Curriculum Vitae

Jay McMahon is currently an Assistant Professor in the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences department and CCAR at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he heads the Orbital Research Cluster for Celestial Applications (ORCCA) lab. ORCCA's research focuses on: autonomous space vehicle guidance, navigation, and control; asteroid science and missions; resource utilization; and space situational awareness. He has been in Boulder for a while - he received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences in 2011, was a Research Associate following that until early 2013 when he became an Assistant Research Professor until Fall 2016. Prior to Boulder he lived in Los Angeles where he worked in the Guidance Analysis department at The Aerospace Corporation from 2004-2008. His previous degrees include a MS in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 2006 and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2004. He is currently an Associate Editor the the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and an Associate Fellow in AIAA. He was named a NASA Institute for Advanced concepts (NIAC) fellow in 2017, and a NASA Early Career Faculty fellow in 2018. Asteroid (46829) McMahon (a main-belt binary asteroid) was named in his honor. 


Focus Area

Astrodynamics & Satellite Navigation Systems (ASN)


PhD, Aerospace Engineering Science, CU, 2011
MS, Astronautical Engineering, University of Southern California, 2006
BS, Aerospace Engineering (cum laude) , University of Michigan, 2004

Professional Experience

2016 - Present, Assistant Professor, AES, University of Colorado
2013 - Present, Assistant Research Professor, AES, University of Colorado
2011 - 2013, Research Associate, AES, University of Colorado
2008 - 2011, Graduate Research Assistant, AES, University of Colorado
2004 - 2008, Member Technical Staff, Guidance Analysis Department, The Aerospace Corporation

Honors & Awards (selected)

NASA Early Career Faculty fellow 2018
Smead AES Outstanding Junior Faculty Award 2017
AIAA Associate Fellow 2017
NIAC Fellow 2017
AIAA-Rocky Mountain Section Young Engineer of the Year 2017
NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship (NESSF) 2010-2011

Research Interests

Guidance, Navigation and Controls
Space Robotics
Asteroid and Comet Science