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Dr. Rohan Sood

Associate Professor



  • Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, 2016
  • M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, 2012
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo, 2009

Dr. Rohan Sood’s primary research investigates innovative spacecraft trajectory design leveraging natural dynamics to deliver cost-effective solutions. In 2018, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center selected Dr. Sood’s Technical Excellence proposal on Advanced Trajectory Design. In 2019, he was awarded the Astrodynamics in Support of Icy World Missions grant by NASA HQ. Sood is also the recipient of the Center innovation Funds from NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory for two consecutive years (2019-2021). In 2021, he was actively involved with NASA’s Solar Cruiser trajectory design in collaboration with MSFC’s Mission Design and Navigation Team. More recently, he is investigating trajectories to enable Solar Polar Imager mission to explore the poles of the Sun, something that has never been done before. Dr. Sood has also been awarded NASA SBIR (2019-2020) and DOD – Air Force STTR (2022-2023). Some of the current projects or research topics are:

  • Innovative solar sail solutions to NASA missions (NEA Scout and Solar Cruiser)
  • Applying game theory for spacecraft rendezvous and protection
  • Multi-spacecraft multi-target trajectories to asteroids and icy moons
  • Missed thrust resilient spacecraft on long duration missions
  • Artificial intelligence based spacecraft trajectory design

Dr. Sood’s scientific discoveries of lunar lava tubes and buried craters has received widespread coverage by the BBC and National Geographic that led to collaboration with the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA. Dr. Sood’s lab, the Astrodynamics and Space Research Laboratory, also employs a variety of hardware and software to enhance visualization (3-D and VR, and AR) of spacecraft trajectories, mission architecture, and to improve student classroom experience.

Affiliated Areas
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Selected Publications

  • Sandel C., and Sood, R., 2024, May. “Natural and Forced Spacecraft Loitering in a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit,” The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s40295-024-00446-7.
  • Elkins, J. G., Fahimi, F., and Sood, R., 2024, March. “Stable Online Learning-Based Adaptive Control of Spacecraft and Quadcopters,” 2024 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 10.0605, Big Sky, MT. Track 10 (Software and Computing) Best Paper Award.
  • Sikes, J. D., Pezent, J. B., Rubinsztejn, A., Sood, R., Everett, J., and Heaton, A., 2023. “Off-nominal transfer analysis for NASA’s solar cruiser mission. Acta Astronautica. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2022.06.038.
  • Blumenthal, B., and Sood, R., 2023. Local Lyapunov Exponent Augmented Differential Corrections Process for Cislunar Trajectory Targeting. The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s40295-023-00396-6.
  • Pezent, J.B., Sikes, J.D., Sood, R., Howell, K.C., and Stuart, J., 2023, August. Enhancements to the Astrodynamics Software and Science Enabling Toolkit (ASSET). In 2023 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference (23-326).

Awards and Honors

  • Faculty Excellence in Graduate Education for 2023-2024 by The College of Engineering, The University of Alabama, April 2024
  • UA President’s Faculty Research Award Emerging Scholar for outstanding research by The University of Alabama, April 2023
  • Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award for excellence in teaching by School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, May 2011
  • Senior Scholar Award for excellence in engineering by School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, SUNY Buffalo, May 2009
  • Gustav and Greta Zimmer Research Scholar Award for continuing work in the field of dynamics and control, SUNY Buffalo, 2008

Dr. Sood's Impact

Sood Selected as UA President’s Faculty Research Award Recipient

Dr. Rohan Sood, associate professor in aerospace engineering and mechanics, is one of eight UA faculty members recently selected as a recipient of the President’s Faculty Research Award. Sponsored by...

UA Partners with Air Force to Explore Space Innovation

Based on some initial success in orbital calculations, Dr. Rohan Sood, associate professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics, received support from the United States Air Force for a project that could also benefit the U.S. Space Force in boosting national defense.

Dr. Rohan Sood to Attend NASA Launch

Dr. Rohan Sood, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics and the director of UA’s Astrodynamics and Space Research Laboratory, has been invited to attend the launch of NASA’s...

Read More News about Dr. Sood

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