April 19, 2014

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Current Members

Brian Kaplinger

Brian is a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering and is working on a variety of projects for the ADRC. He received his undergraduate degree in May 2009, and has been working in the ADRC since 2007. He got interested when Dr. Wie subbed one of his controls class and asked for volunteers and Brian said he’d be interested. In the ADRC, Brian is involved in computer modeling and simulation of asteroid deflection strategies. He’s currently working on simulating fragmented asteroids, and extending the ADRC’s models to graphics card applications. The new world of GPU-processing is opening new doors in solving complex problems, and Brian is working on adapting current models for these new platforms. In the past, Brian has worked on standoff nuclear explosions.

Brian is from Omaha, NE and in the future would like to be a professor. He is in the straight-to-Ph.D program and anticipates graduating in 2012.

Papers Brian has written and researched.


Sam Wagner

Sam Wagner is a graduate student at Iowa State, and he got his undergraduate degree in 2009. He joined the ADRC in the spring of 2009, but has worked for Dr. Wie in the past in the Space Systems and Control Lab (SSCL). Sam builds mission design software, and figures out how to get the missions to the asteroids. Currently, Sam selects the asteroids for crewed missions. He has written a program that searches through all Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and looks for ones with low ∆V and then sorts by size before final selection. He has worked on six papers, two of them on Apophis missions, and one on asteroid selection.

Sam is from Webster City, IA, and will finish his Masters of Engineering in the winter of 2010. He then hopes to start work on his Ph.D here at Iowa State. In the future, he would like to work for a smaller sized company doing mission design consulting for larger organizations such as NASA.

Papers Sam has written and researched.


Dan Zimmerman

Dan Zimmerman is a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering here at Iowa State. He got his undergraduate degree in December 2009 and has been working at the ADRC since May 2009. Dan is a graduate research assistant, and is researching space systems and architecture for manned and unmanned missions to asteroids. He works closely with Sam Wagner, who designs the missions and orbital requirements (∆V). Dan then takes those requirements done by Sam, and uses a variety of software to build the actual rocket models.

Dan is also working on selecting targets for the first manned mission to an asteroid. He was involved in writing the Interplanetary Ballistic Missile System Architecture Design for Near-Earth Object Threat Mitigation paper as well; he designed a space vehicle to travel to the asteroid and perform one of four proposed deflections.

Upon graduating with an M.E. in the spring of 2011, Dan hopes to work for a government agency working on space vehicle design as a systems engineer. Dan is originally from Omaha, NE.

Papers Dan has written and researched.


Alan Pitz

Alan Pitz graduated and obtained his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in the Spring of 2010. He is currently working on his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and has been working in the ADRC since January 2009. Currently, he is working with Matt Hawkins on Interplanetary Ballistic Missile (IPBM) System Architecture, writing guidance schemes for spacecraft for the last day before impact. Past projects he has been involved in include the Human Asteroid Exploration System and the DAWN Spacecraft project with was a baseline for his current project for the IPBM.

Alan is originally from Omaha, NE, and his future plans include graduating in 2012. He would like to work in the space side of the aerospace industry as a systems engineer, in either commercial or governmental work.

Papers Alan has written and researched.

Yanning Guo

Yanning Guo obtained his undergraduate degree in 2006 from Shandong University, PR China, and his master’s degree in 2008 from Harbin Institute of Technology. He is now a PhD candidate at the School of Astronautics at Harbin Institute of Technology. He joined the Asteroid Deflection Research Center as a visiting student under the guidance of Professor Bong Wie in September 2010. Yanning is working together with Matt Hawkins on designing optimal feedback guidance algorithms for planetary landing mission and asteroid proximity operations. One major focus of his current research is to develop an autonomous waypoint optimization approach for Mars landing problem in the context of employing the Zero-Effort-Miss / Zero-Effort-Velocity (ZEM/ZEV) feedback guidance algorithm.

He will continue to conduct his research at Iowa State University until March 2011.

Matt Hawkins

Matt Hawkins is a graduate student working on his Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State. Matt got his undergraduate degree in the fall of 2007 and his Masters of Science in the summer of 2009. He joined the ADRC in February 2010 after doing research in wind energy, and has since been working on guidance systems. He currently works on the terminal guidance of intercepting asteroids with ballistic missiles.

Matt is originally from Bondurant, IA. After graduating, he hopes to work in a University or Goverment lab, working on guidance and control research. He is currently the Teaching Assistant for EM 327, Mechanics of Materials Lab.

Papers Matt has written and researched.

 Elizabeth Gregory

Elizabeth Gregory is a graduate student working on her Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State.  Elizabeth earned her Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas in 2007.  She worked as a Design and Analysis Engineer for ATK Aerospace Structures, in Clearfield, UT from 2007 to 2009.   in 2011 she completed her Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he research was completed at the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory and she we worked as a engineer on the HawaiiSat-1 design team.  She is currently pursuing research in the field of spacecraft attitude determination and control as it pertains to precision targeting of asteroids.

Tim Winkler

Tim Winkler received his Bachelor degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in August 2011.  He is now a graduate student pursuing a Masters degree in the same field, and expects to graduate within two years.  Tim has been working at the ADRC since September of 2010 as an undergraduate, and is now working on selecting target asteroids for an asteroid deflection/disruption demonstration mission. Tim is originally from St. Louis, MO.  He is unsure exactly what he
wants to do after graduation, but would like to remain in a space-related field.