Coronavirus Impacts – Returning to Research: https://research.uc.edu/coronavirus-impacts-return-to-on-campus-research

Space Research Institute for Discovery and Exploration

University of Cincinnati Space Research Institute for Discovery and Exploration aims to use the knowledge and competencies of our faculty, students, and partners to continue Ohio's extensive legacy of contributions to aviation and spaceflight.

Ohio is well known for its contributions in aviation and spaceflight. From the Dayton bicyclists, Wright Brothers, to spacefaring pioneers, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, Ohio has been at the forefront of aviation, aerospace, and space exploration. While these accolades and laurels have been earned through innovation, discovery, and raw talent, it is the academic prowess that has been at the forefront. As we move into new areas of exploration, including robotic and human-tended missions beyond Earth’s orbit and the rapidly growing commercial space industry, we will harness the knowledge and competencies of our faculty, students, and partners. We will build on the foundation laid before us to achieve effective and lasting contributions in this new paradigm.

HISTORY

In 2007, UC was the recipient of a substantial monetary gift with the intent to create a space exploration research effort as well as the establishment of two endowed chairs, the Thomas Jefferson Endowed Chair for Discovery and the Alan B. Shepard Endowed Chair for Exploration. Each of these chairs will further develop the intent of exploration and discovery through their own innovative research. In addition, this gift continues to inspire the next generation of scientist and engineers across multiple disciplines.

UC was also the academic setting for Neil Armstrong after he left NASA. As professor of aerospace engineering, he inspired the next generation of aerospace engineers.

Neil Armstrong and John Glenn at UC in 1986

Meet the Director

The University of Cincinnati recently named Professor Charles Doarn as the inaugural director of the institute. Professor Doarn holds degrees from The Ohio State University and the University of Dayton. He serves as a Research Professor in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences within the College of Medicine as is the Program Director of UC’s Master of Public Health. His full CV can viewed here.

Doarn_Charles_005

Director’s Message –

I am delighted to support the UC Office of Research in this new endeavor. Most of my career has been at the intersection of medicine, public health, engineering and program management. While I remain fully engaged in medicine and public health with ties to NASA, it is my program management skills that I will apply to this new institute in helping shape the University of Cincinnati’s efforts in aerospace through mutually-beneficial partnerships with NASA’s aerospace engineering activities, the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson, industry partners, academia, and the State of Ohio in expanding our boundaries in education and discovery. Each new graduate of our engineering and applied sciences program as well as other disciplines within our vibrant urban campus will be better prepared as a result of their involvement with our faculty, collaborators, and this institute. Feel free to contact me by phone at (513) 558- 6148 or by email at charles.doarn@uc.edu

Faculty Chairs

Tomasz Stepinksi Portrait 

Tomasz Stepinski PhD

Thomas Jefferson Chair of Space Discovery

Beginning in 2010, Tomasz F. Stepinski, PhD established the Space Informatics Lab (SIL) in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geography. SIL’s mission is to develop intelligent algorithms and online tools for fast and intuitive exploration of large spatial datasets that originated from remotely sensed planetary data, including Earth data. Such tools give the scientific community and the public the ability to get insights from the entirety of the data, not just from individual images. Examples include automated mapping of craters and valley networks (dry river networks) on Mars, automated generation of mineral maps from hyperspectral images of Mars, and a tool that performs Earth-wide search for sites with landscapes and climates similar to a user-provided query. Stepinski has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and MS in Astrophysics. Before arriving at UC he worked at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. At UC he currently teaches a freshman-level course - “Exploring the Solar System” to introduce undergraduates to the topic of space exploration.

Click here to see contact information and publications

ou-ma-portrait

Ou Ma

Alan B Shepard Chair of Exploration

Ou Ma received his PhD degree from McGill University in 1991. He is currently serving as the Alan B Shepard Chair and Professor at University of Cincinnati (UC). His research interests are dynamics and control for aerospace robotics and autonomous systems. Dr. Ma is currently directing the Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Systems (IRAS) Lab at UC, whose research portfolio includes multi-robot teaming as distributed systems, human-robot interaction and collaboration, satellite on-orbit services, and intelligent robotics for smart manufacturing. Prior to joining UC, Dr. Ma worked as an associate professor (2002-2008), professor (2008-2012), and Nakayama chair professor (2012-2017) at the New Mexico State University. From 1991 to 2002, Dr. Ma worked as an R&D lead and project engineer for MDA Robotics and Automation (then called Spar Aerospace or MDA Space Missions), participated in the operational support of the Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (also called Canadarm), and the development of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS or Canadarm2) and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM or Dextre) for the International Space Station, leading the efforts of dynamics modeling and simulation-based verification and validation of these two space robots. Dr. Ma has also participated in the development of the European Proximity Operation Simulator (EPOS) for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the development of the robotic arm for DARPA’s Orbital Express mission.

Click here to see contact information and publications

Advisory Board

The Institute is guided by a diverse group of subject matter experts internal and external to UC. These individuals, listed below bring interdisciplinary prowess to Institute, providing strategic advise as it grows in stature and capability. From time to time, individuals will join the Board.

Amit Battacharya Portrait 

Amit Bhattacharya, PhD

Professor
Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences
UC College of Medicine

Dr. Bhattacharya holds a PhD degree in biomedical engineering and a MS in fluid mechanics/heat transfer, from the University of Kentucky. He is a Professor of Environmental Health, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He is the founding Director of the EDDI LabEarly Detection of Degenerative Disorders & Innovative Solutions. Dr. Bhattacharya has made significant contributions in a variety of research domains: wearable and ingestible sensors for real-time assessment/prediction of hyperthermia among first responders during live firefighting incidents, genetic susceptibility impact on postural stability and gait functions of naval aviators, therapeutic aspects of cardio-synched whole body vibration, as a countermeasure for cardiovascular deconditioning resulting from weightlessness, and the development of noninvasive, techniques for the quantification of postural imbalance as an indicator of neurotoxicity and identification of preclinical biomechanical markers of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. His research, in the area of noninvasive quantification of postural balance for use in early detection of chemical toxicity, received national recognition when he was invited by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to present a “hand on” demonstration of this technique at the National Medical Research Day. Dr. Bhattacharya is frequently invited to serve as ad hoc member on a variety of scientific review panels organized by U.S. National Academies of Sciences & Engineering, National Institute of Health (NIH), NIOSH, CDC, DOD and international organizations. He is a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society & Senior member of the National Academy of Inventors.

Elaine Bryant Portrait 

Elaine Bryant

Managing Director, Military and Federal Sector
JobsOhio
Dayton, Ohio

Ms. Bryant is the Dayton Development Coalition's Executive Vice President for Aerospace and Defense. She is also the Managing Director of the Federal and Military sector for JobsOhio. Elaine has over two decades of experience in the U.S. Air Force. She holds a BS in Engineering from The Air Force Academy and a master’s in Aerospace from the University of Maryland. Her first assignment was as an F-16 maintenance officer at Hill AFB, UT. She was later stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to serve in the Air Vehicles directorate of AFRL, followed by positions at HQ AFMC as Executive Officer to the Chief of Staff, and Aide-de-Camp to the Air Force Material Command Commander. Elaine then served as an Assistant Professor for Aeronautics at the Air Force Academy, and then Commander of Cadet Squadron 24. She later held program management and engineering leadership positions at the F-35 JPO and SAF/AQR in Washington, D.C.

Elaine returned to WPAFB to serve as Commander of the Foreign Material Exploitation Squadron at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. Her final Air Force assignment was Deputy Chief of the Human Systems Program Office.

In her current role, Elaine’s focus is preserving, protecting and expanding missions at federal and military installations in the Dayton region and across the state of Ohio.

During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, she was hand-picked to serve as a loaned executive to Governor DeWine’s staff to establish PPE acquisition practices and execute the purchase of PPE for the state.

Kelly Cohen Portrait 

Kelly Cohen, PhD

Professor
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
UC College of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Cohen is the Interim Department Head (since 2017) and the Brian H. Rowe Endowed Chair at the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Cincinnati. He's an Associate Fellow of the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), past Chair of AIAA’s Intelligent Systems Technical Committee and Senior Member, IEEE. Dr. Cohen received all of his three degrees from the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion, Israel. Prior to joining UC in 2007, he has 22 years of experience in military R&D organizations working on UAVs and Air Mobility systems and technologies. Furthermore, his main expertise lies in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI), intelligent systems, UAVs systems and operations. He has utilized genetic fuzzy logic-based AI algorithms for decision-making in aerospace and bio-medical applications. Since 2010, he has graduated 10 PhD students and 26 MS students and secured around $6.0M in research funding at UC. During the past 7 years, he has secured grants from NSF, NIH, USAF, DHS, OFRN and NASA to develop algorithms for UAV applications as well as AI for bio-medical applications. He has over 115 per reviewed archival publications including 20 book chapters, and another 340 conference papers/presentations, and invited seminars. Dr. Cohen's current research team includes 6 full time staff, 8 PhD, 7 MS and numerous undergraduate students. Additionally, he serves on the Editorial Boards of three international journal publications, namely, Unmanned Systems, the International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering (IJUSEng)and Automation.

Richard Harknett Portrait 

Richard J. Harknett, PhD

Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
UC College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Harknett is Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy at the University of Cincinnati. He co-directs the Ohio Cyber Range Institute, a state-wide organization supporting education, workforce, economic, and research development in cybersecurity. He served as Scholar-in-Residence at US Cyber Command and National Security Agency in 2016-17, where he contributed to the core development of the doctrine of cyber persistent engagement and several US strategy documents. He served as a Red Team member of the US Congressional Cyber Solarium Commission. He briefs on Capitol Hill and other US government agencies and has presented both policy briefings and academic research in 11 countries. Professor Harknett provides public engagement having made over 100 media appearances. He has held two Fulbright Scholar appointments: in 2017 in Cyber Studies at Oxford University, United Kingdom and in 2001 in International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna, Austria, where he holds a professorial lecturer appointment. He has authored over 60 publications in international relations theory, international security, and cyber security studies with over $19 million in grant support. Aside his two Fulbright awards, Professor Harknett has been honored to receive numerous recognitions, including at the University of Cincinnati, the Provost Career Award, Office of Research Faculty Award for Excellence, the University Award for Exemplary Service, and the Edith Alexander Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the State of Ohio Faculty Innovator Award. He is an avid Liverpool Football Club supporter.

Mary Lobo Portrait 

Mary Lobo

Director of Office of Technology Incubation and Innovation
NASA GRC

Mary J. Lobo is the director of the Technology Incubation and Innovation Office at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. She is responsible for aligning the center’s early-stage technology investment opportunities with its long-term technology goals, strategic partnering for economic development in the region, and the transfer GRC-developed technologies to private industry. She served as the deputy director and acting director for the office for 1½ years prior to being named director in June 2020.

Lobo has served as the chief of the Test Facility Management Branch where she was responsible for managing all the major research and development ground test facilities at Lewis Field focusing on long-range planning, marketing facilities to internal and external-to-NASA customers, advocacy of facility maintenance and enhancements, serving as the principle customer interface, coordinating, prioritizing facility schedules, maintenance, and facility operations budget management. Prior to that, Lobo worked as the Space Simulation Facility Manager where she was responsible for the test coordination and strategic planning in over two dozen vacuum chambers at Lewis Field. Lobo first began her federal career at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in 2010 as a test engineer after serving many years as a contractor in the same role. As a test engineer, she led multidiscipline teams to perform buildup and testing activities in Turbomachinery Compressor and Flow Physics facilities.

Throughout her career at NASA, Lobo has been recognized for exceptional support and her participation in outreach activities. She has received multiple NASA Group Achievement Awards and in 2017 received NASA’s Early Career Achievement Medal. Lobo has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

ou-ma-portrait 

Ou Ma, PhD

Professor
Alan B. Shepard Endowed Chair for Exploration
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
UC College of Engineering and Applied Science

Ou Ma received a BS from Zhejiang University and an MS and PhD degree from McGill University in mechanical engineering and robotics. He is now the Alan B Shepard Chair Professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Cincinnati (UC), and directing the UC Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Systems Laboratory (IRAS Lab). His research interests are space robotics and automation, intelligent robotics, autonomous systems including UAVs and UGVs, human-robot interaction and collaboration, and smart manufacturing. Dr. Ma has led numerous research projects sponsored by NSF, NASA, AFOSR/AFRL, ARO, and industry in the past two decades. From 2002 to 2017, Dr. Ma worked for the New Mexico State University where he held the title of John Nakayama Professor in Research Excellence and directed the Reduced Gravity and Biomechanics Laboratory and the UAV and Mechatronics Lab. Prior to that, Dr. Ma worked for MDA in Canada from 1991 to 2002, as a senior control engineer and R&D lead, leading the efforts of contact-dynamics and system dynamics modeling, simulation, and experimental verification of the two well-known space robots SSRMS (Canadarm2) and SPDM (DEXTUE) for the International Space Station program. He also participated in the design and development efforts of the DARPA’s Orbital Express robotic mission, the Canadian Space Agency’s SPDM Task Verification Facility (STVF) and the German Aerospace Center’s European Proximity Operation Simulator (EPOS). Dr. Ma has published over 200 research papers in major robotics and aerospace journals and conferences proceedings and held several patents. He has served as an associate editor for many journals and conferences in the robotics field and is still serving the editorial boards of Frontier in Robotics and AI, Drones, and ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control.

Scott Petersen 

Scott Petersen, MS, MA, MBA

Executive Director
Digital Futures – Cyber Development
UC Office of Research

michael_riley_portrait 

Michael A. Riley, PhD

Professor
Department of Rehabilitation, Exercise, & Nutrition Sciences
College of Allied Health Sciences

Dr. Riley received his BA in Psychology from the University of Louisiana-Monroe in 1994 and his PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1999. He has been on the UC faculty since 2000, serving from 2000-2021 in the Department of Psychology (where he was the Director of the Center for Cognition, Action, and Perception) and beginning in 2021 in the Department of Rehabilitation, Exercise, & Nutrition Sciences. He serves as Director of the Digital Futures Advanced Human Performance & Neuromechanics Laboratory. His research intersects human biomechanics, neuroscience, and cognitive science, using theoretical perspectives from complex dynamical systems theory and the ecological approach to perception-action, technological tools such as AR/VR and motion capture, and analytic tools such as nonlinear time series methods and mathematical modeling. Using this integrative framework, his work investigates human sensorimotor coordination, control, learning, and adaptation with applications to rehabilitation, injury risk reduction, and preserving and enhancing human performance. He has published over 125 peer-reviewed articles, and his work has been supported by over $10 million in funding from agencies including the U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

Tomasz Stepinksi Portrait 

Tomasz Stepinski, PhD

Professor
Thomas Jefferson Endowed Chair for Discovery
Department of Geography
UC College of Arts and Sciences

Space Research Institute Scholarship Program

The Institute has established the inaugural Space Research Institute for Discovery and Exploration Fellowship. The Fellowship will be awarded student with at 3.5 GPA or higher in any discipline that is related space exploration. The candidates must be a junior or senior or graduate student pursuing a Masters or PhD. Process to be announced in early August.

Kyle Dunlap, a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering, recently received the Institute’s first Space Research Institute Fellowship for the Summer Semester 2021.

EVENTS AND NEWS

Potential Partners

Partnerships and collaborations are predicted on both need and interest. The following is a growing list of potential collaborators with which our faculty and students can become engaged with in pursuit of their academic training and potential future initiatives.

Publications (2015 - Present)

Our faculty and students participate in a wide variety of disciplines which result in scholarly output, including edited books, book chapters, peer-reviewed manuscripts, federal reports, perspectives and editorials. This output is listed here as a key reference list to current and future researchers. It also highlights the broad knowledge base ensconced here at UC that can serve as an enabling tool for collaboration.

Charles Doarn

  1. OCHMO Mishap Investigation Flight Surgeon Handbook – NASA. Editors – JD Polk, CR Doarn. NASA SP-2020-5006891. NASA, Washington, DC. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/spaceflight-mishap-investigation-flight-surgeon-handbook
  2. Book – Engineering, Life Sciences, and Health/Medicine Synergy in Aerospace Human Systems Integration. The Rosetta Stone Project. Editors. RS Williams and CR Doarn. NASA SP-2017-633. NASA, Washington DC. ISBN 978-1-62683-044-8. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20180001256.pdf
  3. Book - Space Physiology and Medicine – from Evidence to Practice, 4th edition. Editors: A Nicogossian, CL Huntoon, RS Williams, CR Doarn, V Schneider, and JD Polk. 2016. Springer, New York. DOI-10.1007/978-1-4939-6652-3. ISBN 978-1-4939-6650-9 / e-book - ISBN 978-1-4939-6652-3

Ou Ma

  1. Sathyan A, Cohen K, Ma O. Genetic fuzzy based scalable system of distributed robots for a collaborative task. Front Robot AI. 2020;7:601243.
  2. Zhang L, Sun Y, Barth A, Ma O. Decentralized Control of Multi-Robot System in Cooperative Object Transportation Using Deep Reinforcement Learning. IEEE Access.2020;8:184109-184119.
  3. Alsamhi SH, Ma O, Ansari MS, Almalki F. Survey on Collaborative Smart Drones and Internet of Things for Improving Smartness of Smart Cities. IEEE Access. 2019;7:128125-128152.
  4. Sathyan A, Cohen K, Ma O. Comparison Between Genetic Fuzzy Methodology and Q-Learning for Collaborative Control Design. Int J Artificial Intelligence Appl. 2019;10(2):.
  5. Flores-Abad A, Zhang L, Zheng W, Ma O. Optimal Capture of a Tumbling Object in Orbit Using a Space Manipulator. J Intelligent Robotic Syst. 2017;86(2):199–211.
  6. Flores-Abad A, Ma O, Pham K, Ulrich S. A Review of Robotics Technologies for On-Orbit Services. Progr Aerosp Sci. 2014;68:1-26.
  7. Flores-Abad A, Ma O, Zheng W, Pham K. Optimal Controller for a Space Robot with Uncertainties in the Boundary Conditions. J Guidance Control Dynamics. 2014;37(6):2014-2017.
  8. Ma O, Flores-Abad A, Boge T. Use of industrial robots for hardware-in-the-loop simulation of satellite rendezvous and docking. Acta Astronautica. 2012;81(1):335-47.
  9. Lu Q, Ortega C, Ma O. Passive gravity compensation mechanisms: technologies and applications. Recent Patents on Engineering. 2011;5(1):32-44.
  10. Ma O, Dang H, Pham K. On-orbit identification of inertia properties of spacecraft using a robotic arm. J Guidance Control Dynamics. 2008;31(6):1761-771.

Tomasz Stepinski

  1. Saeedimoghaddam M, Stepinski TF. Multiplicative random cascade models of multifractal urban structures. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. 2021;569:125767.
  2. Stepinski TF, Dmowska A. Complexity in patterns of racial segregation. Chaos Solitons Fractals. 2020;140:110207.
  3. Saeedimoghaddam M, Stepinski TF, Dmowska A. Renyi’s spectra of urban form for different modalities of input data. Chaos Solitons Fractals. 2020;139:109995.
  4. Dmowska A, Stepinski TF, Nowosad J. Racial landscapes – a pattern-based, zoneless method for analysis and visualization of racial topography. Appl Geograph. 2020;122:102239.
  5. Nowosad J, Stepinski TF. Information theory as a consistent framework for quantification and classification of landscape patterns. Landscape Ecol. 2019;34(9):2091-101.
  6. Nowosad J, Stepinski TF, Netzel P. Global assessment and mapping of changes in mesoscale landscapes: 1992–2015. Int J Appl Earth Observ Geoinformat. 2019:78:332-40.
  7. Nowosad J, Stepinski TF. Spatial association between regionalizations using the information-theoretical V-measure. Int J Geographic Inform Sci. 2018;32(12):2386-401.
  8. Nowosad J, Stepinski TF. Towards machine ecoregionalization of Earth's landmass using pattern segmentation method. Int J Appl Earth Observ Geoinformat. 2018;69:110-18.
  9. Netzel P, Stepinski TF. (2018) Climate Similarity Search - GeoWeb Tool for Exploring Climate Variability. Bull Amer Meteor Soc. 2018;99(3):475-77.
  10. Nowosad J, Stepinski TF. Global inventory of landscape patterns and latent variables of landscape spatial configuration. Ecolog Indicat. 2018;89:159-67.