Curriculum Vitae

Jay McMahon is an Associate Professor in the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences department and CCAR at the University of Colorado Boulder where he heads the Orbital Research Cluster for Celestial Applications (ORCCA) lab. ORCCA brings together researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds with the purpose of promoting the utilization and understanding of the Solar System by humankind. We advance the state of the art in astrodynamics, spacecraft autonomy and guidance, navigation & control (GNC) technologies in support of planetary science, space exploration, and industry. He was named a NASA Institute for Advanced concepts (NIAC) fellow in 2017, and a NASA Early Career Faculty fellow in 2018, and a DARPA Young Faculty Fellow in 2020. Asteroid (46829) McMahon (a main-belt binary asteroid) was named in his honor. He received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from CU Boulder in 2011, an 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. From 2004-2008 he worked in the Guidance Analysis department at The Aerospace Corporation. 


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

2021 - Present, Associate Professor, AES, University of Colorado

2016 - 2021, Assistant Professor, AES, University of Colorado 
2013 - 2016, 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