelvin to reduce thermal noise and increase measurement time.  We are investigating new cold atoms sources that either reduce the size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements of laser cooled sources or that can cool atoms without lasers.  Reducing SWAP is an important considering for making compact devices that can be transitioned from the laboratory into real world applications.  Cooling atoms without laser opens the possibility of using atoms that currently cannot be cooled but have properties that are of scientific and/or technical interest.
Contact mentor

Color Photometry Analysis for Space Aging Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: David John Buehler, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The goal of this project is to take existing color photometry data of on-orbit objects and analyze it to determine if it correlates to what is expected from lab experimentation. The student would determine a target list of objects to pursue and would utilize programs like Matlab and Python to study the existing data and determine if the correlation exists. If it does not exist, the student would take steps to understand why it doesn't. The student would be paired with another student from the space aging lab to combine expertise to solve the problem at hand.
Contact mentor

Color Photometry Analysis for Space Aging Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: David John Buehler, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters
The goal of this project is to take existing color photometry data of on-orbit objects and analyze it to determine if it correlates to what is expected from lab experimentation. The student would determine a target list of objects to pursue and would utilize programs like Matlab and Python to study the existing data and determine if the correlation exists. If it does not exist, the student would take steps to understand why it doesn't. The student would be paired with another student from the space aging lab to combine expertise to solve the problem at hand.
Contact mentor

Computationally Efficient Optimal Control & Estimation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Richard Scott Erwin, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project involves development and testing of new software tools for solving complex guidance/control and estimation problems via model-predictive control/moving horizon estimation techniques.  The effort involves the use (and possibly modification) of specialized software designed to efficiently solve such problems.  The project will apply the software to solve practical spacecraft guidance/navigation/control problems of interest to the Air Force, including running benchmark problems to evaluate solution computational requirements and solution accuracy, as well as formulating new problems of interest for solution with the software.
Contact mentor

Control Algorithm Development for Spacecraft Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chau Ton, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This topic will focus on the development and application of robust control for satellite formation. One of the challenges with satellite formation is that the orbiting bodies are subjected to external forces, which include solar radiation, gravitational perturbations, and atmospheric drag, that force the satellites out of the stable Keplerian orbits. Since the available thrusts levels are low for many satellites, the existence of external disturbance, uncertainties, and actuator faults greatly hinder the control performance. This effort will involve developing control algorithms that are computation efficient to maintain the formation in the presence of uncertainty.
Contact mentor

Control of Spacecraft with Multiple Actuators
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Normally spacecraft are equipped with multiple types of actuators for specific purposes, for example gas thrusters for moving in space or reaction wheels for attitude control.  Each of these actuators have advantages and disadvantages.  This project will focus on exploiting the advantages of the actuators for scientific gain while mitigating disadvantages.  Examples include, but are not limited to, efficient momentum management, efficient maneuvering, etc.  Students will learn about the various actuators, how they are modeled, and how to use them in a combined control architecture.  Experience in MATLAB and Simulink required.
Contact mentor

Control Theory Research for Laser Weapon Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Garfield Hassall, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Laser Division of AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate is investigating a line of control theory for use in Laser Weapon Systems (LWS) applications.  A critical area of research is in disturbance rejection techniques for precise control of optical beam steering in LWS applications.  This may include target acquisition, fine control of target tracking, and pose estimation.  The concept of disturbance rejection for this application involves the ability to take a known disturbance such as aircraft vibration, mechanical distortion, or optical distortion of a known statistical nature, and then to design a control system such that the statistical disturbance is taken into account.  This effectively makes the disturbance “invisible” to the user.  The student will conduct a survey of current disturbance rejection techniques, and create simplified MATLAB models of those concepts to evaluate the potential applicability to mission needs.  Time permitting, the student may also work on implementing the most promising concepts into AFRL’s current models used to predict LWS performance and system evaluation.  This project may be modified to the background and interest of the student.
Contact mentor

Control Theory Research for Laser Weapon Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew A Cooper, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
The Directed Energy Directorate is investigating a line of control theory research.  This area includes target acquisition, fine control of target tracking, and pose estimation.  The student will learn, evaluate, and modify an existing STEM demonstration used for education outreach, to improve the presentation delivery of the underlying scientific concepts.  The project scope may be tailored to the background of the applicant.
Contact mentor

Coupled optical ray-tracing and thermal-mechanical damage simulations
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on the integration of an optical ray-tracing routine into the Abaqus finite element solver for accurately depositing laser energy on component surfaces.  The candidate will assist in the evaluation and integration of a ray-tracing tool into existing Abaqus models for predicting the thermally induced damage of materials subjected to laser irradiation.
Contact mentor

Creating Foldable Composite Structures for Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Box, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Utilizing thin, high strain composites in place of traditional metallic mechanisms enables a new generation of deployable space structures. In a discipline where every gram of mass matters, these light-weight composites offer a slew of benefits over their more common metallic counterparts. One particular trait is the ability to package in much tighter configurations in preparation for launch; a characteristic highly desired with the ever increasing interest in small satellites. A challenge manifests in the methods to integrate these foldable or rollable composite members within a higher order structure while focusing on reliability and simplicity. The focus of the student’s investigation is to devise novel structural integration concepts to maximize performance from stowage through deployment to the on-orbit operational state. The student will have access to CAD modeling (Solidworks), computational tools (Matlab and ABAQUS), and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities with 3D printing capabilities in order to rapidly test and physically understand how well their new designs perform.
Contact mentor

Creating Foldable Composite Structures for Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Box, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Utilizing thin, high strain composites in place of traditional metallic mechanisms enables a new generation of deployable space structures. In a discipline where every gram of mass matters, these light-weight composites offer a slew of benefits over their more common metallic counterparts. One particular trait is the ability to package in much tighter configurations in preparation for launch; a characteristic highly desired with the ever increasing interest in small satellites. A challenge manifests in the methods to integrate these foldable or rollable composite members within a higher order structure while focusing on reliability and simplicity. The focus of the student’s investigation is to devise novel structural integration concepts to maximize performance from stowage through deployment to the on-orbit operational state. The student will have access to CAD modeling (Solidworks), computational tools (Matlab and ABAQUS), and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities with 3D printing capabilities in order to rapidly test and physically understand how well their new designs perform.
Contact mentor

Creation of computer models using Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration and Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Space Vehicles Directorate is actively creating many computer models of space-based capabilities using the Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration and Modeling (AFSIM).  Models of many civilian space-based capabilities (communications, some Global Navigation Satellite Systems, remote sensing, etc.) are needed but have not yet been created in AFSIM.  The interested student should have experience developing computer models in C++, JAVA or AFSIM and will use that experience to specifically develop models of civilian space-based capabilities in AFSIM.
Contact mentor

Creation of space modeling parameters library
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Space Vehicles Directorate and other organizations create many computer generated models of satellites.  To properly represent these systems to support rigorous analysis, developers must correctly capture authoritative system parameters.  Such parameters are available via a variety of sources (published data, scientific community, government channels, etc.).  These parameters must be gathered, documented, and placed into an organized data environment where they can be easily searched and accessed by software-defined model developers.
Contact mentor

Data Association Algorithms for Space Object Tracking and Change Detection
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of this effort is to improve upon several aspects of the space object tracking, orbit determination, and cataloging process.  One focus of this effort is the correct assignment of measurements to a particular space object.  If two or more objects are in close proximity, this increases the probability that a measurement obtained for one space object might be incorrectly assigned to another object in the cluster.  A second focus regards processing measurements of a space object to determine changes to its trajectory, brought about by maneuvers or other events.  It is expected that this effort would involve statistical methods such as data association and estimation/filtering, as well as optimization, linear/nonlinear programming, and feedback control design.
Contact mentor

Data Association Algorithms for Space Object Tracking and Change Detection
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
The goal of this effort is to improve upon several aspects of the space object tracking, orbit determination, and cataloging process.  One focus of this effort is the correct assignment of measurements to a particular space object.  If two or more objects are in close proximity, this increases the probability that a measurement obtained for one space object might be incorrectly assigned to another object in the cluster.  A second focus regards processing measurements of a space object to determine changes to its trajectory, brought about by maneuvers or other events.  It is expected that this effort would involve statistical methods such as data association and estimation/filtering, as well as optimization, linear/nonlinear programming, and feedback control design.
Contact mentor

Decision Making with Hybrid Systems and Optimization
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) is only one part of a spacecraft architecture.  At the next level, the spacecraft must be able to make its own decisions based upon information it has.  The decision making process can be framed as a hybrid system, where there are several modes in which different control and estimation schemes are employed.  Examples include momentum management, fault ID and mitigation, or rendezvous of spacecraft.  Students in this project will focus on exploring and developing these decision making problems while working towards creating method to make these decisions efficiently.
Contact mentor

Design, Fabrication, Characterization, and Development of Room Temperature Ionic Liquid based Electrochemical Devices
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas L Peng, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Help develop technology to generate custom metal plates, on demand, by orchestrating electric fields to drive electrochemical reactions in novel chemical concoctions.

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate is charged with developing new capabilities deployable on space platforms. One promising approach is through the use of room temperature ionic liquid based electrochemical devices capable of reversibly electroplating metal films with user defined properties and dimensions. The use of room temperature ionic liquids ensures that the electrolyte will not boil away if it is ever exposed to the vacuum of space and its robust nature provides large electrochemical windows which can be used to drive desired reactions. The reversible electroplating capacity provides a means to chip and plaster metal films until it has the desired properties and offers a way to regenerate functional surfaces if they are ever damaged.

To get all of this to work will take a good amount of know-how in a variety of disciplines. Chemistry skills will be needed to design and synthesize room temperature ionic liquids with the appropriate properties. Electromagnetic field expertise will be needed to determine the fields needed to plate the desired metal films and the electronics architecture needed to create these fields. Surface science skills will be needed to create electrodes needed to drive the desired electrochemistry and resist chemical etching.

Interested in joining this effort? The candidate selected for this program will be tasked with applying their scientific expertise to develop new approaches, chemicals, or materials to improve the performance of room temperature ionic liquid based reversible electrochemical plating devices. Specific goals include, but are not limited to, improving the number of reversible electroplating cycles devices can run without degrading, improving the reflectivity of the electrodeposited films, and improving the transparency of the devices when the electrochemically tailored surface is removed. Anyone with ideas on how to realize these or other improvements are encouraged to apply.
Contact mentor

Development and V&V of Advanced Algorithms for Transition
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Creating an algorithm and showing it works in simulation is only the first step to putting something in orbit.  There are multiple steps which involve verification, validation, extensive testing, and comparison.  This project in particular will enable students to explore how algorithms are created and transitioned by assisting AFRL in this process.  We will focus on the following aspects:  (a) Aiding in the development of an in-house interface for the creation of advanced algorithms, (b) Exploring and developing advanced control algorithms, (c) Creating benchmark testing situations for spacecraft vehicles, (d) Verifying several in-house algorithms on the benchmark tests in simulation as well as on hardware test facilities.  Requirements include experience in MATLAB and Simulink.  C-coding is a plus, but not required.
Contact mentor

Development and V&V of Advanced Algorithms for Transition
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Creating an algorithm and showing it works in simulation is only the first step to putting something in orbit.  There are multiple steps which involve verification, validation, extensive testing, and comparison.  This project in particular will enable students to explore how algorithms are created and transitioned by assisting AFRL in this process.  We will focus on the following aspects:  (a) Aiding in the development of an in-house interface for the creation of advanced algorithms, (b) Exploring and developing advanced control algorithms, (c) Creating benchmark testing situations for spacecraft vehicles, (d) Verifying several in-house algorithms on the benchmark tests in simulation as well as on hardware test facilities.  Requirements include experience in MATLAB and Simulink.  C-coding is a plus, but not required.
Contact mentor

Development of Decision logic for space situational awareness
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Joseph D Trujillo, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Applicant will be part of the Threat Warning And Response (TWAR) team, which will perform research, design, development and testing of hardware and software components.  Specifically, TWAR is used to provide Space Situational Awareness (SSA) for space assets.  Applicant will primarily be involved in the development of flexible software components interfacing with hardware components.
Contact mentor

Development of HF raytracing model with high spatial resolution
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chaosong Huang, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project is to develop a 3-D, high-resolution raytracing model for calculating the ray paths of high-frequency (HF) radio waves in the ionosphere. Existing atmospheric and ionospheric models or simulated data will be directly used to specify the refractive index of the radio wave, and the ray paths will be determined by integrating a set of differential equations governing the propagation of the rays. The purpose of developing this high-resolution model is to study the quantitative effects of ionospheric plasma irregularities, especially equatorial spread F irregularities in the nighttime low-latitude ionosphere, on the propagation and power attenuation of HF waves. A 2-D HF raytracing model with spatial resolution of much smaller than 1 km has been created and tested. The next task is to extend the 2-D model to a 3-D model. The summer scholars should have good skills of computer programming, and familiarity with MATLAB is preferred. Knowledge on ionospheric physics is desirable but not required.
Contact mentor

Development of HF raytracing model with high spatial resolution
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chaosong Huang, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
This project is to develop a 3-D, high-resolution raytracing model for calculating the ray paths of high-frequency (HF) radio waves in the ionosphere. Existing atmospheric and ionospheric models or simulated data will be directly used to specify the refractive index of the radio wave, and the ray paths will be determined by integrating a set of differential equations governing the propagation of the rays. The purpose of developing this high-resolution model is to study the quantitative effects of ionospheric plasma irregularities, especially equatorial spread F irregularities in the nighttime low-latitude ionosphere, on the propagation and power attenuation of HF waves. A 2-D HF raytracing model with spatial resolution of much smaller than 1 km has been created and tested. The next task is to extend the 2-D model to a 3-D model. The summer scholars should have good skills of computer programming, and familiarity with MATLAB is preferred. Knowledge on ionospheric physics is desirable but not required.
Contact mentor

Device Metrics and Benchmarking Analysis of Next-Generation Architectures for Space Computing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Gabriel Mounce, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Quantitatively analyze and determine optimal architectural characteristics for next-generation space processors using established device metrics and the AFRL sponsored CHREC space processing benchmarking framework.  Modern radiation-hardened space processors are several generations behind commercial architectures and commercial architectures are not optimized for space computing.  This project serves to assist RVSE with the analysis of current and future computing technology to better guide technology investment.
Contact mentor

Device Metrics and Benchmarking Analysis of Next-Generation Architectures for Space Computing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Gabriel Mounce, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Quantitatively analyze and determine optimal architectural characteristics for next-generation space processors using established device metrics and the AFRL sponsored CHREC space processing benchmarking framework.  Modern radiation-hardened space processors are several generations behind commercial architectures and commercial architectures are not optimized for space computing.  This project serves to assist RVSE with the analysis of current and future computing technology to better guide technology investment.
Contact mentor

Device Metrics and Benchmarking Analysis of Next-Generation Architectures for Space Computing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Gabriel Mounce, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Quantitatively analyze and determine optimal architectural characteristics for next-generation space processors using established device metrics and the AFRL sponsored CHREC space processing benchmarking framework.  Modern radiation-hardened space processors are several generations behind commercial architectures and commercial architectures are not optimized for space computing.  This project serves to assist RVSE with the analysis of current and future computing technology to better guide technology investment.
Contact mentor

Dynamic Plasma Coupling in Laboratory, Computer, Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: david lyttleton cooke, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We are developing a laboratory plasma device called EMPD (ExB drifting Magnetized Plasma Device.  EMPD is a 4' dia. by 6' long vacuum chamber with 0-200 Gauss axial magnetic field "bottle" for scaled plasma experiments.  We are currently developing plasma sources, experiments, and diagnostics to explore plasma-plasma coupling and Langmuir Probe physics in the positive bias flowing plasma regime which is still poorly explored, with relevance to applications as the Electro-dynamic Space Tether.
Contact mentor

Dynamic Plasma Coupling in Laboratory, Computer, Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: david lyttleton cooke, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
We are developing a laboratory plasma device called EMPD (ExB drifting Magnetized Plasma Device.  EMPD is a 4' dia. by 6' long vacuum chamber with 0-200 Gauss axial magnetic field "bottle" for scaled plasma experiments.  We are currently developing plasma sources, experiments, and diagnostics to explore plasma-plasma coupling and Langmuir Probe physics in the positive bias flowing plasma regime which is still poorly explored, with relevance to applications as the Electro-dynamic Space Tether.
Contact mentor

Electromagnetic Disruption of Electronic Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Daniel Stephen Guillette, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is interested in furthering its understanding of how electromagnetic radiation disrupts the operation of electronic devices and their underlying subsystems. The purpose of this research topic is to explore and determine the response of microcontrollers to intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI). Microcontrollers are used in the this topic because they are miniature computers containing onboard memory, processing modules, and I/O capabilities which makes them an ideal halfway point for larger more complex electronics systems and individual integrated circuits. The overarching goal of this topic is to implement its collective results into a mathematical model which can predict a microcontroller’s response when subjected to incident high power electromagnetic pulses. The selected Directed Energy Scholar will design, perform, and document hands-on experiments in which they expose a microcontroller to IEMI so as to determine the working test criteria for when safe operation, software compromised operation, and physical damage are encountered. Scholars will also have the opportunity to use advanced computer aided circuit modeling toolkits and design their own printed circuit boards as needed.
Contact mentor

Electrostatics of defects in semiconductors near interfaces
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Density functional theory has enjoyed significant success modelling defects in insulators and semiconductors. Our group is pioneering the use of a non-jellium technique that uses an explicit, classical calculation of polarization energy outside the volume of a supercell. Currently, we use the Jost approximation, where we calculate the energy by approximating the supercell as sphere, and using the experimental dielectric constant to evaluate the total polarization to infinity. In the past we have extended this case for defects in insulators near semiconductors, where we have used device modelling software to calculate the electric field across an metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) device as a function of doping density in the substrate, as a function of insulator thickness, and as a function of gate bias. We found, for instance, that, counter-intuitively, the defect level of a defect in the insulator actually depended on the doping in the substrate. We want to extend this analysis to the case of a defect in the semiconductor, but embedded in a device. Included in our interests are defects in MOS devices, defects in p-n and Schottky diodes, and possibly in high-electron mobility transistors. We envision using device modelling software to calculate electric fields. The results of this research could have fundamental impact on the way we think about defects in actual devices.
Contact mentor

Electrostatics of defects in semiconductors near interfaces
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Density functional theory has enjoyed significant success modelling defects in insulators and semiconductors. Our group is pioneering the use of a non-jellium technique that uses an explicit, classical calculation of polarization energy outside the volume of a supercell. Currently, we use the Jost approximation, where we calculate the energy by approximating the supercell as sphere, and using the experimental dielectric constant to evaluate the total polarization to infinity. In the past we have extended this case for defects in insulators near semiconductors, where we have used device modelling software to calculate the electric field across a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) device as a function of doping density in the substrate, as a function of insulator thickness, and as a function of gate bias. We found, for instance, that, counter-intuitively, the defect level of a defect in the insulator actually depended on the doping in the substrate. We want to extend this analysis to the case of a defect in the semiconductor, but embedded in a device. Included in our interests are defects in MOS devices, defects in p-n and Schottky diodes, and possibly in high-electron mobility transistors. We envision using device modelling software to calculate electric fields. The results of this research could have fundamental impact on the way we think about defects in actual devices.
Contact mentor

Elevated temperature strength of materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on analyzing elevated tensile test data to calibrate a material model for predicting structural failure in finite element simulations.  The calibration process may include the use of optimization techniques and some limited programming to automate the calibration process.
Contact mentor

Embedded System Cyber Resiliency
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project will focus on research aimed at enhancing the cyber-resiliency and mission assurance of embedded systems.  Researcher will explore the use of virtualization technologies for use in real-time, embedded computing systems as a cyber-hardening approach.  Current work is investigating the impact of virtualization technologies on mission assurance posturing as well as quantifying what performance costs will be experienced.
Contact mentor

Embedded System Cyber Resiliency
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project will focus on research aimed at enhancing the cyber-resiliency and mission assurance of embedded systems.  Researcher will explore the use of virtualization technologies for use in real-time, embedded computing systems as a cyber-hardening approach.  Current work is investigating the impact of virtualization technologies on mission assurance posturing as well as quantifying what performance costs will be experienced.
Contact mentor

Embedded System Cyber Resiliency
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
This project will focus on research aimed at enhancing the cyber-resiliency and mission assurance of embedded systems. Researcher will explore the use of virtualization technologies for use in real-time, embedded computing systems as a cyber-hardening approach. Current work is investigating the impact of virtualization technologies on mission assurance posturing as well as quantifying what performance costs will be experienced.
Contact mentor

Emission Physics of Carbon Fiber Field Emitters
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Wilkin Tang, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of the research is to investigate the physics of electron field emission under a variety of conditions.  Carbon fiber cathodes will be used for the research.  First, emission characteristics with pulse width from 100ns to 500ms and DC will be examined.  A new cathode test bed will be built for this purpose.  Second, different numbers of emitters (1<n<100) will be used to study the turn-on effects of cathodes, and the phenomena will be modeled using  a predator-prey relationship.  ICEPIC will be used to predict the effects of pulse width on electron field emission, in addition,  various numbers of fibers placed on the cathode will be subjected to the same voltage pulse, and ICEPIC will be used to model the cathode geometry, and comparison in terms of the total current obtain and the value of the field enhancement factors will be made with theory and experiment.  Lastly, a predator and prey relationship model will be developed to study the physics of emission when large number (1<n<100) of fibers are present on the cathode.  During the course of the program, Students will be involved in using ICEPIC to design the geometry of the cathodes, as well as to set up ICEPIC model to study the emission of the cathode under different pulse width.  At the end of the internship, students will gain knowledge in the emission physics from a carbon fiber cathode which is highly relevant in future technology.
Contact mentor

Employment of Augmented Reality For Command and Control of Information Technology Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Garner, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate
Human interaction with information technology systems is primarily controlled today through keyboard and screen interfaces or a control panel with buttons and switches. Students will experiment with developing Augmented Reality (AR) applications to replace and/or extend traditional interfaces with ones using head mounted displays and AR. Students will develop process, procedures, software libraries, documentation and training products to facilitate use of AR by other students and personnel.
Contact mentor

Employment of Augmented Reality For Command and Control of Information Technology Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Garner, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate
Human interaction with information technology systems is primarily controlled today through keyboard and screen interfaces or a control panel with buttons and switches. Students will experiment with developing Augmented Reality (AR) applications to replace and/or extend traditional interfaces with ones using head mounted displays and AR. Students will develop process, procedures, software libraries, documentation and training products to facilitate use of AR by other students and personnel.
Contact mentor

Energetic Proton Hazard Modeling on a High Performance Computing Platform
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Shawn Young, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Eruptive events on the sun and the shocks they create in interplanetary space can energize charged particles to energies that are hazardous to satellites and can disrupt needed high frequency communications.  The Earth's magnetic field shields or reduces the hazard in some regions in space, but attempts to accurately predict the shielding in many regions have been frustrated by missing physics in the models.  This project will parallelize a serial research code that promises to help identify the necessary physics to improve hazard prediction accuracy.  Students will gain experience working with and parallelizing a code on a high performance computing platform.
Contact mentor

Energetic Proton Hazard Modeling on a High Performance Computing Platform
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Shawn Young, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Eruptive events on the sun and the shocks they create in interplanetary space can energize charged particles to energies that are hazardous to satellites and can disrupt needed high frequency communications.  The Earth's magnetic field shields or reduces the hazard in some regions in space, but attempts to accurately predict the shielding in many regions have been frustrated by missing physics in the models.  This project will investigate the physics of energetic particle penetration into the magnetosphere using a high performance computing platform and data obtained by satellites.  An extension of the project may be to parallelize a research code to enable larger simulations.
Contact mentor

Expanding the current capability for determining temperature dependent emissivity
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael Peter Sheyka, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative and novel diagnostics to improve the quality and accuracy of measurements for experimentation. This project will focus on development/enhancement of the current capability related to temperature dependent emissivity measurements.  This effort will expand upon a possible approach that has been developed within RDLE to conduct these measurements.
Contact mentor

Expanding the current capability for determining temperature dependent emissivity
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative and novel diagnostics to improve the quality and accuracy of measurements for experimentation. This project will focus on development/enhancement of the current capability related to temperature dependent emissivity measurements.  This effort will expand upon a possible approach that has been developed within RDLE to conduct these measurements.
Contact mentor

Expanding the current measurement technique for determining temperature dependent BRDF
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael Peter Sheyka, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative and novel diagnostics to improve the quality and accuracy of measurements for experimentation. This project will focus on improving the current measurement capability related to Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) measurements.
Contact mentor

Exploting Coupling in Spacecraft Rotation & Translation for Control & Estimation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
It has been shown in many situations that the orientation of a spacecraft can affect its translational motion and vice versa.  Examples of this occurring are when disturbance forces are accounted for in the mathematical model or when the alignment of thrusters produces both a force and a moment.  By taking into account the coupling motion, spacecraft maneuvers could be performed more easily and with less control effort than trying to control the orientation and position separately.  This project will look at the rotational and translational coupling in spacecraft systems, determine a problem set where the coupling can be exploiting, and design controllers for efficient control of position and orientation.
Contact mentor

Flow prediction using machine learning
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Raymond Bemish, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of this program will be to utilize machine learning approaches and a database of standard fluid flows to develop a model to accurately predict fluid flows.
Contact mentor

Fluid structure interaction simulations for evaluating component damage
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on the integration of aerodynamic loading into existing coupled thermal-mechanical models used to determine component failure caused by laser irradiation.  The aerodynamic loading will be determined from computational fluid dynamics simulations and integrated into the structural analysis using one-way coupling, while more advanced candidates may be asked to work on fully coupled fluid-structure interaction simulations. The candidate will work along with experts in the field to identify the impact of flight conditions on the failure response of elevated temperature components.  The scope of the project can be tailored to accommodate the experience and capability of the applicant.
Contact mentor

Fluid structure interaction simulations to predict component failure
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on the integration of aerodynamic loading into existing coupled thermal-mechanical models used to determine component failure caused by laser irradiation.  The aerodynamic loading will be determined from computational fluid dynamics simulations and integrated into the structural analysis using one-way coupling.  The candidate will work along with experts in the field to identify the impact of flight conditions on the failure response.  The scope of the project can be tailored to accommodate the experience and capability of the applicant.
Contact mentor

Fuel Cells for Satellite Power
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Lok-kun Tsui, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles directorate seeks a high school student intern for a project involving the development of power sources for satellites. Satellites require a supply of energy in order to power their electronics in space. Nitrous oxide fuel cells can provide higher power and store greater amounts of energy compared to battery systems. We are working to study the materials used in these devices and improve their performance.  High school students will have the opportunity to experience working in a laboratory setting, interact with scientists and engineers, and use state-of-the art instruments in pursuit of a research goal.
Contact mentor

Fuel Cells for Satellite Power
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Lok-kun Tsui, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles directorate seeks an undergraduate student intern to work on the study of nitrous-oxide (N2O) powered fuel cells. Fuel cells powered using N2O as an oxidant are attractive compared to batteries because of their high power and energy density. We will investigate materials for solid-oxide fuel cells powered by hydrogen and N2O for optimal power generation.
Contact mentor

Fuel Cells for Satellite Power
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Lok-kun Tsui, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles directorate seeks an educator intern to work on the study of nitrous-oxide (N2O) powered fuel cells. Fuel cells powered using N2O as an oxidant are attractive compared to batteries because of their high power and energy density. We will investigate materials for solid-oxide fuel cells powered by hydrogen and N2O for optimal power generation. Applicants from any field in the physical sciences, engineering, or other STEM fields are welcome to apply.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Peter Mardahl, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jason Hammond, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jason Hammond, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Joseph Leach, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies. We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC). We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael Lambrecht, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael Lambrecht, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Peter Mardahl, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies.  We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC).  We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources.  Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Gigawatt-class High Power Microwave Source Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Joseph Leach, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
We will assemble a team of DE Scholars and AFRL scientists to model/simulate cutting edge gigawatt-class high power microwave (HPM) source technologies. We will utilize the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing capabilities to perform high fidelity simulations using the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell Code (ICEPIC). We will be virtually prototyping and improving the world's most advanced HPM sources, leveraging the latest published results to produce virtual prototypes that represent the best of the world's HPM sources. Team members will work closely with each other and their mentors to learn the basic and advanced features of ICEPIC to create and run successful HPM models in a high performance computing environment.
Contact mentor

Guidance, Navigation, and Control Involving Relative Satellite Motion
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of this topic is to better understand and utilize the dynamics of relative satellite motion (i.e., the motion of one satellite with respect to one or more other satellites).  This topic encompasses both close-proximity scenarios (i.e. cluster/formation missions and rendezvous/proximity operations missions) and scenarios where the satellites are not necessarily on closely neighboring orbits.  An example of the latter scenario is space-based tracking and orbit determination of space objects.  Areas of relevant research include:   Modeling of Relative Orbit Dynamics: The relative motion between two or more satellites can be modeled in unique ways.  The governing equations for such motion can account for a variety of physical phenomena and, as such, maybe either linear or nonlinear, time-varying or time-invariant.  Of particular interest is the formulation of governing equations that incorporate particular phenomena, closed-form solutions to new or existing equations, and characterizing relative dynamics in non-Cartesian (e.g. orbit element) fashion.   Relative Navigation for Satellite Systems: Relative navigation entails accurate estimation of the relative state (position and velocity) of one satellite with respect to another, given available measurements.  These may include GPS, intersatellite ranging, line-of-sight, and light curve data.  Again, this research area encompasses a wide range of orbital regimes, including both close-proximity and larger separation scenarios.  Of particular interest is improved filter design, enhanced on-board autonomy (i.e. minimum interaction from the ground), and angles-only observability (i.e. when only line-of-sight is available).   Guidance/Control Algorithms for Relative Satellite Motion: Satellites flying in close proximity have unique control requirements. The versatility of satellite cluster missions allows for reconfiguration of the satellites to perform different missions or to account for the addition or deletion of members to the cluster. Of particular interest is the development of open- and/or closed-loop control algorithms for relative satellite trajectories and optimization of these trajectories. The former area may involve both centralized and decentralized control, as well as hierarchical control; while the latter area may involve both conventional (e.g. LQR, gradient-based) and modern (e.g. genetic algorithm) optimization schemes.  In addition to close-proximity maneuvering, it is also desired to utilize relative motion-based techniques for maneuver planning of a single satellite, whether based on conventional methods (e.g., Lambert transfer) or lesser known methods (e.g., hodograph theory).
Contact mentor

Guidance, Navigation, and Control Involving Relative Satellite Motion
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of this topic is to better understand and utilize the dynamics of relative satellite motion (i.e., the motion of one satellite with respect to one or more other satellites).  This topic encompasses both close-proximity scenarios (i.e. cluster/formation missions and rendezvous/proximity operations missions) and scenarios where the satellites are not necessarily on closely neighboring orbits.  An example of the latter scenario is space-based tracking and orbit determination of space objects.  Areas of relevant research include:   Modeling of Relative Orbit Dynamics: The relative motion between two or more satellites can be modeled in unique ways.  The governing equations for such motion can account for a variety of physical phenomena and, as such, maybe either linear or nonlinear, time-varying or time-invariant.  Of particular interest is the formulation of governing equations that incorporate particular phenomena, closed-form solutions to new or existing equations, and characterizing relative dynamics in non-Cartesian (e.g. orbit element) fashion.   Relative Navigation for Satellite Systems: Relative navigation entails accurate estimation of the relative state (position and velocity) of one satellite with respect to another, given available measurements.  These may include GPS, intersatellite ranging, line-of-sight, and light curve data.  Again, this research area encompasses a wide range of orbital regimes, including both close-proximity and larger separation scenarios.  Of particular interest is improved filter design, enhanced on-board autonomy (i.e. minimum interaction from the ground), and angles-only observability (i.e. when only line-of-sight is available).   Guidance/Control Algorithms for Relative Satellite Motion: Satellites flying in close proximity have unique control requirements. The versatility of satellite cluster missions allows for reconfiguration of the satellites to perform different missions or to account for the addition or deletion of members to the cluster. Of particular interest is the development of open- and/or closed-loop control algorithms for relative satellite trajectories and optimization of these trajectories. The former area may involve both centralized and decentralized control, as well as hierarchical control; while the latter area may involve both conventional (e.g. LQR, gradient-based) and modern (e.g. genetic algorithm) optimization schemes.  In addition to close-proximity maneuvering, it is also desired to utilize relative motion-based techniques for maneuver planning of a single satellite, whether based on conventional methods (e.g., Lambert transfer) or lesser known methods (e.g., hodograph theory).
Contact mentor

Guidance, Navigation, and Control Involving Relative Satellite Motion
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The goal of this topic is to better understand and utilize the dynamics of relative satellite motion (i.e., the motion of one satellite with respect to one or more other satellites).  This topic encompasses both close-proximity scenarios (i.e. cluster/formation missions and rendezvous/proximity operations missions) and scenarios where the satellites are not necessarily on closely neighboring orbits.  An example of the latter scenario is space-based tracking and orbit determination of space objects.  Areas of relevant research include:   Modeling of Relative Orbit Dynamics: The relative motion between two or more satellites can be modeled in unique ways.  The governing equations for such motion can account for a variety of physical phenomena and, as such, maybe either linear or nonlinear, time-varying or time-invariant.  Of particular interest is the formulation of governing equations that incorporate particular phenomena, closed-form solutions to new or existing equations, and characterizing relative dynamics in non-Cartesian (e.g. orbit element) fashion.   Relative Navigation for Satellite Systems: Relative navigation entails accurate estimation of the relative state (position and velocity) of one satellite with respect to another, given available measurements.  These may include GPS, intersatellite ranging, line-of-sight, and light curve data.  Again, this research area encompasses a wide range of orbital regimes, including both close-proximity and larger separation scenarios.  Of particular interest is improved filter design, enhanced on-board autonomy (i.e. minimum interaction from the ground), and angles-only observability (i.e. when only line-of-sight is available).   Guidance/Control Algorithms for Relative Satellite Motion: Satellites flying in close proximity have unique control requirements. The versatility of satellite cluster missions allows for reconfiguration of the satellites to perform different missions or to account for the addition or deletion of members to the cluster. Of particular interest is the development of open- and/or closed-loop control algorithms for relative satellite trajectories and optimization of these trajectories. The former area may involve both centralized and decentralized control, as well as hierarchical control; while the latter area may involve both conventional (e.g. LQR, gradient-based) and modern (e.g. genetic algorithm) optimization schemes.  In addition to close-proximity maneuvering, it is also desired to utilize relative motion-based techniques for maneuver planning of a single satellite, whether based on conventional methods (e.g., Lambert transfer) or lesser known methods (e.g., hodograph theory).  
Contact mentor

Guidance, Navigation, and Control Involving Relative Satellite Motion
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
The goal of this topic is to better understand and utilize the dynamics of relative satellite motion (i.e., the motion of one satellite with respect to one or more other satellites).  This topic encompasses both close-proximity scenarios (i.e. cluster/formation missions and rendezvous/proximity operations missions) and scenarios where the satellites are not necessarily on closely neighboring orbits.  An example of the latter scenario is space-based tracking and orbit determination of space objects.  Areas of relevant research include:   Modeling of Relative Orbit Dynamics: The relative motion between two or more satellites can be modeled in unique ways.  The governing equations for such motion can account for a variety of physical phenomena and, as such, maybe either linear or nonlinear, time-varying or time-invariant.  Of particular interest is the formulation of governing equations that incorporate particular phenomena, closed-form solutions to new or existing equations, and characterizing relative dynamics in non-Cartesian (e.g. orbit element) fashion.   Relative Navigation for Satellite Systems: Relative navigation entails accurate estimation of the relative state (position and velocity) of one satellite with respect to another, given available measurements.  These may include GPS, intersatellite ranging, line-of-sight, and light curve data.  Again, this research area encompasses a wide range of orbital regimes, including both close-proximity and larger separation scenarios.  Of particular interest is improved filter design, enhanced on-board autonomy (i.e. minimum interaction from the ground), and angles-only observability (i.e. when only line-of-sight is available).   Guidance/Control Algorithms for Relative Satellite Motion: Satellites flying in close proximity have unique control requirements. The versatility of satellite cluster missions allows for reconfiguration of the satellites to perform different missions or to account for the addition or deletion of members to the cluster. Of particular interest is the development of open- and/or closed-loop control algorithms for relative satellite trajectories and optimization of these trajectories. The former area may involve both centralized and decentralized control, as well as hierarchical control; while the latter area may involve both conventional (e.g. LQR, gradient-based) and modern (e.g. genetic algorithm) optimization schemes.  In addition to close-proximity maneuvering, it is also desired to utilize relative motion-based techniques for maneuver planning of a single satellite, whether based on conventional methods (e.g., Lambert transfer) or lesser known methods (e.g., hodograph theory).
Contact mentor

Heterogenous Computing Architectures for Spacecraft GNC
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Several scientific and engineering disciplines have reaped the benefits of heterogeneous computing architectures and have seen impressive advances in recent years (e.g., high-performance computing). Miniaturization has allowed for high-performance, low power, and low-cost System-on-Modules (SOMs), such as the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, to permeate the embedded computing marketplace. The maturity of these systems is rapidly improving, with some embedded systems (e.g., Xavier by NVIDIA) reaching Automotive Safety Integrity Level D, ISO 26262 -- most stringent level of functional safety for automotive applications. These rapidly maturing embedded systems could soon find their way into spacecraft. In this research effort, it is desired to explore the potential of a heterogeneous computing architecture for spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control.
Contact mentor

Heterogenous Computing Architectures for Spacecraft GNC
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Several scientific and engineering disciplines have reaped the benefits of heterogeneous computing architectures and have seen impressive advances in recent years (e.g., high-performance computing). Miniaturization has allowed for high-performance, low power, and low-cost System-on-Modules (SOMs), such as the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, to permeate the embedded computing marketplace. The maturity of these systems is rapidly improving, with some embedded systems (e.g., Xavier by NVIDIA) reaching Automotive Safety Integrity Level D, ISO 26262 -- most stringent level of functional safety for automotive applications. These rapidly maturing embedded systems could soon find their way into spacecraft. In this research effort, it is desired to explore the potential of a heterogeneous computing architecture for spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control. It is highly desired if this topic is in-line with your thesis or dissertation work.
Contact mentor

High intensity laser-matter interactions
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jennifer Elle, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The ultrashort pulse laser (USPL) group is seeking young scientists and engineers to join the USPL team.  Students will direct USPL systems to gas or solid targets and study the resulting fast timescale plasma dynamics.  Topics under investigation include laser wakefield acceleration, filamentation, and laser-solid or laser-gas interactions.  Students will learn the basics of USPL operation, assist with the design and implementation of experimental hardware, build diagnostics, and perform data acquisition and analysis.
Contact mentor

High Power Electromagnetic Interactions in Plasmas and High Temperature Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brad Hoff, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate is interested in the development of laboratory-scale experiments and associated diagnostics for the purposes of validating analytical and computational plasma chemistry models related to HPM-driven plasmas.  An additional area of interest involves modeling and experimental study of interactions between high temperature materials and high power millimeter wave beams as related to beamed energy propulsion and power beaming applications.
Contact mentor

High Power Electromagnetic Interactions in Plasmas and High Temperature Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brad Hoff, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate is interested in the development of laboratory-scale experiments and associated diagnostics for the purposes of validating analytical and computational plasma chemistry models related to HPM-driven plasmas.  An additional area of interest involves modeling and experimental study of interactions between high temperature materials and high power millimeter wave beams as related to beamed energy propulsion and power beaming applications.
Contact mentor

High power fiber amplifiers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brian Matthew Anderson, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Development of high power fiber amplifiers involves the careful optimization and study of several optical nonlinear effects, such as: the Kerr nonlinearity, thermal mode instabilities, and stimulated Brillouin scattering. Although these phenomenon are well known, understanding and mitigating their effects in high power systems is an ongoing problem. Several experimental opportunities exists, including the study of four-wave mixing, parametric gain and the Kerr nonlinearity in high power fiber amplifiers, and the study of novel phase modulation techniques to suppress stimulated Brillouin scattering.
Contact mentor

High-Power Optical Hollow-Core Fiber R&D
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew A Cooper, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is investigating the uses for a Hollow-Core Fiber (HCF) as both a laser source and as a delivery fiber.  A delivery fiber is a coupling device which couples the laser output of a laser source to another location in an application platform where the needed energy is critical such as a laser beam director.  Delivery fibers have been studied for low-power communications and sensing applications but not for high-energy situations.  This project entails the experimental characterization of a HCF for use as a delivery fiber of a multi-kilowatt laser.  The student will help design, conduct, and analyze the characterization experiment.  Time permitting, the student will also model the results, and use those models to investigate potential new HCF designs for improved optical handling characteristics. This project may be modified to the background and interest of the student.
Contact mentor

High speed aero-optics laboratory
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Donald Joseph Wittich, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Lasers projected from an aircraft need to stay focused as they pass through the air that has been disturbed by that same aircraft.  Conversely, light which is being received by the aircraft, e.g. for imaging systems, also needs to be focused after it has passed through the same flow field.  In some cases, the turbulent air disturbances are severe enough to severely distort the light, preventing it from properly focusing.  The study of these interactions has been described as "aero-optics".  AFRL is interested in understanding and minimizing aero-optic distortions for a variety of applications.  Opportunities for summer aero-optic research at AFRL include experimental studies of turbulence such as turbulent boundary layers and shear layers as well as the development of appropriate diagnostic instrumentation (e.g. schlieren, wavefront sensing, laser induced fluorescence, pressure sensitive paint, etc.).   Computational (CFD) opportunities also exists to design aero-optic experiments and to develop accurate aero-optic CFD solutions.
Contact mentor

High-Speed Aero-Optics Laboratory
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Donald Joseph Wittich, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Lasers projected from an aircraft need to stay focused as they pass through the air that has been disturbed by that same aircraft. Conversely, light which is being received by the aircraft, e.g. for imaging systems, also needs to be focused after it has passed through the same flow field. In some cases, the turbulent air disturbances are severe enough to severely distort the light, preventing it from properly focusing. The study of these interactions has been described as "aero-optics".  AFRL is interested in understanding and predicting aero-optic distortions for a variety of applications. This opportunity involves participation in aero-optic research at AFRL including wind-tunnel experiments and data analysis.  Example studies may include investigations of turbulent boundary layers, shear layers or turbulent wakes.   In addition to traditional flow measurement sensors (e.g. pressure and velocity), Summer Scholars will have the opportunity to work with flow diagnostic techniques such wavefront sensing and schlieren/shadowgraph techniques.
Contact mentor

High Temperature Fracture Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methodologies and tools to improve the quality and accuracy of target vulnerability laser requirements. Understanding the strength of materials at elevated temperatures is crucial to evaluating the response of systems under extreme thermal conditions.  We are developing numerical simulations to predict the strength degradation and failure of metal components under rapid heating.  The candidate will help characterize an elevated temperature strength model and apply it to the prediction of component failure using commercial finite element software.
Contact mentor

High temperature fragment penetration of passive armor material
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on the development of a novel elevated temperature continuum damage model for predicting the penetration of fragments into elevated temperature armor materials to determine the change in ballistic limit as a function of temperature.  The work will include the analysis of experimental data, numerical simulations and model validation comparisons which could lead to a peer review journal publication.  The scope of the project can be tailored to accommodate the experience and capability of the applicant.
Contact mentor

HPM Parameter Sensitivity Analysis
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ashar Ali, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
We will use the AFRL's Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell (ICEPIC) code along with the Sandia National Lab's Design Analysis Kit for Optimization and Terascale Applications (DAKOTA), to study the sensitivity of high powered microwave devices to various design parameters. ICEPIC will be used for rapid modeling and protyping of the microwave devices whereas DAKOTA will guide the design in ICEPIC and perform the sensitivity analysis. The two softwares coupled together will use the DoD's massively parallel supercomputing resources to perform these intense calculations. It is hoped that we will gain some insight as to which paramters are important in HPM design and which ones can be safely ignored for a given type of device with specified constraints.
Contact mentor

Human-Robot Interaction in Agile Manufacturing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rafael Fierro, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
In an agile manufacturing environment, robots should be able to collaborate with human users and adapt to new assembly requirements and constraints. The basic goal of human-robot interaction (HRI) is to develop interfaces that enable natural communication and safe interaction with robotic systems. In most HRI applications collision avoidance is achieved by a minimum safety distance. However, effective interaction may require physical contact between robot and human. This project aims at developing a human-robot interface that allows a robot to understand basic human commands (i.e., gestures) and assist the human in an assembly task. The work involves integration of machine learning, computer vision, and motion planning algorithms.  

A Baxter from Rethink Robotics and a WAM robot from Barrett Technologies are available for this project. A variety of sensors including a ZED stereo camera, LIDAR, and IMU can be used to sense the robot’s environment and human actions. The Robot Operating System (ROS) provides the software framework for the project. The task for the robot-human team is to assembly a simple spacecraft.
Contact mentor

Image Compression using GPUs
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Carballo Pineda, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The objective of this project will be to port and optimize an image compression algorithm previously developed under Air Force sponsorship to run on NVidia-based graphics processing units (GPUs). The performance of the GPU version of the algorithm will be compared against other implementations developed by AFRL contractors for conventional microprocessors and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) both for speed and where possible for energy usage. Students will develop on a variety of platforms including workstation-class systems with GPUs and low-power embedded systems.
Contact mentor

Image Compression using GPUs
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Carballo Pineda, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The objective of this project will be to port and optimize an image compression algorithm previously developed under Air Force sponsorship to run on NVidia-based graphics processing units (GPUs). The performance of the GPU version of the algorithm will be compared against other implementations developed by AFRL contractors for conventional microprocessors and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) both for speed and where possible for energy usage. Students will develop on a variety of platforms including workstation-class systems with GPUs and low-power embedded systems.
Contact mentor

Imaging and tracking simulation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Noah Richard Van Zandt, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Optical tracking systems, such as those used by the military, attempt to track moving/maneuvering targets, or sometimes regions or features on such targets. A number of degradations hamper such efforts, including camera noise, sun glints, weather, atmospheric turbulence, optical speckle, and a number of emerging factors which require more research. The software package known as PITBUL allows one to model the performance of a tracking system against various targets under various conditions. PITBUL is a physics-based simulation package written in Matlab using object oriented programing (OOP). It requires frequent physics additions, feature additions, testing, and bug fixes. The scholar will spend roughly two thirds of the summer assisting in those efforts. The exact tasks will depend upon both current priorities and scholar interests. A portion of the tasks may involve physics/feature additions necessary to support AFRL laser weapon research programs. During the last third of the summer, the scholar will run the software to conduct tracking research in support of one such program. The scope and depth of the research will be adjusted to match the scholar’s background and interests.
Contact mentor

Imaging ionospheric structures using advanced HF radio telescopes
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jeffrey Morgan Holmes, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The ionized region of the upper atmosphere - the ionosphere - is known to affect radio waves by reflection and refraction.  When the ionosphere is smooth and featureless, its effect on radio waves is well understood and accounted for in many applications, GNSS position and timing corrections being one example.  But often there are large gradients, small-scale irregularities and other phenomena that disrupt radio waves.  Those are one ionospheric manifestation of space weather.  The ionosphere/thermosphere research group has partnered with U. New Mexico radio astronomers to use highly sensitive imaging radio telescopes to observe ionospheric fluctuations via tracking the motion of the reflection point of HF transmissions.  Signal sources include both ionospheric sounders and emissions from lightning strikes.  The radio telescopes' high fidelity and imaging capabilities have never before been applied to ionospheric research, and represent a unique opportunity to participate in radio science and space physics experiments at the leading edge of what is currently possible.
Contact mentor

Impact of Layered or Structured Turbulence on Imaging and Beam Propagation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Noah Richard Van Zandt, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Turbulence in the air degrades our ability to image clearly over long distances. It also prevents us from tightly focusing laser energy. Adaptive optics systems can correct for turbulence, but their performance is highly dependent upon the turbulence strength. This research will use computer simulation to investigate the impact of layered and/or structured turbulence on imaging and laser beams. It will benefit applications such as target tracking, remote sensing, laser weapons, and laser communications. Although we have a good understanding of the strength of turbulence both near the surface and at high altitudes, recent measurements for intermediate altitudes (100 m to 5,000 m) have shown some unexpected patterns. The strength of the turbulence can change very quickly with altitude. It can also change rapidly over small changes in horizontal position. This research will simulate a beam propagating through such turbulence. It will use data from experimental measurements and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to define the turbulence strength versus both altitude and position. It will compare the beams after propagation through realistic turbulence to those after propagation through standard turbulence models. The results will determine whether or not layered and/or structured turbulence is a significant factor which requires further research. The scope and depth of the research will be tailored to fit the scholar’s background and could be directed towards optics, engineering, computer programming, or mathematics.
Contact mentor

Impact of Layered or Structured Turbulence on Imaging and Beam Propagation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Noah Richard Van Zandt, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Turbulence in the air degrades our ability to image clearly over long distances. It also prevents us from tightly focusing laser energy. Adaptive optics systems can correct for turbulence, but their performance is highly dependent upon the turbulence strength. This research will use computer simulation to investigate the impact of layered and/or structured turbulence on imaging and laser beams. It will benefit applications such as target tracking, remote sensing, laser weapons, and laser communications. Although we have a good understanding of the strength of turbulence both near the surface and at high altitudes, recent measurements for intermediate altitudes (100 m to 5,000 m) have shown some unexpected patterns. The strength of the turbulence can change very quickly with altitude. It can also change rapidly over small changes in horizontal position. This research will simulate a beam propagating through such turbulence. It will use data from experimental measurements and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to define the turbulence strength versus both altitude and position. It will compare the beams after propagation through realistic turbulence to those after propagation through standard turbulence models. The results will determine whether or not layered and/or structured turbulence is a significant factor which requires further research. The scope and depth of the research will be tailored to fit the scholar’s background and could be directed towards optics, engineering, computer programming, or mathematics.
Contact mentor

Impact of strong atmospheric turbulence
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Venkata Gudimetla, Directed Energy
Location: AMOS
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Prospective DE scholar,  preferably a graduate student ,  will  examine the impact of strong atmospheric turbulence in spatial, temporal, and related spectral domains using Large Eddy Simulation (LES) turbulence modeling.  LES turbulence modeling allows us to study strong fluid turbulence and is able to predict advection-dissipation at various energy spectrums.  Therefore, this choice of model allows us to characterize turbulence at outer and inner regimes important for correcting the effects of optical turbulence over long-distance laser beam propagation.  We conduct Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations of atmospheric turbulence to realistic three-dimensional systems that better represent the geography of the summits between Maui and Hawaii, where long range laser propagation measurements were conducted.
Contact mentor

Improving computer aided design (CAD) target geometry model (TGM) development methodologies, converters and integration for laser vulnerability assessments
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael Peter Sheyka, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Directorate  is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methodologies and tools to improve the quality and accuracy of target vulnerability laser requirements.  An important step in determining laser requirements is the development of a computer aided design (CAD) target model and its associated materials, geometric parameters, and critical components. AFRL is required to generate target models in a variety of CAD formats that will appropriately capture laser material interaction when used in laser thermal solvers.  This project will focus on improving high fidelity target geometry model (TGM) development, workflow efficiency in converting between CAD formats and integrating these products into high energy laser vulnerability assessments.
Contact mentor

Infrared Detector Characterization Studies
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Diana Maestas, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Applicant will be characterizing various types of infrared detectors using an established experimental setup. Measurements of quantum efficiency and dark-current on test chips with various sized pixels will be performed. Possibility exists for characterization to be performed at remote radiation sites as well.
Contact mentor

Intelligent Robotic Assembly of Spacecraft
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Shelly Ann Gruenig, PhD, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Advanced manufacturing techniques are taking an increasing role throughout industry.  Intelligent robotic assembly of products has the potential to have a massive impact on the future of how things are built, particularly resulting in a sizeable increase of both productivity and quality.  Accomplishing this assembly requires a multifaceted approach to robotics that entails a talented coordination of machine learning, machine vision, image processing, forward/inverse kinematics and end effector manipulation, among a multitude of other supporting tools.

This project uses a Baxter Robot from Rethink Robotics, Inc.  Baxter has two functional arms and a variety of sensors with analog/digital IO capability, including accelerometers, IR range, sonar, and cameras.  Python, C++, Robot Operating System (ROS), MATLAB and other such programming languages are the primary means of manipulating Baxter.  This project will explore the robotics topics (listed in the above paragraph) from current literature and the open source community and use them to program Baxter towards assembly of a  simple satellite analog as a demonstration of intelligent robotic assembly.
Contact mentor

Interactions of electrospray propulsion systems and Earth's atmosphere
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Benjamin Douglas Prince, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Electrospray thrusters using ionic liquid propellants are next-generation propulsion systems that may be well-suited for in-space propulsion for small spacecraft. The ultimate environmental fate of the emitted propellants is largely unknown. In this project, the selected student will participate in experimental investigations into the interactions of ionic liquid ion clusters and atmospherically-relevant species in high vacuum laboratory chambers. Products of collisions/interactions between the two will be investigated using mass spectrometric techniques and other detection approaches. Results from these investigations will inform models in development to better predict contamination hazards to spacecraft using these systems.
Contact mentor

Investigating Optical Nonlinearities in High Power Microstructured Fiber Amplifiers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ben Pulford, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Fiber lasers have a number of advantages over conventional solid states lasers including diffraction limited beam quality, excellent thermal management properties, and high optical to optical conversion efficiencies. Unfortunately, the maximum output power achievable from an individual fiber laser is severely limited by intensity dependent nonlinear effects and detrimental thermal effects encountered in the laser gain media; most commonly: stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS), stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), and modal instabilities (MI). To overcome these effects we are exploring novel microstructured fiber designs that mitigate optical nonlinearities and thermal impediments, enabling further amplifier power scaling. As part of our research team the student will develop diagnostic tools to quantify nonlinear and thermal effects in optical fiber, utilize this information to create novel microstructured fiber designs, and participate in fiber amplifier power scaling experiments. Over the course of the summer the student will: 1. learn the physical principles of optical waveguides and laser amplification, 2. develop a foundational understanding of nonlinear effects present in high power fiber amplifiers, 3. gain experience with software suites including Mathematica, MATLAB, LabVIEW, and (potentially) COMSOL, and 4. participate in the development of diagnostic tools to characterize nonlinear and thermal effects in optical fibers.
Contact mentor

Investigating Optical Nonlinearities in High Power Microstructured Fiber Amplifiers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ben Pulford, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Fiber lasers have a number of advantages over conventional solid states lasers including diffraction limited beam quality, excellent thermal management properties, and high optical to optical conversion efficiencies. Unfortunately, the maximum output power achievable from an individual fiber laser is severely limited by intensity dependent nonlinear effects and detrimental thermal effects encountered in the laser gain media; most commonly: stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS), stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), and modal instabilities (MI). To overcome these effects we are exploring novel microstructured fiber designs that mitigate optical nonlinearities and thermal impediments, enabling further amplifier power scaling. As part of our research team the student will develop diagnostic tools to quantify nonlinear and thermal effects in optical fiber, utilize this information to create novel microstructured fiber designs, and participate in fiber amplifier power scaling experiments. Over the course of the summer the student will: 1. learn the physical principles of optical waveguides and laser amplification, 2. develop a foundational understanding of nonlinear effects present in high power fiber amplifiers, 3. gain experience with software suites including Mathematica, MATLAB, LabVIEW, and (potentially) COMSOL, and 4. participate in the development of diagnostic tools to characterize nonlinear and thermal effects in optical fibers.
Contact mentor

Investigation into Commercial Resiliency Security Tool (Colorado Springs, CO)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Sivilli, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The internship for this project is located in Colorado Springs, CO.   Scholars will reside in Colorado Springs, CO, for the duration of the internship.

Explore commercial capabilities to test and stress highly available, highly secure systems (ex. Netflix's Simian Army) to evaluate and improve government developed systems. Ideally, this will lead to a self-contained assessment suite for existing systems to enable the informed, capability focused, refactoring, redesigning or otherwise improvement of said systems.
Contact mentor

Investigation of enhanced emission from bismuth in the 1300 to 1500 nm range
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Leanne Joan Henry, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
This project involves the development of glasses with enhanced bismuth emission in the 1300 to 1500 nm region.  Possible ways to influence the luminescence of bismuth would be through alternations of the glass matrix, preparation conditions, as well as through the addition of co-dopants.  The scientific literature will be reviewed and a project plan developed and executed.  The project will most likely involve the fabrication of several concentration series of glasses followed by absorption and luminescence analysis.  The student will prepare the glasses in the glass fabrication lab and perform the analysis.
Contact mentor

Investigation of Event-based Cameras for Optical Tracking and High-speed Adaptive Optics Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Nicholas John Morley, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Recent advancements in neuromorphic vision sensors have resulted in development practical asynchronous cameras that overcome some of the limitations of traditional frame-based cameras.  Specifically, since these devices are sensitive to the scene dynamics and directly respond to changes, they offer the potential of dramatic improvements high dynamic range, high-speed operation, and sensor-level data compression. Because of the relatively recent advancements in spiking event-driven sensors, their utility for many applications remains unexplored.  This project will specifically look at the potential of event-based sensors, such as Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS), Asynchronous Time-based Sensor (ATIS) and Dynamic and Active-pixel Vision Sensor (DAVIS), to outperform traditional frame-based cameras in complex multi-object tracking and adaptive optics applications.  The Directed Energy Scholar would investigate the ability of each of these change detection and measurement architectures to improve SNR, speed and overall performance for one or more these directed energy application as impacts of trading temporal and spatial resolution with the sensors.
Contact mentor

IR Transparent Conductors
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: John Bryan Plumley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Space Vehicles Directorate is actively pursuing ways to fabricate an IR transparent conductor to be used in thermal space applications. One approach is to apply a thin conductive film to an IR transparent substrate, but the issues that arise are thin film adhesion and too narrow of an IR transmission window from either the conductive film or the substrate. In addition, IR transparent substrates generally have too low of a melting point to withstand high temperature annealing of the conductive thin film. Alternatively, what would be of interest from the applicant is the development of an intrinsically conductive IR transparent polymer that could be efficiently processed in the lab and characterized and tested as an electrode for electroplating metal.
Contact mentor

IR Transparent Conductors
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: John Bryan Plumley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
The Space Vehicles Directorate is actively pursuing ways to fabricate an IR transparent conductor to be used in thermal space applications. One approach is to apply a thin conductive film to an IR transparent substrate, but the issues that arise are thin film adhesion and too narrow of an IR transmission window from either the conductive film or the substrate. In addition, IR transparent substrates generally have too low of a melting point to withstand high temperature annealing of the conductive thin film. Alternatively, what would be of interest from the applicant is the development of an intrinsically conductive IR transparent polymer that could be efficiently processed in the lab and characterized and tested as an electrode for electroplating metal.
Contact mentor

Kinetic Theory Modeling for Femtosecond Laser Pulse Interaction
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michael D White, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The computational physics group is seeking motivated researchers to investigate numerical modeling of laser air interaction, ionization and filament generation.  The early stages of filamentation is dominated by non-equilibrium electron dynamics and are modeled using kinetic theory. The student will work closely with their mentor and other in-house researchers in exploring this topic.
Contact mentor

Laboratory Research Experience for K-12 Educators
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas L Peng, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Are you an elementary, middle, or high school educator interested in learning firsthand how the math and science you teach in class is applied to develop new technologies and expand our understanding of the natural world? Consider spending this summer working fulltime at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in a chemical laboratory seeking to develop adaptive technology capable of changing their properties to meet new mission conditions or objectives. The candidate selected for this position will be tasked with working with AFRL researchers to characterize the features of engineered surfaces, assess optical properties, track changes when different stresses are applied, analyze the electrochemical behavior of nascent technologies, assess how much energy can be extracted from various power sources, and fabricate prototypes of novel devices capitalizing on recent discoveries. It is hoped that introducing the candidate selected for this position to such a variety of fields will impart a broader understanding on how basic research and technology development is conducted. This understanding, it is hoped, will subsequently enrich the lessons the educator provides when they return to teaching in the fall. Though welcome, candidates considered for this position do not have to have a background in science or prior experience working in a laboratory. All required training will be provided on site. The key metric upon which candidates for this position will be evaluated is the extent it is believed that the candidate can share their experience with their students and inspire them to explore topics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Contact mentor

Let’s Make Adaptive Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas L Peng, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Interested in learning how what you have been taught in science class can lead to new technology for everyday life? Try spending a summer working at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate on creating adaptive materials capable of altering their properties to meet new mission requirements. The high school student selected for this project will be tasked with working alongside AFRL researchers to develop this agile technology by applying basic research. This work can involve synthesizing new chemicals, developing new electrolytes, fabricating novel devices, and assessing materials properties. Experience with computer programing and participating in events like science fairs are a plus, however all required training will be provided on-site.
Contact mentor

Machine Learning Applications to SSA
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Justin Ryan Fletcher, Directed Energy
Location: AMOS
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Space Situational Awareness (SSA) mission requires accurate identification and discrimination of resident space objects (RSOs). In order to accurately track RSOs, care must be taken to avoid the cross-tagging of objects which appear in close proximity to one another. This problem is particularly difficult when one, or both closely-space objects perform maneuvers. In deep space, this data association problem is further complicated by the inability to obtain spatially-resolved imagery. 

The proposed research involves the development of a machine learning technique to "fingerprint" RSOs using their photometric light curve. As supervised data from the SSA domain is sparse, an unsupervised learning technique is recommended. The students responsibilities will include the acquisition, framing, and pre-processing of SSA data from local subject matter experts at that Advanced Maui Optical Site (AMOS), as well as the selection, with guidance, of an appropriate learning technique. The student will be expected to perform rigorous statistical analysis of the constructed learning algorithm, in order to estimate the generalization error.
Contact mentor

Machine Learning for Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Carballo Pineda, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project will explore machine learning/deep learning approaches to performing image processing tasks that are traditionally done using computationally intensive and memory intensive algorithms. Among the tasks to be explored are image classification and feature extraction using simulated image data.  Projects will make use of neuromorphic processor chips or graphical processing units (GPUs) depending upon the student’s interest and level of expertise. Software frameworks include PetaVision, CUDA, OpenCL, etc. Machine learning frameworks might include PetaVision, cuDNN, Caffe or TensorFlow.
Contact mentor

Machine Learning for Space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Carballo Pineda, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
This project will explore machine learning/deep learning approaches to performing image processing tasks that are traditionally done using computationally intensive and memory intensive algorithms. Among the tasks to be explored are image classification and feature extraction using simulated image data.  Projects will make use of neuromorphic processor chips or graphical processing units (GPUs) depending upon the student’s interest and level of expertise. Software frameworks include PetaVision, CUDA, OpenCL, etc. Machine learning frameworks might include PetaVision, cuDNN, Caffe or TensorFlow.
Contact mentor

Mechanistic studies of catalysis in the gas phas
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Shaun Gerald Ard, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
The AF has interest in developing catalytic species for applications such as solar fuels; however, development is hampered by a lack of understanding of the mechanisms by which these processes occur. We aim to decipher these mechanisms through a combination of gas phase experimental studies, quantum chemical calculations, and kinetic modeling. Experiments will focus on either biomimetic species or metal cations, measuring the temperature dependent kinetics for systems of interest using a Selected Ion Flow Tube apparatus equipped with a variety of ion sources (electrospray, electron impact, chemical ionization, solids probe, laser vaporization). The (generally complicated) potential surfaces of these systems will be determined using quantum chemical calculations (e.g. Gaussian), and finally information on the mechanisms will be extracted by kinetic modeling of those surfaces to fit to the experimental results.
Contact mentor

Millimeter Wave Applications R&D
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Anthony Eloy Baros, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
This project will involve working in the AFRL/RDHP millimeter-wave (mmW) test and measurement laboratory. The selected applicant will have the opportunity to assist our team in the development of materials which have dielectric, thermal, and mechanical properties suitable for use in a variety of applications of interest to the DOD. This will involve mastery and use of laboratory equipment such as a  Vector Network Analyzer (VNA),  Vacuum Induction Furnace, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras and software. In addition, the selected applicant will assist in the development and operation of Vacuum Electron Device (VED)-based mmW sources, such as Extended Interaction Klystron (EIK) systems and gyrotron-based systems, from low to high power (10's of watts to 100 kilo-watt), both continuous-wave (CW) and repetition-rate. These sources are used to produce the mmW radiation used in the material development efforts. The selected applicant may also have the opportunity to develop skills in performing free-space microwave material measurements using focused Gaussian beams. The majority of the work is anticipated to be in an indoor laboratory and office setting, but may also include to a lesser extent working outdoors at the site of our high-power millimeter wave transmitting system, and/or at an outdoor test range environment.
Contact mentor

Millimeter Wave Applications R&D
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Anthony Eloy Baros, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters
This project will involve working in the AFRL/RDHP millimeter-wave (mmW) test and measurement laboratory. The selected applicant will have the opportunity to assist our team in the development of materials which have dielectric, thermal, and mechanical properties suitable for use in a variety of applications of interest to the DOD. This will involve mastery and use of laboratory equipment such as a  Vector Network Analyzer (VNA),  Vacuum Induction Furnace, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras and software. In addition, the selected applicant will assist in the development and operation of Vacuum Electron Device (VED)-based mmW sources, such as Extended Interaction Klystron (EIK) systems and gyrotron-based systems, from low to high power (10's of watts to 100 kilo-watt), both continuous-wave (CW) and repetition-rate. These sources are used to produce the mmW radiation used in the material development efforts. The selected applicant may also have the opportunity to develop skills in performing free-space microwave material measurements using focused Gaussian beams. The majority of the work is anticipated to be in an indoor laboratory and office setting, but may also include to a lesser extent working outdoors at the site of our high-power millimeter wave transmitting system, and/or at an outdoor test range environment.
Contact mentor

Misc. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Projects
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Connie Sue Runyan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters
The Infrastructure Management Branch (RVOI) of AFRL administers the RV and RD directorate's facility’s needs, through planning, programming, design, and construction including providing architectural solutions. This includes the development of graphic studies in the areas of sustainable design (identifying and implementing energy cost strategies to existing facilities), new facility projects, facility remodeling projects,  facility condition inspections (ICI program), and other misc architecture and engineering design solutions including developing Antiterrorism Force Protection for AFRL's campus. Our program for 2019 Scholars will offer those involved in Architecture and Engineering disciplines the opportunity to have hands on experience within their given fields.
RVOI oversees all PRS facilities and these positions support multiple RV and RD programs.
Targeted Scholars: High School, Late Undergrads, Graduate Students:  Architecture, Civil, Construction Management, and Mechanical Engineering degree programs
Contact mentor

Misc. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Projects
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Connie Sue Runyan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The Infrastructure Management Branch (RVOI) of AFRL administers the RV and RD directorate's facility’s needs, through planning, programming, design, and construction including providing architectural solutions. This includes the development of graphic studies in the areas of sustainable design (identifying and implementing energy cost strategies to existing facilities), new facility projects, facility remodeling projects,  facility condition inspections (ICI program), and other misc architecture and engineering design solutions including developing Antiterrorism Force Protection for AFRL's campus. Our program for 2019 Scholars will offer those involved in Architecture and Engineering disciplines the opportunity to have hands on experience within their given fields.
RVOI oversees all PRS facilities and these positions support multiple RV and RD programs.
Contact mentor

Misc. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Projects
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Connie Sue Runyan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
The Infrastructure Management Branch (RVOI) of AFRL administers the RV and RD directorate's facility’s needs, through planning, programming, design, and construction including providing architectural solutions. This includes the development of graphic studies in the areas of sustainable design (identifying and implementing energy cost strategies to existing facilities), new facility projects, facility remodeling projects,  facility condition inspections (ICI program), and other misc architecture and engineering design solutions including developing Antiterrorism Force Protection for AFRL's campus. Our program for 2019 Scholars will offer those involved in Architecture and Engineering disciplines the opportunity to have hands on experience within their given fields.
RVOI oversees all PRS facilities and these positions support multiple RV and RD programs.
Contact mentor

Modeling and Simulation Analysis of DEW Experimentation Campaign Experiments 1A, 1B, and 2
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Stephen Charles Sieck, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) Experimentation Campaign will be exploring current Directed Energy systems that could be rapidly employed. The campaign will be conducting experiments over the next four years and requires mission-level modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A) to translate engagement data collected during test into a Military Utility Assessment (MUA). The RDMW branch will be completing mission-level MS&A and wargames in Summer 2019 to show military utility of systems.  RDMW is seeking an intern who would like to support senior analyst in developing mission-level  analysis in AFSIM and analyzing the results.
Contact mentor

Modeling and simulation long duration photometry
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas Ryan Swindle, Directed Energy
Location: AMOS
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Air Force Maui Optical & Supercomputing (AMOS) site has access to several ground-based optical 
telescopes with a wide range of utilities. The student will use the data collected with these 
telescopes and analyze long-duration photometry (and/or polarimetry and/or velocimetry) collected 
on both astronomical and man-made space objects by modeling and simulation. The goal is to develop 
models to analyze the short- and long-duration seismic activities.
Contact mentor

Modeling of Lasers, Beam Control, and Laser Effects
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Timothy J Madden, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Laser Division Modeling Program explores the mathematics, physics, and computer science related aspects of simulation of lasers, control of laser beams, and laser effects.  The fundamental physics of these laser related processes and their mathematical description are explored in depth, coded, and executed on a variety of computer architectures ranging from multi-core workstations to supercomputers having 10’s to 100’s of thousands of processors.  Problems of interest include simulation of laser beam propagation; computational fluid dynamics simulation of external and internal reacting and non-reacting flows; finite-element structural mechanics analysis of material failure induced by laser effects; simulation of fiber lasers and bulk solid state lasers; and simulation of laser resonators to name a few.  Beam control problems can go beyond these physics to include control theory relevant to the shaping of laser beam propagation characteristics.  Technical disciplines relevant to this research include physics; electrical, mechanical, chemical, and aerospace engineering; physical chemistry; applied mathematics; computational physics; computational science; and computer science.  Technical areas include laser physics, optical science, solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, combustion, control theory, mathematics, computer science, and computational physics.  An auxiliary discipline to this activity is the representation and visualization of complex data from these simulations, involving the use of complex rendering techniques capable of bringing out subtle aspects of the physics being simulated in a readily understandable format.
Contact mentor

Modeling & Simulation for High-Power Highly Coherent Fiber Amplifiers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Robert Grosek, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Computer simulation of high-power fiber amplifiers is fundamentally about designing and optimizing glass fiber laser systems.  The challenge is to maintain high quality, stable, coherent output light at high-powers.  Under high intensities, the light interacts with the laser medium, leading to thermal issues and optical nonlinearities.  The goal is discover novel experimental configurations and/or advantageous fiber properties and characteristics that suppress any deleterious issues that either reduce the output power or degrade the output beam quality.  Some problems of current interest involve instabilities of dynamical systems, and incorporating complex boundary conditions into wave propagation models.
Contact mentor

Modeling the Solar Induced Fluorescence of Space Vehicle Plumes.
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Justin William Young, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The LaSR Laboratory is interested in modeling and understanding the fluorescence signatures from space vehicle plumes. Space vehicles use a variety of chemical engines to preform maneuvers producing plumes of numerous chemical species unique to the variety of engine.  In the space environment, exhaust plumes are exposed to solar radiation.  Solar radiation causes both fluorescence and decomposition of plume species, which gives another set of fluorescent species.  Due to the variety of chemical species which may be present in exhaust plumes, a kinetic model of the expected fluorescent signatures that includes solar induced breakdown is necessary to describe their signatures.  While much of the spectroscopy of exhaust species is known, there is yet to be a comprehensive description of their interaction with the solar spectrum.  Thus, the goal of this effort is to use the known spectroscopy of exhaust species, and simulate their exposure to the solar spectrum in order to predict the fluorescent signatures of the breakdown process.
Contact mentor

Mueller Matrix Charaterization using Digital Holography
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Nicholas John Morley, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
To provide reliable characterization and a comprehensive understanding of the effect a surface material has on reflected polarized light, the Mueller matrix of the surface material of the illuminated object needs to be determined.  Using the full Mueller matrix to characterize the conversion incoming lights Stokes vector to the Stokes vector of the outgoing light can provide enhanced understanding of optical returns during active illumination.  For complex geometric shapes with variable materials, the process of characterizing with standard ellipsometer can be tedious and time consuming.  By capitalizing on digital holography’s ability to record the image information for the full complex field, it is possible to characterize the 3-D Mueller matrix in a rapid fashion while minimizing the need for multiple scans and reregistration.  This project will investigate improved ways to capture and process polarimetric information on structures of interest to the USAF.  Improving techniques to perform these high fidelity measurements are critical for measuring and correctly interpreting tracked object signatures generated by active returns and/or surface properties used in complex modeling codes.  The Directed Energy Scholar would pursue experimental and analytical research in to generate more flexible polarizations sensitive, multi-dimensional, holographic measurement methods.
Contact mentor

Multiagent Autonomous Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Sean Phillips, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
With upcoming emergent technologies in satellite control and communications, crosslinking communications provide a novel method for transfer of information from multiple heterogeneous platforms across large distances. This domain brings numerous challenges at many levels due to the vast distances required in communications, the complexity of the dynamics and the on-board computational power. This research effort is focused on modeling and simulation of novel automation algorithms for multi-agent space based systems. Namely, we are interested in problems related to coordination of distributed and decentralized multiagent space systems. Research will be performed in both in a simulated environment and in a laboratory test bed, if applicable. Potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor for more information, as well as to discuss specific research ideas for the summer.
Contact mentor

Multiagent Autonomous Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Sean Phillips, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
With upcoming emergent technologies in satellite control and communications, crosslinking communications provide a novel method for transfer of information from multiple heterogeneous platforms across large distances. This domain brings numerous challenges at many levels due to the vast distances required in communications, the complexity of the dynamics and the on-board computational power. This research effort is focused on modeling and simulation of novel automation algorithms for multi-agent space based systems. Namely, we are interested in problems related to coordination of distributed and decentralized multiagent space systems. Research will be performed in both in a simulated environment and in a laboratory test bed, if applicable. Potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor for more information, as well as to discuss specific research ideas for the summer.
Contact mentor

Multidisciplinary Electrochemical Device Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Thomas L Peng, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate is actively investigating ways to introduce adaptive capabilities to space platforms. One approach is to use electrochemical devices capable of driving novel chemical reactions to establish, remove, or tailor the properties of materials to meet mission needs. The candidate selected for this Phillips Scholar Project will be tasked with helping AFRL researchers create novel electrochemical devices and characterizing their properties. This work can involve synthesizing new chemicals, developing new electrolytes, fabricating electrochemical devices, and assessing electrochemical device prototypes. Experience in computer programing, optics, surface science, chemical synthesis, and working in a laboratory environment is a plus, however all required training will be provided on-site.
Contact mentor

Multi-physics Modeling of Multi-Material Aerospace Components Enabled by Additive Manufacturing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Mehran Tehrani, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This research will focus on understanding the thermo-mechanical response of integrated multi-material structures fabricated via additive manufacturing (AM). These structures will serve the structural, thermal, and electrical functions of aerospace components while maintaining a minimum weight. The  above  goal  is  highly  challenging  but  can  be  accomplished  by  understanding  and  improving  interfaces  between  dissimilar  AM  materials. To this end, the student will develop a model to simulate the thermo-mechanical behavior of parts consisting of polymers, fiber reinforced polymers (composites), and wiring. The model will then be validated against experiments.
Contact mentor

Multiscale Modeling Enabled by HPC
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jeanne M Riga, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
For the field of Directed Energy technologies, modeling and simulation on the mission and engagement level allow the user community to assess the military utility of emerging DE technologies and to allocate resources to the maturation of this technology.  The Advanced Framework Development (AFD) program at AFRL is developing framework of simulations on the engagement- and mission-level analyses which take as inputs what is output from the more detailed physics and engineering simulations.  It is necessary to read in the results of more detailed calculations due to the time and computation cost involved in running them in real time. To perform these detailed calculations during the course of military assessment of mission and engagement scenarios, it will be necessary to run these calculations on an HPC.  In this project, the student will develop a workflow to run this multiscale simulation on an HPC using the Galaxy software, a wrapper routine which acts as an interface to the HPC.  The results of HPC calculations will be benchmarked against the known results of a manual workflow.
Contact mentor

New Track Initiation Method for Optical Space Surveillance
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Paul W. Schumacher, Directed Energy
Location: AMOS
Academic Level: Ph.D.
The advent of high-capacity, high-sensitivity optical systems for space surveillance presents us with many interesting tracking problems, the efficient solution of which is critical for the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) mission. The multiple-hypothesis tracking schemes developed over many years for space surveillance with position-type data from radars are insufficient for handling the very large sets of angles-only data from new optical survey telescopes. Hence, new tracking algorithms and techniques need to be developed. Most of the difficulty with large data sets lies in the track-initiation (initial orbit determination) step where the computational complexity is highest. In this step, hypothetical orbits (data association hypotheses) are produced from angles-only data and compared with all other data for likelihood of association. For position-type data, candidate orbits can be formed from pairs of position vectors, leading to computational complexity which is quadratic (“N choose 2”) in the number of observations. However, when angles-only data are treated by a direct method of initial orbit determination, including any of the classical methods, combinations of three observations must be checked, so the computational complexity is always at least cubic (“N choose 3”) in the number of observations. It may be even higher, depending on the method. Quadratic complexity leads to computational requirements that are well within the current capabilities of parallel computing clusters, but cubic or higher complexity leads to unfeasible computing requirements when the number of observations is large. Several years ago, a new approach to track-initiation for optical space surveillance data was proposed, but to date it has not been rigorously tested and evaluated. The complexity of the method is quadratic in the number of angles-only observations but also quadratic in the number of subsidiary hypotheses that must be enumerated for each observation pair. The key feature of this two-tiered algorithm is that it permits a completely new two-tiered approach to parallelization, which in turn may lead to feasible computing requirements for this most computation-intensive part of the overall space surveillance problem. We need to investigate the scalability and performance of this new track-initiation method for angles-only data, and to find efficient ways to implement it on high-performance computing platforms.
Contact mentor

Nonlinear dynamics in spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Sinclair, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project seeks to develop improved methods for spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) through improved understanding of the spacecraft nonlinear dynamics.  Spacecraft translational motion is dominated by orbital dynamics, and the control is often constrained by a limited fuel supply.  Therefore, translational GNC methods generally must be designed to work with these dynamics instead of fighting them.  Spacecraft attitude motion is governed by the particular structure of rotational dynamics, and robust performance of attitude GNC methods depends on careful adherence to this structure.  Additionally, spacecraft operations are subject to significant nonlinear control-estimation interactions, an example being the lack of observability of control-free relative motion in close proximity when using angles-only measurements.  Research projects may address one or more of these topics.
Contact mentor

Nonlinear dynamics in spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Sinclair, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project seeks to develop improved methods for spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) through improved understanding of the spacecraft nonlinear dynamics.  Spacecraft translational motion is dominated by orbital dynamics, and the control is often constrained by a limited fuel supply.  Therefore, translational GNC methods generally must be designed to work with these dynamics instead of fighting them.  Spacecraft attitude motion is governed by the particular structure of rotational dynamics, and robust performance of attitude GNC methods depends on careful adherence to this structure.  Additionally, spacecraft operations are subject to significant nonlinear control-estimation interactions, an example being the lack of observability of control-free relative motion in close proximity when using angles-only measurements.  Research projects may address one or more of these topics.
Contact mentor

Novel Cooling Films
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: John Bryan Plumley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
The Space Vehicles Directorate is actively pursuing ways to developing conductive, robust passive cooling surfaces. We've developed a non-conductive micro structure passive cooling material that can be applied to any surface, however because of the highly brittle and porous nature of the cooling structure it has proven ineffective to merely deposit a conductive thin film material over the structure. What needs to be done instead is to infiltrate the structure with a liquid precursor that can be hardened into a polymer or silica matrix that will result in a robust and smooth microstructure which can then be made to have a conductive surface. The applicant will learn to process and characterize cooling films as well as synthesize sol gels for microstructure hardening. The applicant will gain experience in conducting literature search, working in a chemistry lab, spray coating, and microstructure modification.
Contact mentor

Nuclear Explosion Monitoring Research
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Glenn Eli Baker, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of our program is to improve nuclear explosion monitoring capability through studies focused on seismic signal and array processing, Earth structure, wave propagation, source characterization, and explosion source physics. Specific details of the project will be based on aligning interests of the program with the applicant’s background to ensure effective progress on a problem of interest to the Air Force. The intent of the summer project is that it will build capability at AFRL while providing the student with results they can build on and use in their thesis work.
Contact mentor

Observational Changes in Geosynchronous Satellites’ Photometric Signatures due to Space Aging
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Scott Milster, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Photometric signatures of GEOs are a valuable tool for identifying satellites, resolving cross tags, and determining their health status.  The effects of space aging of the satellites’ materials has received scant attention.  The summer project will consist of collecting unresolved images of GEO satellites with telescopes and electronic cameras, processing the data, and comparing it to older data to determine the effects of aging.  Additionally, we may compare the data to laboratory measurements of artificially aged materials.  Observations may be collected at Kirtland AFB or Magdalena Ridge Observatory.
Contact mentor

Observational Changes in Geosynchronous Satellites’ Photometric Signatures due to Space Aging
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Scott Milster, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Photometric signatures of GEOs are a valuable tool for identifying satellites, resolving cross tags, and determining their health status.  The effects of space aging of the satellites’ materials has received scant attention.  The summer project will consist of collecting unresolved images of GEO satellites with telescopes and electronic cameras, processing the data, and comparing it to older data to determine the effects of aging.  Additionally, we may compare the data to laboratory measurements of artificially aged materials.  Observations may be collected at Kirtland AFB or Magdalena Ridge Observatory.
Contact mentor

Observational Changes in Geosynchronous Satellites’ Photometric Signatures due to Space Aging
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Scott Milster, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Photometric signatures of GEOs are a valuable tool for identifying satellites, resolving cross tags, and determining their health status. The effects of space aging of the satellites’ materials has received scant attention. The summer project will consist of collecting unresolved images of GEO satellites with telescopes and electronic cameras, processing the data, and comparing it to older data to determine the effects of aging. Additionally, we may compare the data to laboratory measurements of artificially aged materials. Observations will be collected at Kirtland AFB.
Contact mentor

Observational Changes in Geosynchronous Satellites’ Photometric Signatures due to Space Aging
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Scott Milster, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Photometric signatures of GEOs are a valuable tool for identifying satellites, resolving cross tags, and determining their health status. The effects of space aging of the satellites’ materials has received scant attention. The summer project will consist of collecting unresolved images of GEO satellites with telescopes and electronic cameras, processing the data, and comparing it to older data to determine the effects of aging. Additionally, we may compare the data to laboratory measurements of artificially aged materials. Observations may be collected at Kirtland AFB or Magdalena Ridge Observatory.
Contact mentor

On board autonomy image processing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michelle Regan Simon, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
With the ever increasing amount of debris in space, on-board autonomy is becoming a required element for our future systems. On board autonomy is limited by size, weight and power constraints causing image processing to become an issue. Some of the new boards coming available try to solve this problem by containing a variety of circuit types per board. This project would be looking into how on board autonomy can utilize these different circuit types.  RV will research moving image processing on to an FPGA to reduce processing needs on the CPU.
Contact mentor

On board autonomy testbed
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Michelle Regan Simon, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
With the ever increasing amount of debris in space, on board autonomy is becoming a required element for future space systems. Establishing executable satellite actions is necessary in validating software.  This project will further research Bayesian base decision making for a variety of possible on-orbit scenarios.
Contact mentor

On-Orbit Computing for Spacecraft
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Tyler M. Lovelly, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Due to harsh and inaccessible operating environments, embedded systems for spacecraft are subject to many unique challenges and constraints that limit on-orbit computing performance. However, the increasing need for real-time sensor and autonomous processing, coupled with limited communication bandwidth with ground stations, is increasing on-orbit computing demands for next-generation space missions. To address these challenges, AFRL’s Space Electronics Technology program has established a dedicated architecture analytics project called the Spacecraft Performance Analytics and Computing Environment Research (SPACER) laboratory to provide the DoD with the capability to assess on-orbit computing solutions for spacecraft. This topic provides students with the opportunity to analyze a variety of the latest commercial-grade and space-grade processors including multi/many-core CPUs, DSPs, GPUs, FPGAs, SoCs, and neuromorphic architectures using a combination of metrics, benchmarks, simulations, and emulations. These architectures will be analyzed in terms of their performance, power efficiency, memory usage, reliability, programmability, or other factors using several compute-intensive space applications. Results will help determine how to best optimize architectures for various applications and which architectures are best suited for which missions, and can be used to guide future DoD investment decisions. Summer projects will be tailored to the interests and expertise of the students to provide a meaningful experience.
Contact mentor

On-Orbit Computing for Spacecraft
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Tyler M. Lovelly, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Due to harsh and inaccessible operating environments, embedded systems for spacecraft are subject to many unique challenges and constraints that limit on-orbit computing performance. However, the increasing need for real-time sensor and autonomous processing, coupled with limited communication bandwidth with ground stations, is increasing on-orbit computing demands for next-generation space missions. To address these challenges, AFRL’s Space Electronics Technology program has established a dedicated architecture analytics project called the Spacecraft Performance Analytics and Computing Environment Research (SPACER) laboratory to provide the DoD with the capability to assess on-orbit computing solutions for spacecraft. This topic provides students with the opportunity to analyze a variety of the latest commercial-grade and space-grade processors including multi/many-core CPUs, DSPs, GPUs, FPGAs, SoCs, and neuromorphic architectures using a combination of metrics, benchmarks, simulations, and emulations. These architectures will be analyzed in terms of their performance, power efficiency, memory usage, reliability, programmability, or other factors using several compute-intensive space applications. Results will help determine how to best optimize architectures for various applications and which architectures are best suited for which missions, and can be used to guide future DoD investment decisions. Summer projects will be tailored to the interests and expertise of the students to provide a meaningful experience.
Contact mentor

On-Orbit Computing for Spacecraft
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Tyler M. Lovelly, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Due to harsh and inaccessible operating environments, embedded systems for spacecraft are subject to many unique challenges and constraints that limit on-orbit computing performance. However, the increasing need for real-time sensor and autonomous processing, coupled with limited communication bandwidth with ground stations, is increasing on-orbit computing demands for next-generation space missions. To address these challenges, AFRL’s Space Electronics Technology program has established a dedicated architecture analytics project called the Spacecraft Performance Analytics and Computing Environment Research (SPACER) laboratory to provide the DoD with the capability to assess on-orbit computing solutions for spacecraft. This topic provides students with the opportunity to analyze a variety of the latest commercial-grade and space-grade processors including multi/many-core CPUs, DSPs, GPUs, FPGAs, SoCs, and neuromorphic architectures using a combination of metrics, benchmarks, simulations, and emulations. These architectures will be analyzed in terms of their performance, power efficiency, memory usage, reliability, programmability, or other factors using several compute-intensive space applications. Results will help determine how to best optimize architectures for various applications and which architectures are best suited for which missions, and can be used to guide future DoD investment decisions. Summer projects will be tailored to the interests and expertise of the students/educators to provide a meaningful experience.
Contact mentor

Optical Characterization of Spacecraft Materials Damaged in a Simulated GEO Environment
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ryan Hoffmann, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The goal of this study is to characterize how the optical properties of commonly used spacecraft materials change due to exposure to energetic particles. In space, energetic particles break bonds within a material such as polyimide (Kapton®), often forming free radicals. These radicals can then reform the original bond, or they can form new bonds, creating a new material. Understanding the chemical mechanisms for bond breaking and forming processes individually will allow for development of a model to predict the material’s chemical composition as a function of environmental exposure and time. We will simultaneously characterize the optical properties and chemistry of the materials, and develop understanding and correlations between material chemistry and optical signatures.
Contact mentor

Optical dynamics of spacecraft materials under simulated GEO space weather exposure
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ryan Hoffmann, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
One way to detect and identify spacecraft is to gather the sunlight reflected from the spacecraft as it orbits overhead. These data contain a huge amount of information about the position, composition and intent of the spacecraft that is difficult to obtain in any other way. However, these light curves are dependent on the spacecraft surface materials and they are know to change in response to space weather exposure. So to make the most use of these types of data, we must understand how the reflectivity of spacecraft materials  change.   
During this project you will interface with the spacecraft observing community and lab based scientist to quantify the degree of optical changes to common spacecraft materials under simulated GEO exposure in the lab. These data will then be applied to observations of spacecraft in modeling software to recreate the complex light curve of real space objects.
Contact mentor

Optical ray-tracing for thermal-mechanical damage simulations
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative methods for predicting the response of materials and components subjected to laser irradiation.  The candidate will work on the integration of an optical ray-tracing routine into the Abaqus finite element solver for accurately depositing laser energy on component surfaces.  The candidate will assist in the evaluation and integration of a ray-tracing tool into existing Abaqus models for predicting the thermally induced damage of materials subjected to laser irradiation.  The scope of the project can be tailored to accommodate the experience and capability of the applicant.
Contact mentor

Optimization Framework for a Small Debris Sensing Constellation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Kevin Meng, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
There are an estimated hundreds of thousands of debris that pose a mission-ending risk to operational satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), the most valuable orbital regime. However, we only maintain a roughly 4% awareness of debris objects in GEO (Oltrogge et al., Acta Astronautica 2018). This is due to the scarcity of data and the difficulty in obtaining more data on small/dim objects. The objective is to develop a first-ever sensor architecture framework for gathering data on small objects, composed of both ground- and space-based sensors using a variety of sensing modalities, including radar and in-situ. The work will involve  substantial design flexibility and methods associated with probabilistic risk analysis, orbital mechanics, and sensitivity analysis.
Contact mentor

Optimization of IR Material Growth Conditions using Surfactants
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Preston Thomas Webster, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
In the world of electro-optical space sensors, many of the optoelectronic performance characteristics and quantum phenomenon assessed over the course of a technologies development can be traced back to the quality and properties of the basic material growth.  Molecular beam epitaxy is a common semiconductor growth technique which is particularly interesting from a research perspective due to the wide variety and precise control of the growth conditions.  One such parameter available to the scientist is the control of a surfactant flux, which is a material that is utilized during growth to modify growth surface conditions but otherwise does not incorporate into the semiconductor.  Surfactant research has a unique place in the world of growth science due to its potential to impact a wide variety of material systems, ranging from novel materials in their infancy to state-of-the-art materials that may be further improved through the use of the surfactant.  The impact of various surfactant species during the growth of III-V infrared materials will be assessed using reflection high-energy electron diffraction, optical micrographs, X-ray diffraction, Hall, photoluminescence spectroscopy, transient microwave reflectance, and spectroscopic ellipsometry.  This project offers the opportunity to characterize many new material systems being investigated by the Advanced Electro-Optical Space Sensors group, and quantify the impacts of surfactant-enhanced growth.
Contact mentor

Optimization Problems in Spacecraft Dynamics and Formation Flying
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Many problems in orbital dynamics can be formulated as optimization problems with an appropriate choice of cost function.  This research focuses on the formulation and solving of optimization problems for multi-spacecraft trajectory and formation applications.  Formation design problems often involve a number of constraints of various types.  For instance, one current area of research interest is the design of formations for localization of ground or space based transmissions.  For this example, the optimal formation will be one that gives the best viewing geometry of the area of interest, while minimizing the fuel required to create the formation, arriving over the target in a timely fashion, and perhaps allowing for reconfiguration for later mission requirements, allowing for maximum redundancy and other possible factors.  Other optimization problems of interest include optimal maneuver planning to support proximity operations, viewing of other objects for orbit determination, or cooperative operations.  Possible approaches include classical optimization problem solving methods, as well as genetic algorithms, pseudo-spectral methods or other innovative techniques.
Contact mentor

Optimization Problems in Spacecraft Dynamics and Formation Flying
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Many problems in orbital dynamics can be formulated as optimization problems with an appropriate choice of cost function.  This research focuses on the formulation and solving of optimization problems for multi-spacecraft trajectory and formation applications.  Formation design problems often involve a number of constraints of various types.  For instance, one current area of research interest is the design of formations for localization of ground or space based transmissions.  For this example, the optimal formation will be one that gives the best viewing geometry of the area of interest, while minimizing the fuel required to create the formation, arriving over the target in a timely fashion, and perhaps allowing for reconfiguration for later mission requirements, allowing for maximum redundancy and other possible factors.  Other optimization problems of interest include optimal maneuver planning to support proximity operations, viewing of other objects for orbit determination, or cooperative operations.  Possible approaches include classical optimization problem solving methods, as well as genetic algorithms, pseudo-spectral methods or other innovative techniques.
Contact mentor

Optimization Problems in Spacecraft Dynamics and Formation Flying
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Many problems in orbital dynamics can be formulated as optimization problems with an appropriate choice of cost function.  This research focuses on the formulation and solving of optimization problems for multi-spacecraft trajectory and formation applications.  Formation design problems often involve a number of constraints of various types.  For instance, one current area of research interest is the design of formations for localization of ground or space based transmissions.  For this example, the optimal formation will be one that gives the best viewing geometry of the area of interest, while minimizing the fuel required to create the formation, arriving over the target in a timely fashion, and perhaps allowing for reconfiguration for later mission requirements, allowing for maximum redundancy and other possible factors.  Other optimization problems of interest include optimal maneuver planning to support proximity operations, viewing of other objects for orbit determination, or cooperative operations.  Possible approaches include classical optimization problem solving methods, as well as genetic algorithms, pseudo-spectral methods or other innovative techniques.
Contact mentor

Orbit-determination and sensor-cueing methods for local space situational awareness
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Sinclair, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project seeks to enhance capabilities for a spacecraft to autonomously maintain awareness of its local environment.  This requires a spacecraft to be able to quickly transition from initial detection of an object to accurate knowledge of the object's orbit.  To enable this capability, new methods are required for characterization of orbit knowledge provided from sensor detections.  Additionally, new sensor tracking methods are required to improve the ability to track poorly known objects.  New tasking methods to cue follow-up sensors to search for the detected object are also required.  Research projects may address one or more of these topics.
Contact mentor

Orbit-determination and sensor-cueing methods for local space situational awareness
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew James Sinclair, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project seeks to enhance capabilities for a spacecraft to autonomously maintain awareness of its local environment.  This requires a spacecraft to be able to quickly transition from initial detection of an object to accurate knowledge of the object's orbit.  To enable this capability, new methods are required for characterization of orbit knowledge provided from sensor detections.  Additionally, new sensor tracking methods are required to improve the ability to track poorly known objects.  New tasking methods to cue follow-up sensors to search for the detected object are also required.  Research projects may address one or more of these topics.
Contact mentor

Parallel algorithm development for heat transfer simulations on high performance computer systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Darren Patrick Luke, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The Directed Energy Directorate is tasked with studying the phenomenology of laser material interaction to support laser system requirements. Materials of interest include advanced aerospace materials such as metal alloys, high temperature ceramics, composites and semi-conductor materials. AFRL/RDLE constantly strives to develop innovative and novel modeling and simulation capabilities for predicting laser material interaction.  The candidate will perform research on parallel processing techniques and convert existing serial code for execution on parallel platforms.  The work will focus on workstation level parallelization with the potential to test code on DoD supercomputers.  The project will be tailored to best fit the experience and capability of the selected candidate.
Contact mentor

Photoluminescence studies of semiconductors for space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Elizabeth H Steenbergen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
For devices made of semiconductor materials, such as transistors, solar cells, or detectors, to operate in a  space environment, they must be free of defects, high performing, and reliable.  This project involves characterizing the optical properties of infrared materials for space applications using photoluminescence.  The photoluminescence characteristics versus temperature and excitation intensity reveal the contributions of radiative and non-radiative recombination and average phonon and activation energies.  These values are used to assess the maturity of the material for the desired operating conditions.
Contact mentor

Physics of defects in semiconductors under pressure
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
Point defects have crucial impacts on semiconductor devices, from enabling transistor action through doping, to killing carrier lifetimes as deep recombination centers, to limiting or destroying device reliability. Radiation-induced defects have particular importance in space-based electronics and sensors, and so are of singular importance in the space vehicles directorate. We offer an opportunity to be part of a strong experimental group collaborating with theorists to identify defects in both narrow and wide-/ultrawide band gap semiconductor materials. This group will study radiation-induced defects under pressures, both hydrostatic and uniaxial, up to 12 KPa using deep level transient spectroscopy, and, potentially spin-resonance techniques. This effort will be mirrored by an effort using density functional theory, allowing both results and predictions to flow to and from experiment and theory.
Contact mentor

Plasma Chemistry for Space Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Albert Viggiano, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
We study a broad range of plasma chemistry including electron attachment, ion-molecule reactions, dissociative recombination, and mutual neutralization. We specialize in studying difficult species, radicals, and extended temperature ranges. Several fast flow plasma reaction apparatuses are used. The ion-molecule temperature range is 90-1800 K, while for the other plasma processes temperatures up to 1400 K can be studied. Recent successes include measuring the only product distributions for mutual neutralization, electron attachment to fluorocarbon radicals, and the discovery that electrons catalyze mutual neutralization. A recent upgrade has allowed for studies of radicals with electrosprayed ions, which is important for solar fuels research.
The data support a wide variety of AF/DoD applications including the natural ionosphere, hypersonic vehicles, plasmas assisted combustion, high power lasers, conversion of gaseous to liquid fuels, trace gas detection, high energy density materials, and other catalytic processes.
Contact mentor

Plasma Chemistry for Space Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Albert Viggiano, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
We study a broad range of plasma chemistry including electron attachment, ion-molecule reactions, dissociative recombination, and mutual neutralization. We specialize in studying difficult species, radicals, and extended temperature ranges. Several fast flow plasma reaction apparatuses are used. The ion-molecule temperature range is 90-1800 K, while for the other plasma processes temperatures up to 1400 K can be studied. Recent successes include measuring the only product distributions for mutual neutralization, electron attachment to fluorocarbon radicals, and the discovery that electrons catalyze mutual neutralization. A recent upgrade has allowed for studies of radicals with electrosprayed ions, which is important for solar fuels research.
The data support a wide variety of AF/DoD applications including the natural ionosphere, hypersonic vehicles, plasmas assisted combustion, high power lasers, conversion of gaseous to liquid fuels, trace gas detection, high energy density materials, and other catalytic processes.
Contact mentor

Plasma Chemistry for Space Related Operations
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Albert Viggiano, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
Our group studies a wide array of plasma chemistry in fast flow tubes. Our goal is to improve chemistry models of plasmas of interest to the Air Force and DoD. Typical examples include the natural ionosphere, high speed combustion, reentry, solar, and trace gas detection. There are four separate apparatuses in the laboratory for studying reactions at extreme temperatures and pressures as well as a variety of processes including ion-molecule, electron-molecule, ion-electron, and ion-ion. New areas of interest include solar fuels, laser ignition, and catalysis for advanced propulsion.
Contact mentor

Plasma-Micorwave Interactions
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Remington Reid, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The research focuses on the generation and interaction of plasmas with high power microwaves. Students will have the opportunity to participate in device construction for diagnostic systems and gain experience in data acquisition and analysis.
Contact mentor

Plasma -Microwave Interactions
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Remington Reid, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The research focuses on the generation and interaction of plasmas with high power microwaves.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in device construction for diagnostic systems and gain experience in data acquisition and analysis.
Contact mentor

Plasma physics with ultrashort pulse lasers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alex Englesbe, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
RD is seeking motivated young scientists and engineers to join the USPL team. Students will conduct experiments in the area of high-intensity laser matter interactions, with an emphasis on basic plasma physics phenomena. Some examples of ongoing research efforts within the USPL group include the study of microwave and terahertz generation from laser-produced plasmas, optical and microwave plasma diagnostics, and nonlinear laser filamentation. Students will learn and apply USPL measurement and analysis techniques that are broadly applicable in the fields of physics and electrical engineering.
Contact mentor

Plenoptics Research fo Applications to SSA
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Waid Thomas Schlaegel, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
There has been increasing interest in plenoptics for a variety of applications. The AFRL Space EO Division is looking for applications related to observing satellites, and investigating what benefits might be obtained using plenoptics. The selected scholar will perform a literature search of research in the area of plenoptics to learn what applications have been researched. Then discuss these areas of research with SSA researchers to generate ideas for potential SSA uses of plenoptics. The scholar will then perform analytical simulations to demonstrate potential payoffs for the top applications to provide guidance for future research within the Space EO Division of AFRL. The results will be presented to interested SSA-related personnel. Applying scholars should have a firm grasp of plenoptics and the ability to write code to perform the required simulations (standard programming languages, including, but not limited to MATLAB, C, C++, C#, Python, Java,etc.)
Contact mentor

Precision measurements with levitated nanoparticles
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brian Kasch, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
This project involves the experimental realization of nanoparticle levitation under high vacuum conditions. We will explore various laser system configurations, nanoparticle loading schemes, as well as optical readout and feedback cooling techniques. We are developing an accelerometer based on levitated nanoparticles that is expected to rival state-of-the-art systems in terms of sensitivity. The levitation of nanoparticles in vacuum with an optical tweezer formed by a focused laser grants experimental access to physics at the boundary between classical and quantum mechanics. Furthermore, such systems provide an ideal platform for precision measurement due to the decoupling of the test particle from it's thermal environment.
Contact mentor

Precision measurements with levitated nanoparticles
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brian Kasch, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project involves the experimental realization of nanoparticle levitation under high vacuum conditions. We will explore various laser system configurations, nanoparticle loading schemes, as well as optical readout and feedback cooling techniques. We are developing an accelerometer based on levitated nanoparticles that is expected to rival state-of-the-art systems in terms of sensitivity. The levitation of nanoparticles in vacuum with an optical tweezer formed by a focused laser grants experimental access to physics at the boundary between classical and quantum mechanics. Furthermore, such systems provide an ideal platform for precision measurement due to the decoupling of the test particle from it's thermal environment.
Contact mentor

Precision measurements with levitated nanoparticles
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Brian Kasch, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project involves the experimental realization of nanoparticle levitation under high vacuum conditions. We will explore various laser system configurations, nanoparticle loading schemes, as well as optical readout and feedback cooling techniques. We are developing an accelerometer based on levitated nanoparticles that is expected to rival state-of-the-art systems in terms of sensitivity. The levitation of nanoparticles in vacuum with an optical tweezer formed by a focused laser grants experimental access to physics at the boundary between classical and quantum mechanics. Furthermore, such systems provide an ideal platform for precision measurement due to the decoupling of the test particle from it's thermal environment.
Contact mentor

Printed Adaptive Materials and Environmental Testing
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Derek Thomas Doyle, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Students are sought that are familiar with AM technologies and possibly non-organic chemistry for making new printing materials. We are working on several concepts but one of significant interest is with materials that change some type of property (mechanical, electrical, optical, etc.) when exposed to some kind of stimuli. Environmental testing (thermal, vacuum, radiation, charging, etc.) is then to be considered and performed to study how the adaptive material degrades or performs under those conditions.
Contact mentor

Probabilistic safety with learned models
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Meeko Oishi, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Learning techniques have immense promise in robotic manufacturing, but typically lack rigorous assurances of safety.  Safety assurances typically take the form of mathematical guarantees that constraints on the system will always be maintained, or that desirable states will eventually be reached.  Such an assurance is powerful, but often requires extensive knowledge of system dynamics.  This project seeks to integrate algorithms for probabilistic safety with dynamical models that are updated via learning algorithms.  The proposed work involves implementation of reinforcement learning algorithms to approximate the value function when the transition kernel is not well known.
Contact mentor

Processing and analysis of ionospheric plasma data measured by satellites
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chaosong Huang, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The ionosphere is a region consisting of charged particles, from ~100 to ~1000 km above the Earth’s surface. Dynamic processes at different spatial and temporal scales always exist, and the ionosphere is significantly disturbed during geomagnetic storms. Low-Earth orbit satellites, such as the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS) satellites, provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric plasma density, temperature, electric field, and other parameters. The objective of this project is to study ionospheric disturbances during geomagnetic storms. The primary duties of the summer scholars will be to process and analyze ionospheric satellite data to identify ionospheric disturbances. Good computer skills for data processing are important. Knowledge on ionospheric physics is desirable but not required.
Contact mentor

Processing and analysis of ionospheric plasma data measured by satellites
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Chaosong Huang, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The ionosphere is a region consisting of charged particles, from ~100 to ~1000 km above the Earth’s surface. Dynamic processes at different spatial and temporal scales always exist, and the ionosphere is significantly disturbed during geomagnetic storms. Low-Earth orbit satellites, such as the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS) satellites, provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric plasma density, temperature, electric field, and other parameters. The objective of this project is to study ionospheric disturbances during geomagnetic storms. The primary duties of the summer scholars will be to process and analyze ionospheric satellite data to identify ionospheric disturbances. Good computer skills for data processing are important. Knowledge on ionospheric physics is desirable but not required.
Contact mentor

Propagation of solar energetic particles in space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Stephen Kahler, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Big solar eruptive events often result in the production of highly energetic particles that propagate from the Sun out to the Earth and beyond.  In some cases these solar energetic particles (SEPs) reach GeV energies, cause serious communications and spacecraft problems, and can be detected with ground based detectors.  The general understanding is that SEPs are accelerated in shock waves in the solar corona that are driven by mass ejections in the eruptive events.  The SEPs propagate along magnetic field lines away from the Sun and spread throughout interplanetary space.  Our work attempts to understand the origin of the SEPs - what seed particles are accelerated, and when and where in the eruptive events?  What eruptions or solar conditions are favorable or unfavorable for SEP production?  We use data sets of spacecraft in situ observations of SEPs and space and groun-based optical, radio, EUV, and X-ray observations of solar eruptions to characterize and understand SEP production.  Because of the great diversity of SEP events, the work is often statistical in nature, with analysis of properties of many observed SEP events.
Contact mentor

Propagation of solar energetic particles in space
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Stephen Kahler, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Big solar eruptive events often result in the production of highly energetic particles that propagate from the Sun out to the Earth and beyond.  In some cases these solar energetic particles (SEPs) reach GeV energies, cause serious communications and spacecraft problems, and can be detected with ground based detectors.  The general understanding is that SEPs are accelerated in shock waves in the solar corona that are driven by mass ejections in the eruptive events.  The SEPs propagate along magnetic field lines away from the Sun and spread throughout interplanetary space.  Our work attempts to understand the origin of the SEPs - what seed particles are accelerated, and when and where in the eruptive events?  What eruptions or solar conditions are favorable or unfavorable for SEP production?  We use data sets of spacecraft in situ observations of SEPs and space and ground-based optical, radio, EUV, and X-ray observations of solar eruptions to characterize and understand SEP production.  Because of the great diversity of SEP events, the work is often statistical in nature, with analysis of properties of many observed SEP events.
Contact mentor

Radio emission from the solar atmosphere
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Stephen M White, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project will study the relationship between the radio emission in the solar corona and other physical properties such as magnetic fields and emission from hot plasma at EUV wavelengths. The project will use images obtained at multiple wavelengths with the Very Large Array radio telescope, as well as complementary satellite data.
Contact mentor

Reachability Analysis for Maneuvering Spacecraft
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Richard Scott Erwin, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This project seeks to develop tools for predicting the boundaries of the set of all possible spacecraft trajectories given bounds on the spacecraft’s control inputs and a terminal time constraint.  The project will look at approaches for computing these sets with an emphasis on being scalable to realistic problem dimensions (state dimension between 4 and 12), applicability to both linear and nonlinear system dynamics, and ability to deal with both stable and unstable open-loop system dynamics.  The project will focus on three different spacecraft dynamic models: inertial frame orbital dynamics, relative spacecraft dynamics in the local horizontal/local vertical frame; and spacecraft attitude dynamics.  In all cases, the ability to handle problem constraints via computation of reach-avoid sets will be examined.

References:

1.	Holzinger, M. J., Scheeres, D. J., and Erwin, R. S., “On-Orbit Range Computation using Gauss’ Variational Equations with Perturbations,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 608-622, 2014.

2.	Dueri, D., Acikmese, B., Baldwin, M., and Erwin, R. S., “Finite-Horizon Controllability and Reachability for Deterministic and Stochastic Linear Control Systems with Convex Constraints,” Proc. Amer. Contr. Conf., pp. 5016 – 5023, Portland, OR, June 2014.

3.	Lesser, K., Oishi, M., and Erwin, R. S., “Stochastic Reachability for Control of Spacecraft Relative Motion,” 52nd IEEE Conf. on Dec. Contr., pp. 4705 – 4712, Fireze, Italy, December 2013.
Contact mentor

Real-time Optimization for Spacecraft Guidance & Control
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Optimization techniques are difficult to implement in real-time on spacecraft due to many factors, including but not limited to (a) computational burden, (b) use of memory, and (c) confidence in obtaining a solution.  Students will focus on exploring and developing a wide range of optimization methods that mitigate the challenges above.  The algorithms developed will then be benchmarked against others for different scenarios in simulation & robotic testbed implementation.  Experience in MATLAB and Simulink required.  C-coding is a plus, but not required.
Contact mentor

Real-time Optimization for Spacecraft Guidance & Control
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Daniel Petersen, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Optimization techniques are difficult to implement in real-time on spacecraft due to many factors, including but not limited to (a) computational burden, (b) use of memory, and (c) confidence in obtaining a solution.  Students will focus on exploring and developing a wide range of optimization methods that mitigate the challenges above.  The algorithms developed will then be benchmarked against others for different scenarios in simulation & robotic testbed implementation.  Experience in MATLAB and Simulink required.  C-coding is a plus, but not required.
Contact mentor

Reinforcement-Learning AI Development for Competitive Space-Based Games
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Richard Scott Erwin, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This topic is centered on development of AI engines (primarily reinforcement learning approaches) to compete in a multi-player, competitive, zero-sum game involving space dynamics and space environment constraints, e.g. power, thermal, communications, etc.  The project will involve co-opting or developing the game mechanics as needed; using openly available game engines and physics simulations to implement the game in a form suitable for play by computers; the development & training of AI engines using openly available development environments; the analysis of AI player performance against human players; and documentation of results via reports and/or technical papers.
Contact mentor

RF component development for high frequency RF apertures
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Derek Thomas Doyle, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
AFRL is seeking new designs and concepts for reconfigurable RF apertures. Work has been done utilizing LCs and origami approaches. Students are sought that have experience with these methods or other approaches. Work will relate around design and testing of these concepts and potentially new ways to manufacture them utilizing AM approaches.
Contact mentor

Robotic Systems for Space-based Object Manipulation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Karl Andrew Stolleis, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Project will entail construction and design of a platform containing a 7 degree-of-freedom robot arm that will be used to simulate on-orbit manipulation of objects for use in projects such as on-orbit assembly.  Project will encompass all phases of robot design and control from mechanical and electrical, software and simulation.  Use of the Robot Operating System (ROS) will be major part of the project as well as the Gazebo simulation environment.
Contact mentor

Role-Based Access Control for Embedded Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Students will conduct tests using the application of existing techniques and implementations for performing role-based access control in an off-the-shelf Linux operating system (such as SELinux or AppArmor) within the context of an embedded, real-time software system.
Contact mentor

Satellite Thermal Design
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Rocker, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Traditional satellite thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design for a particular satellite, but cannot be easily adapted to other spacecraft.  As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process.  These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a wide range of component locations and heat loads. Based on the abilities of the student(s) selected for this topic, the student(s) will be responsible for: thermal management technology design/prototype; thermal vacuum testing of a range of thermal management technologies; and spacecraft thermal modeling. In addition to laboratory prototypes, the student(s) may receive the opportunity to work on flight hardware.
Contact mentor

Satellite Thermal Design
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Rocker, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Traditional satellite thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design for a particular satellite, but cannot be easily adapted to other spacecraft.  As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process.  These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a wide range of component locations and heat loads. Based on the abilities of the student(s) selected for this topic, the student(s) will be responsible for: thermal management technology design/prototype; thermal vacuum testing of a range of thermal management technologies; and spacecraft thermal modeling. In addition to laboratory prototypes, the student(s) may receive the opportunity to work on flight hardware.
Contact mentor

Satelllite Thermal Design
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher Rocker, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Traditional satellite thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design for a particular satellite, but cannot be easily adapted to other spacecraft.  As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process.  These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a wide range of component locations and heat loads. Based on the abilities of the student(s) selected for this topic, the student(s) will be responsible for: thermal management technology design/prototype; thermal vacuum testing of a range of thermal management technologies; and spacecraft thermal modeling. In addition to laboratory prototypes, the student(s) may receive the opportunity to work on flight hardware.
Contact mentor

Securing a Space Object Catalog With Blockchain (Colorado Springs, CO)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Sivilli, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The internship for this project is located in Colorado Springs, CO.   Scholars will reside in Colorado Springs, CO, for the duration of the internship

Explore the art of the possible with block chain technology to determine if there is a viable path for securing a public space object catalog built/contributed to by multiple commercial/government sensor providers. This will leverage existing research the area to provide guided mentorship while contributing a relevant area
Contact mentor

Small Satellite Portfolio Engineer
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Kate Yoshino, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The AFRL Small Satellite Portfolio (SSP) designs, builds and flies small satellites for Air Force mission needs. SSP is looking for candidates to assist in activities such as: design, analysis, & testing of small spacecraft, concept studies or process development, and potentially mission concept and experiment development.
Examples of potential tasking include the following: 
•	Hands-on assistance and quality assurance of CubeSat integration and testing
•	Perform specific analysis or develop experiment plans for a CubeSat mission 
•	Small satellite concept studies relevant to future Air Force needs
•	CubeSat development-related process-development or process studies
•	Development of a specific system/sub-system/component design
Potential candidates should indicate on their application specific areas of interest and relevant skill sets.
Contact mentor

Small Satellite Portfolio Engineer
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Kate Yoshino, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The AFRL Small Satellite Portfolio (SSP) designs, builds and flies small satellites for Air Force mission needs. SSP is looking for candidates to assist in activities such as: design, analysis, & testing of small spacecraft, concept studies or process development, and potentially mission concept and experiment development.
Examples of potential tasking include the following: 
•	Hands-on assistance and quality assurance of CubeSat integration and testing
•	Perform specific analysis or develop experiment plans for a CubeSat mission 
•	Small satellite concept studies relevant to future Air Force needs
•	CubeSat development-related process-development or process studies
•	Development of a specific system/sub-system/component design
Potential candidates should indicate on their application specific areas of interest and relevant skill sets
Contact mentor

Sodium Laser Beacon and LIDAR
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert L. Johnson, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
To compensate for the distortion of light by the atmosphere, observatories with large telescopes generate a beacon using the fluorescence of sodium atoms in the mesosphere. This technique is called laser-beacon adaptive optics. At the Starfire Optical Range, we have two Raman-fiber amplified lasers, which we combine to produce a beacon. Work under this project will include modeling and simulating the Bloch equations, which govern the interaction of light produced by these lasers with the sodium atoms in the mesosphere. Because the brightness of the laser beacon depends on the sodium height and concentration, additional work may include building a sodium LIDAR system to monitor the sodium in the mesosphere. Depending on the scholar's, an internship under this project may involve computer modeling, laboratory work, or theoretical analyses.
Contact mentor

Soft or Compliant Robotic Systems for Space Operation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Karl Andrew Stolleis, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Project is for the research and development of potential soft or compliant robotics for use in the space environment.  Active research topics include design and construction of soft robotic systems, development of new control schemes for soft robotic manipulators, creation of a simulation environment to test control theories and use of the Robot Operating System (ROS) to control system.
Contact mentor

Solar Driven Space Weather Models
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Carl Henney, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Modeling the global solar magnetic field is critical for forecasting space weather events. Individuals interested in working with the input data used to drive solar wind models are encourged to apply for this oppertunity. The project involves working with a variety of ground and space based solar disk observations, as well as in-situ data from multiple spacecraft.
Contact mentor

Solar Flare Kernels and Ribbons in H-alpha and EUV/FUV Images
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Hock-Mysliwiec, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Solar flares result from the catastrophic release of energy in the solar atmosphere.  There are many different ways this energy release can be manifested.  In the lower layers of the solar atmosphere (photosphere, chromosphere, and transition region), solar flares appear as bright patches, called kernels or ribbons depending on the geometry.  Higher in the atmosphere in the corona, solar flares manifest has newly-created loops. 

The goal of this project is to understand the spatial and temporal correlations between flare kernels and ribbons observed at different heights of the atmosphere. The student will identify and track the flare kernels and ribbons both in H-alpha images from ground-based observatories and in extreme ultraviolet (EUV)/far ultraviolet (FUV) images from space-based satellites. These different wavelengths form at different heights in the lower solar atmosphere. The student will compare the timing and properties (e.g. area, brightness, spatial extend) of the kernels and ribbons from different wavelength bands for several different solar flares.  Time permitting, the student will also compare his/her results from analyzing images to either irradiance observations in the EUV/FUV and hard X-rays or magnetic field observations of the solar surface.

In addition to exposing the student to the basics of astrophysical image analysis techniques and programming in the Interactive Data Language (IDL), this project will allow him/her to work with the wide variety of data sources used in solar physics today.
Contact mentor

Solar Telescope
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Hock-Mysliwiec, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
AFRL maintains and runs a solar telescope. Over the years, various spare parts have been accumulating in building. Selected high school students will conduct an inventory of these parts, be trained to perform basic and routine maintenance, and run the telescope.
Contact mentor

Solid State and Hybrid Laser Technology
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Ongstad, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
Research opportunities are available in the area of solid-state laser and hybrid laser technologies. These lasers include slab lasers, spinning disk lasers, fiber-gas laser hybrids and ultra-short pulse lasers. Lasers operating in the near-IR (around 1 micron) and mid-IR (3-5 micron) are of interest for a variety of applications. Research activities can include building, characterizing, and testing solid-state lasers, which utilize various solid-state gain media. In addition work on hybrid lasers is possible; these include gas-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber lasers as well as various Raman lasers. The laser laboratories are well equipped with several high-power laser diode arrays (LDAs), fiber-coupled LDAs, solid-state and fiber lasers for pumping a wide variety of gain media. In addition, the labs are fully equipped with all instrumentation and computational resources necessary to carry out state-of-the-art research on solid-state & hybrid lasers.
Contact mentor

Solid State Lasers and Hybrid Lasers
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andrew Ongstad, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Research opportunities are available in the area of solid-state laser and hybrid laser technologies. These lasers include slab lasers, spinning disk lasers, fiber-gas laser hybrids and ultra-short pulse lasers.  Lasers operating in the near-IR (around 1 micron) and mid-IR (3-5 micron) are of interest for a variety of applications. Research activities can include building, characterizing, and testing solid-state lasers, which utilize various solid-state gain media.  In addition work on hybrid lasers is possible; these include gas-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber lasers as well as various Raman lasers.  The laser laboratories are well equipped with several high-power laser diode arrays (LDAs), fiber-coupled LDAs, solid-state and fiber lasers for pumping a wide variety of gain media.   In addition, the labs are fully equipped with all instrumentation and computational resources necessary to carry out state-of-the-art research on solid-state & hybrid lasers.
Contact mentor

Solving Systems of Polynomials for Astrodynamics Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
DESCRIPTION: This project involves linear algebra-based techniques to solve 
systems of coupled polynomials in several variables.  Such polynomials have 
applications in many scientific fields, particularly orbital mechanics.  While 
solving the roots of polynomials is not trivial, several approaches have been 
derived in the mathematics field.  For this project, it is desired that the 
student will use existing approaches to solve systems of polynomials for 
problems in spacecraft navigation and space surveillance.  This can be 
accomplished in part with basic "pen and paper" algebraic derivation, but can 
also be performed using computational software (e.g. MATLAB or Mathematica) if 
the student is capable in that area.  Specific applications of these 
techniques will include spacecraft navigation and radio-frequency localization 
(i.e. geolocation).  This work has the potential to be published in a 
conference paper or journal article.
Contact mentor

Solving Systems of Polynomials for Astrodynamics Applications
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
This project involves linear algebra-based techniques to solve systems of coupled polynomials in several variables.  Such polynomials have applications in many scientific fields, particularly orbital mechanics.  While solving the roots of polynomials is not trivial, several approaches have been derived in the mathematics field.  For this project, it is desired that the applicant will use existing approaches to solve systems of polynomials for problems in spacecraft navigation and space surveillance.  This can be accomplished in part with basic "pen and paper" algebraic derivation, but can also be performed using computational software (e.g. MATLAB or Mathematica) if the applicant is capable in that area.  Specific applications of these techniques will include spacecraft navigation and radio-frequency localization (i.e. geolocation).  This work has the potential to be published in a conference paper or journal article.
Contact mentor

Space Capability Development in the Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration, and Modeling (AFSIM)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration, and Modeling (AFSIM) is a government-approved software simulation framework for use in constructing engagement and mission-level analytic simulations for the Operations Analysis community. The primary use of AFSIM applications is the assessment of new and advanced system concepts, and the determination of concepts of employment for those systems.  The focus of this project is the development of space capabilities in AFSIM.  Scholars will be supporting various space mission areas through the research, development, integration, and testing of plugins and scripts, using C++ and the AFSIM proprietary scripting language.  The resulting models will be used in future studies to help shape the future of space capabilities for years to come.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Avionics Network Modeling and Simulation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Students will work with existing spacecraft or network modeling and simulation tools to develop avionics component models and develop and simulate spacecraft avionics architectures to test a variety of characteristics. Several existing commercial, open-source, and Government-developed tools will be provided on a test system as well as data about spacecraft components to for modeling.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Avionics Network Modeling and Simulation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Students will work with existing spacecraft or network modeling and simulation tools to develop avionics component models and develop and simulate spacecraft avionics architectures to test a variety of characteristics. Several existing commercial, open-source, and Government-developed tools will be provided on a test system as well as data about spacecraft components to for modeling.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Charging Instrumentation, Measurement and Simulation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Dale Curtis Ferguson, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
At AFRL Kirtland, there are vacuum-plasma chambers to test for surface charging of components and materials, radiation chambers to test for deep-dielectric charging, and spacecraft surface charging simulation software.  We desire applicants who wish to work on instrumentation and measurements with the chambers and/or simulation of surface charging with the Nascap-2K software.  Theory and experiment are both essential to studies of spacecraft charging.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Dynamics Applied to Electromagnetic Transmitter Localization and Anti-Jamming
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
This research entails the use of space-based receivers both to estimate the location of electromagnetic transmitters and to null any jamming/interference signal from the transmitters.  The transmitters themselves could be land-, sea-, air-, or space-based.  The location algorithms to be developed will be statistical in nature (typically either batch least-squares methods or sequential/filtering techniques).  Typical available measurement types include time difference of arrival (TDOA), frequency difference on arrival (FDOA), and frequency ratio on arrival (FROA).  This area also involves an understanding of spacecraft dynamics, in order to optimize orbit design for multiple-satellite clusters over one or more transmitters.  Similarly, the anti-jamming task involves spacecraft dynamics, in that the signal-nulling capability depends on the geometric (i.e. orbital) spacing of the antennas.  It should be noted that this research emphasizes the spacecraft dynamics and estimation aspects of these tasks, rather than the signal processing and/or antenna design aspects (although a fundamental understanding of those aspects is beneficial).
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Dynamics Applied to Electromagnetic Transmitter Localization and Anti-Jamming
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
This research entails the use of space-based receivers both to estimate the location of electromagnetic transmitters and to null any jamming/interference signal from the transmitters. The transmitters themselves could be land-, sea-, air-, or space-based. The location algorithms to be developed will be statistical in nature (typically either batch least-squares methods or sequential/filtering techniques). Typical available measurement types include time difference of arrival (TDOA), frequency difference on arrival (FDOA), and frequency ratio on arrival (FROA). This area also involves an understanding of spacecraft dynamics, in order to optimize orbit design for multiple-satellite clusters over one or more transmitters. Similarly, the anti-jamming task involves spacecraft dynamics, in that the signal-nulling capability depends on the geometric (i.e. orbital) spacing of the antennas. It should be noted that this research emphasizes the spacecraft dynamics and estimation aspects of these tasks, rather than the signal processing and/or antenna design aspects (although a fundamental understanding of those aspects is beneficial).
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Dynamics Applied to Electromagnetic Transmitter Localization and Anti-Jamming
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Alan Lovell, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
This research entails the use of space-based receivers both to estimate the location of electromagnetic transmitters and to null any jamming/interference signal from the transmitters.  The transmitters themselves could be land-, sea-, air-, or space-based.  The location algorithms to be developed will be statistical in nature (typically either batch least-squares methods or sequential/filtering techniques).  Typical available measurement types include time difference of arrival (TDOA), frequency difference on arrival (FDOA), and frequency ratio on arrival (FROA).  This area also involves an understanding of spacecraft dynamics, in order to optimize orbit design for multiple-satellite clusters over one or more transmitters.  Similarly, the anti-jamming task involves spacecraft dynamics, in that the signal-nulling capability depends on the geometric (i.e. orbital) spacing of the antennas.  It should be noted that this research emphasizes the spacecraft dynamics and estimation aspects of these tasks, rather than the signal processing and/or antenna design aspects (although a fundamental understanding of those aspects is beneficial).
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Mission Planning Software Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Hans-Peter Dumm, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
This project aims to develop new software tools for improving current and future mission planning activities.  The goal is to reduce the time required to produce mission planning products while also improving their quality.  Software developed has the potential to be used in current spacecraft operations.  Tasks will involve developing or improving programs using a variety of languages to schedule activities, perform coordinate transformations, find fuel efficient trajectories, process and display data, perform optimization, and other.  As part of these tasks, you can expect to learn about spacecraft mission planning, spacecraft operations, orbital mechanics, basic astronomy, and space situational awareness.  Depending on the task, platforms will include Linux and Windows.  Languages may include Perl, Python, Java, C, C#, Matlab, or application specific scripting languages depending on what system the software is integrating with.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Mission Planning Software Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Hans-Peter Dumm, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project aims to develop new software tools for improving current and future mission planning activities.  The goal is to reduce the time required to produce mission planning products while also improving their quality.  Software developed has the potential to be used in current spacecraft operations.  Tasks will involve developing or improving programs using a variety of languages to schedule activities, perform coordinate transformations, find fuel efficient trajectories, process and display data, perform optimization, and other.  As part of these tasks, you can expect to learn about spacecraft mission planning, spacecraft operations, orbital mechanics, basic astronomy, and space situational awareness.  Depending on the task, platforms will include Linux and Windows.  Languages may include Perl, Python, Java, C, C#, Matlab, or application specific scripting languages depending on what system the software is integrating with.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Navigation Systems Laboratory Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
A three-axis rate table can be used to simulate the attitude trajectory experienced by an inertial measurement unit (IMU) aboard a spacecraft. The IMU data is then combined with external measurement data (GPS, star tracker, sun sensors, etc.) in order to navigate the spacecraft. AFRL is currently developing a navigation laboratory containing a three-axis rate table and GPS simulator, with other capabilities under development, to simulate and evaluate the efficacy of newly-developed spacecraft navigation systems. Summer Scholars can work on a variety of projects furthering the capabilities of this laboratory, ranging from hardware integration to software simulation.  Projects will be assigned based on student skillset.  A partial list of topics follows; potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor to discuss these (or similar) topics for more information. Partial topic list: 1) IMU integration and testing on the rate table, 2) GPS receiver integration and testing with the GPS simulator, 3) star tracker development, hardware simulation, and integration, 4) GUI/visualization development, and 5) hardware integration and test.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Navigation Systems Laboratory Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
A three-axis rate table can be used to simulate the attitude trajectory experienced by an inertial measurement unit (IMU) aboard a spacecraft. The IMU data is then combined with external measurement data (GPS, star tracker, sun sensors, etc.) in order to navigate the spacecraft. AFRL is currently developing a navigation laboratory containing a three-axis rate table and GPS simulator, with other capabilities under development, to simulate and evaluate the efficacy of newly-developed spacecraft navigation systems. Summer Scholars can work on a variety of projects furthering the capabilities of this laboratory, ranging from hardware integration to software simulation.  Projects will be assigned based on student skillset.  A partial list of topics follows; potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor to discuss these (or similar) topics for more information. Partial topic list: 1) IMU integration and testing on the rate table, 2) GPS receiver integration and testing with the GPS simulator, 3) star tracker development, hardware simulation, and integration, 4) GUI/visualization development, and 5) hardware integration and test.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Navigation Systems Laboratory Development
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jacob Edward Darling, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
A three-axis rate table can be used to simulate the attitude trajectory experienced by an inertial measurement unit (IMU) aboard a spacecraft. The IMU data is then combined with external measurement data (GPS, star tracker, sun sensors, etc.) in order to navigate the spacecraft. AFRL is currently developing a navigation laboratory containing a three-axis rate table and GPS simulator, with other capabilities under development, to simulate and evaluate the efficacy of newly-developed spacecraft navigation systems. Summer Scholars can work on a variety of projects furthering the capabilities of this laboratory, ranging from hardware integration to software simulation.  Projects will be assigned based on student skillset.  A partial list of topics follows; potential scholars are strongly encouraged to contact the mentor to discuss these (or similar) topics for more information. Partial topic list: 1) IMU integration and testing on the rate table, 2) GPS receiver integration and testing with the GPS simulator, 3) star tracker development, hardware simulation, and integration, 4) GUI/visualization development, and 5) hardware integration and test.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Thermal Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Oliver, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Traditional spacecraft thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design that cannot be easily adapted to other orbits or spacecraft. As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process. These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a
wide range of component locations and heat loads. Student(s) chosen for this topic will use high-fidelity Thermal Desktop models, as well as reduced order models, to better quantify and map the abilities of robust thermal architectures to deal with off nominal conditions and/or changing orbits. Finite element/finite difference modeling experience is desired, but not strictly required.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Thermal Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Oliver, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Traditional spacecraft thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design that cannot be easily adapted to other orbits or spacecraft. As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process. These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a
wide range of component locations and heat loads. Student(s) chosen for this topic will use high-fidelity Thermal Desktop models, as well as reduced order models, to better quantify and map the abilities of robust thermal architectures to deal with off nominal conditions and/or changing orbits. Finite element/finite difference modeling experience is desired, but not strictly required.
Contact mentor

Spacecraft Thermal Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Oliver, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Traditional spacecraft thermal design is a very detailed process that results in a highly optimized design that cannot be easily adapted to other orbits or spacecraft. As a result, thermal design tends to be a costly and time-consuming process. These shortcomings can be mitigated through the incorporation of robust thermal control, in which high conductivity materials are used in conjunction with heat transfer modulating devices and efficient insulation to create a thermal control system that can handle a wide range of component locations and heat loads. High School student(s) chosen for this topic will be introduced to the modeling tools required to produce high-fidelity models, as well as reduced order models, to better quantify and map the abilities of robust thermal architectures to deal with off nominal conditions and/or changing orbits.
Contact mentor

Space Debris Characterization
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Waid Thomas Schlaegel, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Manmade space debris is an area of interest to many in the Space Situational Awareness community. AFRL/RDSMR-Kirtland is researching procedures for performing a survey of every object identified as debris in the satellite catalog. As such, the scholar will develop candidate procedures and processes for observing all low-Earth-orbiting debris in the catalog, and perform several observations of debris to optimize these procedures/processes to characterize the debris. The procedures/processes will consist of criteria for optimizing the collection of imagery to maximize characterization data collection. The scholar will also investigate the use of color filters to improve characterization of the debris as well as choosing what type of camera(s) to use to optimize success of characterizing the debris. At the conclusion of the session, the scholar will present the results of their study to RDSMR and other interested SSA researchers of what they developed.
Contact mentor

Space Environmental Simulation Chamber
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ryan Hoffmann, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Professional Educator
A spacecraft in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) is subject to the harsh weather of space. Weather in GEO comprises primarily fluxes of high energy electrons, protons, and ultraviolet light. The Spacecraft Charging and Instrument Calibration Laboratory (SCICL) on Kirtland AFB (Albuquerque) is building the capability to accurately simulate the harsh GEO environment in a laboratory-based vacuum chamber. Toward that end, the candidate will construct an electron flood gun based on an in-house design and characterize the performance of a proton gun in order to simulate different GEO weather conditions such as a coronal mass ejection. Some of the activities associated with the project will be working with our in-house machine shop to create the components from which to build the electron source, instrument construction, programming of instrument control software using LabVIEW software, and initial investigations into the effects of GEO weather on some common spacecraft materials.
Contact mentor

Space Image Processing & Object Detection
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jordan Taylor Kirk, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters
Modification, analysis, improvement, testing, and real-time operation of space image processing software.
Contact mentor

Space Weather Modeling
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Carl Henney, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Modeling the global solar magnetic field is critical for forecasting space weather events. Individuals interested in working with the input data used to drive solar wind models are encourged to apply for this oppertunity. The project involves working with a variety of ground and space based solar disk observations, as well as in-situ data from multiple spacecraft.
Contact mentor

Sparse coding algorithms applied to de-noising multidimensional data
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Preliminary results show that sparse coding can be applied to de-noising data for more accurate classification. In this project we will explore limits of the use of sparse coding near the noise floor for multidimensional data (audio, visual, and, possibly, spectral data). We are especially interested in feasibility of these techniques on low-power computer architectures.
Contact mentor

Sparse coding algorithms applied to de-noising multidimensional data
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Preliminary results show that sparse coding can be applied to de-noising data for more accurate classification. In this project we will explore limits of the use of sparse coding near the noise floor for multidimensional data (audio, visual, and, possibly, spectral data). We are especially interested in feasibility of these techniques on low-power computer architectures.
Contact mentor

Spectroscopy and Reactivity of Thruster Plume Species
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher J Annesley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The LaSR laboratory is studying a variety of thruster plume species, particularly looking at the life cycle  in the space environment, using a variety of physical chemistry techniques. In one set of experiments we are investigating  vacuum ultraviolet induced fluorescence of molecules and radicals to better understand fluorescent signatures from solar radiation. We have recently completed a study on water where lyman-α light causes a photofragmentation and OH fluorescence   (J. Phys. Chem. A 122 5602 (2018)), and have recently added a discharge radical source to our apparatus. We are also studying ionic liquids, which are being considered as a fuel for next generation electrospray thrusters. To better understand the plume chemistry arising from these thrusters we are studying ionic liquids in two different ways. First, we are studying the solar effects on ionic liquid ion pairs through molecular beam, pump-probe spectroscopic methods. In this way, a two photon ionization scheme (J. Phys. Chem. A. 117 12419, PCCP 18 17037 (2016)) can be used to determine what decomposition the IL pairs will undergo during single photon absorptions in the solar environment. We also are using electrospray ionization to create IL clusters and study their thermal decomposition, following on to recent collision induced dissociation experiments (J. Phys. Chem A 122 1960 (2018)). We are seeking a student who is interested on working on one or more of these projects.
Contact mentor

Spectroscopy and Reactivity of Thruster Plume Species
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christopher J Annesley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The LaSR laboratory is studying a variety of thruster plume species, particularly looking at the life cycle  in the space environment, using a variety of physical chemistry techniques. In one set of experiments we are investigating  vacuum ultraviolet induced fluorescence of molecules and radicals to better understand fluorescent signatures from solar radiation. We have recently completed a study on water where lyman-α light causes a photofragmentation and OH fluorescence   (J. Phys. Chem. A 122 5602 (2018)), and have recently added a discharge radical source to our apparatus. We are also studying ionic liquids, which are being considered as a fuel for next generation electrospray thrusters. To better understand the plume chemistry arising from these thrusters we are studying ionic liquids in two different ways. First, we are studying the solar effects on ionic liquid ion pairs through molecular beam, pump-probe spectroscopic methods. In this way, a two photon ionization scheme (J. Phys. Chem. A. 117 12419, PCCP 18 17037 (2016)) can be used to determine what decomposition the IL pairs will undergo during single photon absorptions in the solar environment. We also are using electrospray ionization to create IL clusters and study their thermal decomposition, following on to recent collision induced dissociation experiments (J. Phys. Chem A 122 1960 (2018)). We are seeking a student who is interested on working on one or more of these projects.
Contact mentor

Statistical analysis of a radiative transfer code
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jeannette van den Bosch, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Looking for a student to perform a multi-dimensional global sensitivity analysis (GSA) on MODTRAN (MODerate resolution atmospheric TRANSmission code), the Department of Defense standard radiative transfer (RT) code.  Applicant does not need experience using or understanding RT code parameters and output, but does require use and analysis of statistical methods.  Knowledge of deep learning is not a prerequisite, but could be helpful.
Contact mentor

Statistical analysis of a radiative transfer code (psp)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jeannette van den Bosch, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Looking for a student to perform a multi-dimensional global sensitivity analysis (GSA) on MODTRAN (MODerate resolution atmospheric TRANSmission code), the Department of Defense standard radiative transfer (RT) code.  Applicant does not need experience using or understanding RT code parameters and output, but does require use and analysis of statistical methods.  Knowledge of deep learning is not a prerequisite, but could be helpful.
Contact mentor

Study of feasability of resistive memory for space electronics
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Arthur Henry Edwards, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Radiation-hard and radiation-tolerant, nonvolatile memory is continuing critical need in space electronics. Memory that depends on modulating electrical resistance, using memristive devices, is an important candidate, as isolated devices from several memristor technologies exhibit high levels of hardness. Because of the relative immaturity of these technologies, other characteristics, such as device-to-device variability, and even variability in single device response variability, demonstration of required memory density, including the underlying CMOS circuitry, for space applications,  and response over the entire range (-55C to 125C) are the more crucial. We will focus on single device and device-to-device variability for new conductive bridge memristive technologies. The student will tests single device read-write characteristics and perform analysis to extract fundamental device parameters.
Contact mentor

Trajectory Design for Constrained Spacecraft Translational/Rotational Motion
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Charles Francis Vaughan, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Optimal control has been the default approach for trajectory design of constrained motion.  Different approaches exist to solving optimal control problems, all of which have their pros and cons.  One goal of this topic is to explore the different methods available for trajectory design, whether optimal or suboptimal.  A subset of these methods will be chosen to explore further.  A second goal is to formulate various cost and constraint representations, for given objectives of the trajectory, and to obtain solutions using the methods explored.  Lastly, formulation of new or hybrid methods will be explored based on the results obtained.
Contact mentor

Transformational Operations (AFWERX Austin, Texas)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Matthew Scott, AFWERX
Location: AFWERX
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D., Upper-level Undergraduate
AFWERX Austin (Engineering) –
Developing out Transformational Space Operations: AFWERX Austin Innovation HUB
has partnered with NASA and AFIT to explore Microsat, PNT, and deployable
communication systems.  At least two
teams are being formed to work on prototyping proof of concepts.

Each project was borne out of AETC/CC’s vision of addressing
Air Force gaps and initiatives through discussions/colliders with industry,
academia and small businesses. Interns bring up-to-date expertise and a fresh
look at design thinking to promote innovation in the Air Force.

The goal of the internship is successfully
executing at least one of the iterations of
prototyping for each project, assessing lessons learned, and applying lessons
learned to the next iteration of experimentation. The interns, also, will identify best practices to
communicate with entrepreneurs, customers, and other participants in the AFWERX
ecosystem, expanding the network and building relationships. Finally, the
interns will storyboard the lifecycle of their participation in the
project. These stores will be turned into
case studies for AETC and the Air Force.
Contact mentor

Trust and Team Cohesion/Collaboration in the DoD Research Laboratory
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Judith Ann Saavedra, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: High School
Organizations rely on teams to fulfil many of the difficult technical and functional responsibilities.  Depending on their focus, teams must be innovative, agile, efficient, and effective.  To complete their tasks successfully, mutual trust must exist within and between teams in organizations.  Often times, team collaborations hold the key to “game-changing” technological research finds and transitions.  To extend organizational trust research, this multi-method research study proposes to use psychometric measurements, observations, and/or self-report questionnaires to measure beliefs, capacities, and behaviors of the workforce, relating to dimensions of trust and team cohesion and collaboration.  The results will be used to understand current beliefs and behaviors as well as predict future behaviors related to trust and innovation, agility, efficiency, and effectiveness, in the DoD research laboratory environment. Using a multi-variate correlational study, as well as other quantitative experimental methods, we will measure factors of trust and team cohesion, within and between teams and the strength of the relationship, to gauge its statistical significance.  The goal is to gain insight into trust and cohesion within and between teams, and of individuals in teams.  Results can help the organization optimize team use and function, communication and collaboration within and between teams and individuals, creating the conditions which will maximize technical innovation, agility, efficiency, and effectiveness, thereby supporting to the warfighter to the fullest extent possible.
Contact mentor

Trust and Team Cohesion/Collaboration in the DoD Research Laboratory
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Judith Ann Saavedra, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Organizations rely on teams to fulfil many of the difficult technical and functional responsibilities.  Depending on their focus, teams must be innovative, agile, efficient, and effective.  To complete their tasks successfully, mutual trust must exist within and between teams in organizations.  Often times, team collaborations hold the key to “game-changing” technological research finds and transitions.  To extend organizational trust research, this multi-method research study proposes to use psychometric measurements, observations, and/or self-report questionnaires to measure beliefs, capacities, and behaviors of the workforce, relating to dimensions of trust and team cohesion and collaboration.  The results will be used to understand current beliefs and behaviors as well as predict future behaviors related to trust and innovation, agility, efficiency, and effectiveness, in the DoD research laboratory environment. Using a multi-variate correlational study, as well as other quantitative experimental methods, we will measure factors of trust and team cohesion, within and between teams and the strength of the relationship, to gauge its statistical significance.  The goal is to gain insight into trust and cohesion within and between teams, and of individuals in teams.  Results can help the organization optimize team use and function, communication and collaboration within and between teams and individuals, creating the conditions which will maximize technical innovation, agility, efficiency, and effectiveness, thereby supporting to the warfighter to the fullest extent possible.
Contact mentor

Trusted Platform Module for Embedded Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
Students will investigate the application of a commercial trusted platform module (TPM) for hardening an embedded computing system. A single-board computer running Linux and an existing set of embedded system software and including a TPM chip will be provided for development. Students will be responsible for developing software to interface with the TPM and integrating the TPM-enable capabilities into the existing embedded software.
Contact mentor

Trusted Platform Module for Embedded Systems
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters
Students will investigate the application of a commercial trusted platform module (TPM) for hardening an embedded computing system. A single-board computer running Linux and an existing set of embedded system software and including a TPM chip will be provided for development. Students will be responsible for developing software to interface with the TPM and integrating the TPM-enable capabilities into the existing embedded software.
Contact mentor

Tunable Patch Antennae
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: John Bryan Plumley, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The Space Vehicles Directorate is actively pursuing ways to develop an electrochemically tunable patch antennae for communication space applications. Changing the metallic 2D pattern of a patch antennae effectively changes the RF frequency that it can transmit and receive. To be able the achieve this capability, the applicant must devise a way to electrochemically plate metal to form a bridge over a micron scaled dielectric gap between conductive regions on an electrode surface and conversely electrochemically remove the bridge. The applicant will be expected to experiment and try different techniques to get the metallic bridging to work in an experimental setup, such as varying the applied voltages, apply voltage pulsing, changing the electrolyte, changing the position of the working and counter electrodes, etc...
Contact mentor

Ultrashort Pulse Laser Research
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andreas Schmitt-Sody, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The ultrashort pulse laser (USPL) group is seeking motivated young scientists and engineers to join the USPL team. The research in the group is focused on studying the basic physics of  nonlinear USPL propagation, filamentation, plasma generation and USPL matter interaction. These laser sources have the potential to be very important to both AF and DOD applications. The laboratory facilities at AFRL are state-of-the-art and are on the leading edge of femtosecond laser research.
Contact mentor

Ultrashort Pulse Laser Research
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Andreas Schmitt-Sody, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The ultrashort pulse laser (USPL) group is seeking motivated young scientists and engineers to join the USPL team. The research in the group is focused on studying the basic physics of  nonlinear USPL propagation, filamentation, plasma generation and USPL matter interaction. These laser sources have the potential to be very important to both AF and DOD applications. The laboratory facilities at AFRL are state-of-the-art and are
on the leading edge of femtosecond laser research.
Contact mentor

Ultraviolet (UV) and Vacuum Ultraviolet (VUV) Reflectivity and Transmissivity of Space Relevant Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ryan Steven Booth, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Our research centers on the fundamental understanding of the optical properties of materials or molecules which are either used in or projected to be used in future space based operations.  Specifically, the reflectance and transmittance of spacecraft materials is important in identifying spacecraft signatures.  While much of these data are known for a large quantity of materials throughout the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum (~400-700 nm), there is a lack of reliable data at wavelengths in the ultraviolet (UV) and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) regions (~120-200 nm).  Solar UV and VUV photon flux is large enough the produce detectable reflections.  We plan to measure such reflectance and transmittance via a VUV/UV goniometric spectrophotometer.  This instrument consists of a windowed deuterium lamp source giving light at wavelengths between 120 and 400 nm and is coupled to a monochromator and a rotating multi-sample stage.  The monochromator allows scanning across the VUV/UV region with a resolution of ~0.1 nm while the rotating sample stages allow us to acquire reflectance measurements at angles from 0-180° and 0° transmittance.  Compilation of reflectance measurements from various spacecraft materials will lead to modeling of the signatures caused by interaction of GEO-based space objects with the solar UV/VUV flux.
Contact mentor

Ultraviolet (UV) and Vacuum Ultraviolet (VUV) Reflectivity and Transmissivity of Space Relevant Materials
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Ryan Steven Booth, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Our research centers on the fundamental understanding of the optical properties of materials or molecules which are either used in or projected to be used in future space based operations.  Specifically, the reflectance and transmittance of spacecraft materials is important in identifying spacecraft signatures.  While much of these data are known for a large quantity of materials throughout the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum (~400-700 nm), there is a lack of reliable data at wavelengths in the ultraviolet (UV) and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) regions (~120-200 nm).  Solar UV and VUV photon flux is large enough to produce reflections detectable in the UV.  We plan to measure such reflectance and transmittance via a VUV/UV goniometric spectrophotometer.  This instrument consists of a windowed deuterium lamp source giving light at wavelengths between 120 and 400 nm and is coupled to a monochromator and a rotating multi-sample stage.  The monochromator allows scanning across the VUV/UV region with a resolution of ~0.1 nm while the rotating sample stages allow us to acquire reflectance measurements at angles from 0-180° and 0° transmittance.  Compilation of reflectance measurements from various spacecraft materials will lead to modeling of the signatures caused by interaction of GEO-based space objects with the solar UV/VUV flux.
Contact mentor

Understanding the sources of variability in EUV solar spectral irradiance
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Rachel Hock-Mysliwiec, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
This project focuses on understanding and modeling the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) solar spectral irradiance, which is a measure of the radiative energy output of the Sun both as a function of wavelength and time. Irradiance contains no spatial information, which makes it a funny concept to talk about as we are able take beautiful images of the Sun. We care about solar irradiance because that is what the Earth's atmosphere "sees".  The atmosphere is not sensitive to where the photons are coming from the Sun; it just reacts to the presence of photons. Different wavelengths are absorbed (or reflected) at different layers in the atmosphere.  Longer wavelengths (visible/IR) heat the lower atmosphere while the short wavelengths (X-ray/EUV/FUV; <200 nm) heat the thermosphere and ionize the ionosphere.  Coupled with the variability of the Sun, we get long-term climate change (the visible and IR part of the solar spectrum varies over decades to centuries) in the lower atmosphere and space weather (X-ray/EUV/FUV varies on minutes to days) in the upper atmosphere.

We are developing both empirical and physics-based models of the EUV solar spectral irradiance over a range of timescales from months to days to minutes.  Summer scholars will have the opportunity to work with solar spectra and images and learn the basics of astrophysical data analysis techniques and programming in the Interactive Data Language (IDL). They can expect that their work will contribute to the development of operational space weather models.
Contact mentor

University Nanosatellite Program
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Jesse Olson, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The University Nanosatellite Program (UNP) was founded in 1999 to foster satellite development expertise in young engineers and to generate new small satellite technologies on small satellite platforms. UNP works with various universities across the country to guide students in the end-to-end design and fabrication of small satellites. UNP typically selects 1 to 5 students to participate in the AFRL Scholars program to assist in this objective. Selected candidates will be required to assist in the analysis, test or documentation for the current nanosatellites preparing for launch. Often times this involves hands-on activities with the satellite. The candidates will also participate in program activities including spacecraft testing, troubleshooting, requirements verification, and providing technical expertise to other university participants within the program. Scholars may have the opportunity to accompany the UNP Office to official small satellite events during the summer. Scholars will have the opportunity to gain and swap systems engineering experience and expertise with other students and professionals in various small satellite lab programs across the US.
Contact mentor

Utilization of Commercial Cloud Technologies for Space Situational Awareness and Data Sharing (Colorado Springs, CO)
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert Sivilli, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate
The internship for this project is located in Colorado Springs, CO.   Scholars will reside in Colorado Springs, CO, for the duration of the internship.

Commercial investments in cloud technologies have enabled a never-before-seen access to elastic infrastructure and machine learning tools. At the same time, there has been an explosion of growth in the  commercial  space situational awareness sector as it relates to sensor and data products. 

This effort will build off of ongoing efforts to provide a guided exploration into the use of these available capabilities and products in an attempt to further blur the lines between government and commercial capability.
Contact mentor

Variable-field Hall measurements on III-V Type II superlattice
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Christian Paul Morath, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
III-V based, type II superlattice (T2SL) materials offer a potential alternative to HgCdTe for next generation infrared detectors.  However, the material still suffers from minority carrier lifetime issues, which may stem from unintentional doping.   Here, variable-field Hall measurements will be used to ascertain the transport properties of T2SL material.  These measurements allow for multi-carrier fitting routines to be performed, which should ideally identify all the carrier types present and provide evidence towards their role, if any, in determining the lifetime.
Contact mentor

Virtualization for Embedded System Software
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
The student will investigate the application of virtualization techniques such as hypervisors, virtual machines, and/or containers to improve portability and maintainability of spacecraft software functions. This project will involve instantiating a commercially-available virtualization software system on an ARM-based single-board computer.
Contact mentor

Virtualization for Embedded System Software
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Robert W Vick, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
The student will investigate the application of virtualization techniques such as hypervisors, virtual machines, and containers to improve portability and maintainability of spacecraft software functions. This project will involve instantiating a commercially-available virtualization software system on an ARM-based single-board computer.
Contact mentor

Volumetric wave-front sensing for deep turbulence phase compensation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Mark F. Spencer, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Current wave-front sensing solutions are inadequate when in the presence of distributed-volume atmospheric aberrations and extended non-cooperative objects (aka the "deep-turbulence problem").  This shortcoming requires that we innovate towards a new solution.  In leveraging a recent journal-article publication [JOSA A 34(9), 1659-1669 (2017)], this internship will develop aspects of a volumetric solution -- a wave-front sensing approach that senses and corrects for disturbances found all along the laser-propagation path (e.g., the atmospheric aberrations in addition to the aero-optic aberrations but separate from the speckle aberrations).  Overall, this volumetric solution will enable us to achieve good compensation when in the presence of distributed-volume atmospheric aberrations and extended non-cooperative objects.
Contact mentor

Volumetric wave-front sensing for deep turbulence phase compensation
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Mark F. Spencer, Directed Energy
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate
Current wave-front sensing solutions are inadequate when in the presence of distributed-volume atmospheric aberrations and extended non-cooperative objects (aka the "deep-turbulence problem").  This shortcoming requires that we innovate towards a new solution.  In leveraging a recent journal-article publication [JOSA A 34(9), 1659-1669 (2017)], this internship will develop aspects of a volumetric solution -- a wave-front sensing approach that senses and corrects for disturbances found all along the laser-propagation path (e.g., the atmospheric aberrations in addition to the aero-optic aberrations but separate from the speckle aberrations).  Overall, this volumetric solution will enable us to achieve good compensation when in the presence of distributed-volume atmospheric aberrations and extended non-cooperative objects.
Contact mentor

Wave Structures in the Bottomside Ionosphere
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Cheryl Yu-Ying Huang, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.
Traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs) are pervasive in the Bottomside ionosphere. These are typically understood as gravity waves and have a number of sources such as topology, neutral winds, the terminator, convective uplift, and explosions. They can be the limiting factor on understanding the propagation characteristics of RF electromagnetic radiation across the ionosphere or within the earth-ionosphere waveguide. We will simulate such structures based on experimental data and attempt to model their effects on HF systems.
Contact mentor

Wave Structures in the Bottomside Ionosphere
Kirtland/AMOS Summer 2019
Mentor: Kenneth S Obenberger, Space Vehicles
Location: Kirtland
Academic Level: Ph.D.
Traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs) are pervasive in the Bottomside ionosphere. These are typically understood as gravity waves and have a number of sources such as topology, neutral winds, the terminator, convective uplift, and explosions. They can be the limiting factor on understanding the propagation characteristics of RF electromagnetic radiation across the ionosphere or within the earth-ionosphere waveguide. We will simulate such structures based on experimental data and attempt to model their effects on HF systems.
Contact mentor