PhD Students

Dahlia Skydiving

Dahlia Baker

Dahlia is a fifth year PhD student from Boerne, TX. Her current research includes asteroid shape modeling, surfaces and dynamical evolution. She holds a B.A. in Physics from Coe College, and was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awarded in 2018. Before joining CU Boulder and ORCCA, she interned at NASA Goddard and Planetary Resources as a Brooke Owens Fellow. As an ORCCA member, she has worked on the...
Ry in Arizona

Ry Bull

Ry is a PhD student from Parker, Colorado. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. She also works at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a mission design and navigation engineer. Her current research focuses on trajectory optimization under uncertainty.
Rachel

Rachel Cueva

Rachel is a second-year Ph.D. student from Eldersburg, Maryland. She holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is currently supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that she was awarded in 2022. Rachel's research focuses on the dynamical evolution of binary asteroid systems. Prior to attending CU Boulder and joining ORCCA, she interned at both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Johns...
tara

Taralicin Deka

Taralicin is a 4th year Ph.D. student, from Assam, India. She holds a prior B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology Silchar, India, and an MSc. degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. In her research she leverages motion planning ideas from the field of robotics and expands their application to achieve safe, fuel- efficient, and near-optimal motion planning in astrodynamics...
Matt

Matthew Givens

Originally from Ogden, UT, Matthew began his PhD at CU in the fall of 2019. He obtained a BSc. in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT and a MSc. in aerospace engineering from Utah State University in Logan, UT before moving to Colorado to join ORCCA. After working as an intern at the NASA Ames Research Center in 2016, Matthew was an engineer and...
Ken Kuppa

Koundinya (Ken) Kuppa

Ken is a PhD student at ORCCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining ORCCA, he worked at Draper in Cambridge, MA on GN&C algorithms for aerospace vehicles. His research interests are in developing algorithms for autonomous lunar and small body navigation.
chloe

Chloe Long

Chloe is a fourth-year PhD student from Queens, NYC. She holds a BSc in mechanical engineering with a focus in sustainable engineering from SUNY Binghamton. Her research interests include binary asteroid dynamics and mission target selection. Chloe is a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow and a founder of the Ask A Brookie Outreach Program. She is a passionate advocate for educational accessibility and equity. In her free time, Chloe loves to...
photo_ani

Anivid Pedros

Anivid is a PhD student from Barcelona, Spain. She holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and a MSc. in Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation from CU-Boulder. Anivid first joined ORCCA Lab in Spring 2019 as an undergraduate researcher. Her work focuses on the dynamical environment of active small bodies. Specifically, she is interested in gravity modeling, robust guidance algorithms, and particle dynamics around small bodies. She...
jens

Jens Rataczak

Jens is a first-year Ph.D. student from Circle Pines, Minnesota. He holds a BSc. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame, where he performed experimental hypersonic aerothermodynamics research. As a member of the hypersonic vehicles IRT at CU, he plans to investigate the interplay between the aerothermal environment and GNC of hypersonic vehicles. Co-advised by Dr. Iain Boyd.
Kian

Kian Shakerin

Kian is a first-year PhD student from Mission Viejo, California. He holds a Masters (MPhys) in Astrophysics from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has previously worked as a Spacecraft Controller for satellite communications company OneWeb and as a Spacecraft Flight Software Systems Engineer within NASA's Commercial Crew Program at Johnson Space Center.
Dezell

Dezell Turner

David Dezell Turner is studying astrodynamics applications for small-body missions under the direction of Prof. Jay McMahon. He graduated from MIT with a BS in Aerospace Engineering in 2022. Dezell is a member of both the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program and the GEM Fellowship. He has spent multiple summers working on projects in the fields of navigation and astrodynamics at The Aerospace Corporation, including a concept study for a cislunar...
jacopo

Jacopo Villa

Jacopo is a first-year PhD student from Rimini, Italy. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from University of Bologna and a MS in Aerospace Engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He is currently collaborating with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has been an affiliate for two years prior to joining CU, working on autonomous navigation for small body missions. His research explores high-fidelity gravimetric density...

Masters Students

disc

Disip Chaturvedi

Disip is a second-year master’s student from Indore, India. He holds a B.Tech. in Material Science and an M.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in dynamics and control from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India. For his thesis, he is currently investigating the reachability of a servicer spacecraft in a formation flight around a target spacecraft. He is also working on docking to and detumbling of space debris. He is...

Undergraduate Students

Postdoctoral Scholars

Visiting Scholars

Alumni

Jonathan

Jonathan Nikkel

Jonathan is a CU Aerospace alumni and Colorado native from Loveland, CO. He holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering and a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering, with a focus in Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation with a thesis completed in ORCCA in 2018. He is currently a Navigation Systems Engineer at Maxar-DigitalGlobe. He is interested in advanced navigation filters, space situational awareness, optical tracking, and GPS applications.
davide

Davide Amato

Davide was a postdoc from Castellammare di Stabia, Italy. He holds a BSc. and a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering from the "Federico II" University of Naples, Italy, and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid, Spain. Prior to joining ORCCA, he was a postdoc at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. His scientific interests are orbit propagation, orbital mechanics, machine learning applied to astrodynamics, and...
Ben looking dapper

Benjamin Bercovici

Benjamin, originally from Bordeaux, France, obtained his PhD in Spring 2019. He holds a BSc. and MSc. in Aerospace Engineering from ISAE-Supaero, Toulouse, France, and a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining CU Boulder in 2015, he was an intern at Airbus Defense and Space in Toulouse, France. His research focuses on shape reconstruction, uncertainty quantification and model-based navigation about small bodies. He...
spencer

Spencer Boone

Spencer is originally from Calgary, Alberta. He defended his PhD in November, 2022. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, and a MS in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder. Before returning to CU for his Ph.D., he worked for several years in flight dynamics operations for various NASA Earth-observing missions. His research currently focuses on enabling autonomous spacecraft maneuvering and guidance in non-linear dynamical systems (e.g...
Daniel looking dapper

Daniel Brack

Daniel, originally from Jerusalem, Israel, obtained his PhD in Fall 2019. He holds a BSc. and MSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. Daniel is affiliated with the Space Generation Advisory Council, NASA Goddard and is a recipient of the Mather Nobel Scholarship. Daniel's research investigates the relationship between rotation dynamics and surface activity, such as landslides, on small bodies. Daniel is also a...
Luke loves Europa

Luke Bury

Luke, originally from Sioux Falls, SD, obtained his PhD in Fall 2021. He holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his PhD was supported by the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship which he was awarded in 2018. His research focused on trajectory design for landing on moons of the outer planets.
Ann

Ann Dietrich

Ann graduated with her PhD in August 2017, focusing on supporting autonomous navigation research using a flash lidar instrument in proximity to small bodies. While at CU, she held honors such as being a Joseph H. Smead Fellow, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship. She currently works at NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Near Earth Tracking Applications group, working on orbit determination of the GPS satellites and...
Andrew on an escalator

Andrew French

Andrew, originally from Olympia, Washington, obtained his PhD in Spring 2020. He holds a B.A in Mathematics and B.Sc in Engineering Physics both from Whitworth University, and a M.Sc in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from CU Boulder. Andrew was affiliated with the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and with KinetX, Inc. Andrew's research was interested in orbit determination and gravity field estimation around asteroids and comets. Andrew was also a member...
Jeroen

Jeroen Geeraert

Jeroen received his BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2011 and the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012. He graduated with his PhD in 2017 from Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder under the supervision of Dr. Jay McMahon. He is currently working as an Orbit Determination Analyst at KinetX Inc. for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.
Mel

Melis Grace

Melis was a graduate student from Rochester, New York. She holds a B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from SUNY University at Buffalo and obtained M.S. in the same field from CU Boulder in Fall 2020. Her research explored the dynamics of aerocapture and entry, descent, and landing, focusing on uncertainty quantification/propagation and spacecraft guidance.
Shayna by a whiteboard

Shayna Hume

Shayna is a second-year PhD student from Springfield, MA. She holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Miami, and is currently supported by the Graduate Research Fellowship of the National Science Foundation that she was awarded in 2018. She is a recipient of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship and is affiliated with Dr. Bobby Braun's ESD Laboratory at CU Boulder. Prior to joining CU, Shayna was affiliated with...
megan

Megan Jones

Megan was an undergraduate student obtaining a Bsc. in Aerospace Engineering at CU Boulder, which she received in 2021. She got involved with ORCCA over the summer of 2018 with the CU SPUR program assisting in building a drone and asteroid model test bed. She is interested in autonomous spacecraft systems for celestial body exploration missions, among other interests. She was interning at JPL over the summer of 2019 working...
Hermann looking dapper

Hermann Kaptui

Hermann obtained his PhD in Spring 2022. Originally from Douala, Cameroon, Hermann moved to Takoma Park, MD during his undergrad at the University of Maryland, where he graduated with a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering. He is affiliated with the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA Langley Research Center. His research focused on 6DOF guidance and control of multi-agent systems leveraging differential SRP to facilitate autonomous on-orbit servicing.
taehyeun

Taehyeun Kim

Taehyeun, originally from Seoul, South Korea, was a M.S. student specializing in Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation Systems. He holds a B.S. in Astronomy from Yonsei University. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. His research interests are optimal guidance and control for operating spacecraft in highly nonlinear dynamics, such as cislunar space and around small bodies.
Don in the woods

Don Kuettel

Don was a PhD student from Hortonville, WI. He holds a BSc. in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a MSc. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder. In addition to being an ARCs Scholar, he has interned with the Air Force Research Laboratory. His research focuses on enabling optimal guidance and control of spacecraft around small bodies using low-thrust propulsion. He defended...
Jonathan looking dapper

Jonathan Manni

Jonathan was a graduate student from Canton, Michigan and obtained his MSc. in Spring 2020. He holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, and has studied abroad at the Osnabrück University of Applied Science in Germany. He was supported by the Draper Fellowship which he was awarded in 2018, and was an intern at the NASA Johnson Space Center over the summer...
Mark in a field

Mark Moretto

Mark, originally from Briarcliff Manor, NY, obntained his PhD in Summer 2022. He holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering and a BSc. in Astronomy from the University of Maryland, and was supported by the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship that he was awarded in 2018. During his PhD, Mark studied the highly perturbed orbital environment at active comets with applications to mission planning, operations, and science.
sean_richmond

Sean Napier

Sean Napier was a PhD student from Doylestown, PA. He holds a BSc. in Astrophysics from Lehigh University. He works as an aerospace engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, prior to which he held internships with Omitron Inc. and SpaceX. Sean's research is focused on multi-objective hybrid optimal control for multi-spacecraft interplanetary trajectories.
Ken with a view

Kenshiro Oguri

Kenshiro (Ken) was a Ph.D. student from Nagoya, Japan. He holds a BSc. and MSc. in Aero/Astro from the University of Tokyo. Summer 2018 and Fall 2019, he worked at NASA JPL on science orbit design for the Psyche mission (2018) and on solar sailing trajectory optimization for the NEA Scout mission (2019). He works on stochastic optimal control for robust space trajectory design and SRP-based orbit control, with applications...
paolo

Paolo Panicucci

Paolo was a visiting scholar in Spring 2019 from ISAE-SUPAERO, Toulouse, France. He holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and holds MSc. in Space Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, in Aerospace Engineering from ISAE-SUPAERO, Toulouse, France, and in Control and Signal Processing from Paris-Saclay University, Paris, France. He is supported by CNES Doctoral Fellowship. He was previously affiliated with Airbus Defence and...
Evan

Evan Roelke

Evan was a PhD student from Morristown, New Jersey with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has interned at 3 NASA centers (NASA Langley, NASA Ames, and JPL) and has been a Draper Labs Fellow since 2018. His research focuses on guidance algorithm development for drag-modulated aerocapture. He defended his PhD in summer 2021.
Lubna in green

Lubna Zubair

Lubna is from Voorhees, NJ. She holds a BSc. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech where she was part of the Systems Design Lab prior to joining CU. Lubna joined Blue Origin in WA after completing her MSc. degree in Spring 2019.
ORCCA Current Students Academic Background Breakdown
ORCCA Currents Students Academic Backgrounds Breakdown