Manoranjan Majji                     John L. Junkins                     Robert Skelton                          Terry Alfriend

Director, LASR Laboratory     Founding Director                       Associate Director                  Associate Director

Assistant Professor                  Distinguished Professor of      TEES Distinguished                Professor of Aerospace

mmajji@tamu.edu                     Aerospace Engineering             Professor                                    Engineering

Website                                         Director, Hagler Institute of    bobskelton@tamu.edu          alfriend@tamu.edu

979.845.3912                                Advanced Study (HAS)                Website                                      979.845.0130

 f                                                        junkins@tamu.edu                      979.845.3947

f                                                        Website

f                                                        979.845.4992


Graduate Students





Kookjin Sung is a 6th year PhD candidate of aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University. His research is focused on state estimation of nonlinear dynamics, robotics, computer vision and opto-electronics for the proximity operation of aerospace vehicles. In the LASR lab, he designed several sensor-fusion algorithms for autonomous navigation in GPS-denied environments. With expertise in camera, LiDAR and optical elements, he developed innovative sensor applications that utilize the visual and optical measurements to enhance the robustness of the navigation system. He loves to play soccer in his free time and he is currently practicing golf.

Caleb Peck is a fifth year Ph.D. student whose graduate studies began with mass efficient tensegrity systems and their application in engineering. His master’s thesis investigated toroidal tensegrity topologies for extraterrestrial unmanned rovers. His research shifted to relative navigation and state estimation approaches through sensor fusion of inertial measurement units, optical cameras, and LIDAR. Currently, his research is focused on pseudospectral methods for solving linear/nonlinear equations of dynamic systems related to state propagation, trajectory optimization, and optimal control. His passion for spacecraft GN&C is the foundation for his desire to work in the space industry and support the enabling of a sustained human presence on the Moon and beyond. In his free time he enjoys exercising and is currently training for a marathon, cooking delicious meals with his wife, and making sure his dog knows he’s a good boy.

James McElreath is a Ph.D. student currently in his fourth year of graduate studies at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on Cis-Lunar Orbit Determination and Rendevous/Proximity Operations for cooperation/uncooperative systems. James loves marrying analytical astrodynamics with real world hardware, making the space emulation robotic platforms at LASR Lab a great fit for his interests. In his free time, you can almost always find James outdoors, probably halfway up the side of a mountain rock climbing. 

Ram Bhaskara is a Ph.D. student at the Aerospace Engineering department, Texas A&M University and is currently in his 4th year of graduate studies. He received his MS in Aerospace engineering from Texas A&M in 2021 and BTech in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from NIT Trichy (India). His research focuses on high-performance computing for sensing and state estimation, robotics, and computer graphics. Currently, he is working on filtering schemes for accelerometers while sharing his time as a visiting student researcher in robotics at Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech. He is a follower of chess, the Liverpool football club, and the Indian cricket team. For further details visit https://ram-bhaskara.github.io/

David Capps is a second year PhD candidate working on methods of manufacturing minimal mass structures through the use of the design methodology called tensegrity, a structural design process that uses only axially loaded members in only tension or compression. His career focus is on manufacturing processes for designing and constructing tensegrity structures. Some other areas of interest include, but are not limited to, control, optimization, robotics, and structural energy absorption.

Ian Down graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2021, and is currently a second year Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University. He is funded through both the National Excellence in Aerospace Science Fellowship and the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study Fellowships. His interests lie at the crossroads of astrodynamics, dynamical system theory, and control theory. His current work involves the control of spacecraft formations used as sensing networks in cislunar space, as well as several other rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking projects. In his free time, Ian coaches Texas A&M University’s Club Sailing Team, plays basketball and disc golf, and enjoys local live music in the Bryan, College Station area.

David van Wijk is a second year Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Engineering department, funded by the College of Engineering Graduate Merit Fellowship. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in May of 2021 from Cornell University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Sibley school of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering where he was involved in research in the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls. He is currently working on reduced order model generation techniques with applications for autonomous rendezvous and docking of spacecraft in collaboration with the Safe Autonomy team at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Broadly, he is interested in robotics, autonomous systems, and reinforcement learning. For more details see https://davidvwijk.github.io/

Ali Hasnain Khowaja is a first year Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Engineering Department. He graduated with his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2021. His research focus lies in robotic systems, automation, computer vision, and control theory. In his free time, Ali likes to work on DIY engineering projects, play various sports, and produce music!





Deep Parikh is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Aerospace Engineering department, Texas A&M University. He received his MTech in Aerospace engineering from IIT Kanpur in 2019, with Academic Excellence Awards for the years 2018 and 2019, and BTech in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from Nirma University in 2014, with the departmental gold medal. His research focuses on Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Docking (RPOD) for spacecraft applications involving autonomous free-flying robots, active debris removal, and satellite servicing. Currently, he is working on designing and validating control strategies for underactuated small satellites. Before joining Texas A&M University, he worked at MathWorks to enable connectivity with MATLAB and several robotic manipulators. In his free time, he enjoys cooking traditional Indian meals and building drones. For further details, visit https://deepparikh.github.io/

Undergraduate Students

Ethan Weber is an Undergraduate Research Assistant and a member of the class of 2024. His current research focuses on developing a novel method for deriving quaternions from IMU data and on using control moment gyroscopes to drive spherical robots. He is also interested in the topics of space debris characterization and active debris removal. In addition to his research, Ethan has contributed to the design and construction of an autonomous all-terrain rover, a small-scale control moment gyroscope, and other apparatus in use at the lab. In his free time, Ethan likes to hike, bike, volunteer, create digital art, and play disc golf.

Aaron Smegner is an Undergraduate Research Assistant from Coppell, TX working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He plans on continuing into graduate school at Texas A&M for his Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently assisting in research related to the de-orbiting of space debris as well as enabling the lab to perform more sophisticated simulations for the validation of tracking algorithms. He is primarily interested in orbital debris removal, machine vision, and robotics. In his free time, Aaron enjoys playing with his dog, spending time with friends and family, and playing video games.