Orion Research Lab

Orion Research Lab



Dr. Markus Wilde

Markus Wilde received his M.S. (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) from TU Munich, Germany. He was accepted into the NRC Research Associateship Program in 2013, as postdoctoral associate at the Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2014, he joined the Florida Institute of Technology. His research focus lies on autonomous and telerobotic capabilities for rendezvous and capture of space objects.

Dr. Tiauw Go

Tiauw Hiong Go received his S.M. (1904) and Sc.D. (1999) degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He stayed at MIT as a Postdoctoral Associate and later as a Research Engineer until 2005. In December 2005, Dr. Go joined Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore as an Assistant Professor. He has been instrumental in the development of flight simulation and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) laboratories in the university. Since January 2013, Dr. Go has been with Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His current research interest includes unconventional flight dynamics and control, UAV systems, and multiple flight coordination.

Dr. Brian Kaplinger


Brian Kaplinger received his Ph.D. (2013) from Iowa State University in Aerospace Engineering. He joined the Florida Institute of Technology in 2013. His research focus includes spacecraft proximity operations guidance and control, and attitude determination and control systems.


Dr. Hector Gutierrez  

Hector Gutierrez received the B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from Universidad Cayetano Heredia, Lima, in 1989, and the B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in 1991. He earned the M.Eng. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering in 1993, and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1997. He joined the Florida Institute of Technology in 1999, where he is currently a Professor. His professional interests are in controls and mechatronics for aerospace systems, motion control, and flexible structures. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2001 and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2003, both for his work in magnetic suspension systems. 

 Dr. Daniel Kirk  

Daniel Kirk received his M.S. (2001) and Ph.D. (2003) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Professor of Aerospace Engineering and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. He is a Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellow and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research interests focus on air-breathing and rocket propulsion, and he is a co-director of the Aerospace Systems And Propulsion (ASAP) Laboratory.


Doctoral Students

Stephen Kwok-Choon Stephen Kwok Choon received a B.S. (2010) and M.S. (2011) in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne. He joined Embraer Executive Jets as a Quality Engineer in February 2012. He was involved with the certification, documentation, and corrective action for the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 Jets until June 2014. In August 2014, he enrolled into the PhD Mechanical Engineering program at Florida Institute of Technology and is currently involved in research with a focus in robotics and controls.

Masters Students

Adam Truszkowski Web Page Webmaster
  Kendrick Buchala

 Graduate Student


Jerry Wang


May Nyein Chan May Nyein Chan (May) is a graduate student at Florida Tech pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering with specialization in Flight Mechanics Control Systems. She also obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Tech in May 2017. Her industrial experiences as a mechanical engineering design intern, stress engineering intern, and aircraft certification intern were at HAECO Americas (Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company) through Florida Tech co-op rotational program. Her research at the ORION Lab is the development of a Human Machine Interphase for multi-purpose teleoperation. Her other research involvements are in the development of an attitude controller design of a nano-satellite for Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) remoting sensing project. She is a member and former officer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (IEEE AESS).

Larrisa Balestrero Graduate Student 


Shingo Kunito  Graduate Student

Bhumika Patel  Bhumika Patel is currently pursuing her M.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. She has also received her B.S. (2017) in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne. She has previously participated in various competitions such as AIAA Cessna Design/Build/Fly, FUNSAT IV, and hybrid rocket competition during her undergrad degree. She is currently specializing in Aerospace Control Systems during her M.S. degree. 

Current Visiting Scholars


   Johannes Gutsmiedl Johannes Gutsmiedl is a visiting student from Technical University of Munich in Germany. He is conducting research for his Master's Thesis at FIT and is implementing upgrades to the kinematics simulator operating software.

Undergraduate Students

  Zachary Davis


Jesse Nyffenegger


Brian Nyffenegger

Brian is currently an undergraduate work study, and is studying aeropace engineering. He is currently the mechanical design lead for project ACSOR. Previously, he has designed and fabricated protective covers for the Orion test floor, and supported lab experiments.











Alumni - Graduated Students

  Robert hastings


BS Aerospace Engineering

  Veronica Echazabal


BS Aerospace Engineering

  Kineo Wallace


BS Aerospace Engineering


Christopher Brett

Luleå Tekniska Universitet


MSc Space Science and Technology

Armando Rollins Graduate Student, Research and Teaching Assistant at Florida Tech. Armando earned his Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering at the same university and is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in the same field. Armando's interest lies in Guidance, Navigation and Control of Aerospace vehicles and has served as the Controls lead in the Northrop Grumman Showcase award-winning Mars Rover project in 2014-2015. He is currently a mentor and systems engineer for a NASA USIP project partnered with Vencore Inc. to design a sub-orbital wire-healing research payload. His current research involves trajectory optimization for a closed loop rendezvous with a rotating target in orbit. He is also a FAA certified private pilot and is passionate about aviation.

Maria Grulich

TUM Technische Universität München | Florida Institute of Technology

Maria grew up in Hannover, Germany and graduated with a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2016 from TU Munich, Germany. She spent one semester at ISAE SUPAERO, in France. Maria wrote her master’s thesis at the Florida Institute of Technology. Her research was in the field of GNC in particular autonomous rendezvous and docking in space with non-cooperative targets. She has been involved in a student working group for rocket science working on the mechanical design of a 1U CubeSat. As a team leader, she developed a sounding rocket experiment which flew in 2015 on REXUS 18 from Kiruna, Sweden. Maria participated in several space mission design competitions and workshops such as Space Station Design Workshop in Stuttgart, Germany or RASC-AL from NASA. Currently she is working at ESA in ESTEC, Netherlands as a Young Graduate Trainee in the Review Office of the Inspector General.


Francois Morvan IFMA: L’institut Français de Mécanique Avancée

MS Mechanical Engineering


Florent LaPorte

ENSMM: École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques

MS Mechanical Engineering


Stuart LoPresti

Florida Institute of Technology

BSc Physics