Florida Tech has been a part of the Space Coast for as long as the world’s had astronauts. The university was founded in 1958, the same year NASA got its start, and since then has been advancing the industries that drive aerospace innovation through education, research and partnership.
With nicknames including “Missileman U” and “Countdown College,” Florida Tech is known for its deep historical connections to the U.S. space program as well as its current research in space commercialization, flight test engineering, space robotics and fluid dynamics—to name just a few.
Engineering the future is what Florida Tech did first and it's what we do best. That's why Florida Tech Stands for Aerospace.
How does liquid propellant slosh affect the dynamics of rocket motion?
"As liquid propellant moves around within spacecraft and satellite storage tanks, large forces can be generated along with significant variations of temperature and pressure. These effects can have a significant impact on the trajectory of a spacecraft and on the effectiveness, reliability, and safety of the propulsion system, especially in the microgravity environment of space. Our research helps to both generate predictive models that anticipate the location of liquid propellant throughout the duration of a space mission, and to validate those models against experimental data that is collect in our world-class laboratory.”
Dr. Daniel Kirk is a professor and dean of the College of Engineering and Science. He has obtained more than $5 million dollars in research funding, produced over 100 conference and journal publications, and served as a visiting scholar at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA Kennedy Space Center. He has also managed research projects in collaboration with NASA, the United States Air Force and the Office of Naval Research.
How can we make aircraft easier to fly and safer for pilots?
"The FAA is funding Florida Tech because they need input and counsel on how to best certify the next generation of aircraft. Planes with electric propulsion, vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, and autonomous controls--they don't yet have certification standards for these type of vehicles. Our research will impact how novel aircraft are certified in the future, so we're excited about that."
A graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School who has accumulated more than 1,300 flight hours in 49 different aircraft, Dr. Brian Kish is the chair of Florida Tech's flight test engineering program and an Associate Fellow of AIAA. His research interests include pilot workload, human factors, handling qualities and compliance methods.
How do we enable spacecraft to repair other spacecraft in orbit?
"We approach this by looking at robotics technologies and the spacecraft in question. On the robotics side, how do you use a small robot arm to transfer fuel? To capture something in space and move it around? On the spacecraft side, what sensors does it need? What control laws should it have? How can it be controlled from Earth? In our lab, we simulate frictionless motion, orbital dynamics between multiple objects, and the impacts of sunlight on machine vision technologies to answer these questions."
Dr. Markus Wilde is an associate professor and director of the Orion Lab at Florida Tech. He has participated in the NRC Research Associateship Program and served as a postdoctoral associate at the Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School. His research focuses on autonomous and telerobotic capabilities for the rendezvous and capture of space objects.
A recent study at the ORION lab is looking at the feasibility of growing crops in space in a new way.
Dr. Brian Kish discusses his research shaping the future of autonomous drone transportation.
University researcher Jeremy Riousset is examining lightning on Mars and its potential role in being a catalyst for life on the planet.