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McMahon, Jay W Assistant Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • Dr. McMahon's research is focused on the dynamics, guidance, navigation and control of aerospace vehicles, including space robotics, with a focus on increasing autonomy for space exploration. He also focuses on the dynamics of asteroids, particularly binary asteroids under the influence of non-gravitational forces. He is the deputy lead of the Radio Science team for the NASA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and is Deputy-PI for the upcoming JANUS mission to visit two binary asteroid systems. He combines his expertise in aerospace engineering and asteroid science to develop new methods for interacting with, and potentially mining, asteroids and other small bodies in the solar system.

keywords

  • astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, guidance navigation and controls, asteroid science, binary asteroids, aerospace engineering, asteroid mining, space robotics

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • ASEN 2003 - Aerospace 3: Introduction to Dynamics and Systems
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2020
    Introduces the principles of particle and planar rigid body dynamics, systems, and controls. Topics include kinematics, kinetics, momentum and energy methods, system modeling, and simple feedback control. Class includes experimental and design laboratory exercises for aerospace applications of dynamic principles.
  • ASEN 3200 - Orbital Mechanics/Attitude Dynamics and Control
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Presents the fundamentals of orbital mechanics, 3D rigid body dynamics and satellite attitude dynamics and controls.
  • ASEN 5044 - Statistical Estimation for Dynamical Systems
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Introduces theory and methods of statistical estimation for general linear and nonlinear dynamical systems, with emphasis on aerospace engineering applications. Major topics include: review of applied probability and statistics; optimal parameter and dynamic state estimation; theory and design of Kalman filters for linear systems; extended/unscented Kalman filters and general Bayesian filters for non-linear systems.
  • ASEN 6015 - Space Vehicle Guidance and Control
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020
    The course gives a comprehensive view of guidance systems used in space vehicles, and methods for analyzing the performance of these systems. The types of guidance systems that will be covered are launch vehicle ascent, intercept/rendezvous, interplanetary, orbit station-keeping, atmospheric re-entry, lander, and low-thrust. The mathematical foundation of these systems will be derived and discussed. Real world applications will be presented by reviewing selections from published literature. Course work will emphasize the analysis of the guidance system performance to achieve stated goals. Previously offered as a special topics course.
  • ASEN 6080 - Statistical Orbit Determination
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Course on orbit and advanced estimation techniques. Emphasizes orthogonal transformation techniques such as Givens and Householder, square root filtering and smoothing and considers covariance analysis. Also nonlinear filters and dynamic model compensation techniques. Requires term project that involves the application of many of the techniques required for precise orbit determination.
  • ASEN 6519 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Reflects upon specialized aspects of aerospace engineering sciences. Course content is indicated in the online Schedule Planner. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours. Recommended prerequisite: varies.
  • ASEN 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
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  • ASTR 5835 - Seminar in Planetary Science
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Studies current research on a topic in planetary science. Students and faculty give presentations. Subjects may vary each semester. May be repeated up to 4 total credit hours to meet candidacy requirements. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics. Same as ATOC 5835 and GEOL 5835.
  • ATOC 5835 - Seminar in Planetary Science
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Studies current research on a topic in planetary science. Students and faculty give presentations. Subjects may vary each semester. May be repeated up to 4 total credit hours to meet candidacy requirements. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics. Same as ASTR 5835 and GEOL 5835.
  • GEOL 5835 - Seminar in Planetary Science
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Studies current research on a topic in planetary science. Students and faculty give presentations. Subjects may vary each semester. May be repeated up to 4 total credit hours to meet candidacy requirements. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics. Same as ATOC 5835 and ASTR 5835.

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