Picture of Dr. Rohan Sood

Associate Professor

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

212 Hardaway Hall
 (205) 348-4020
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  • 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 research has emerged as a combination of two fields, applying engineering tools to study advanced concepts within multi-body dynamical systems and investigating scientific data to explore celestial bodies. His primary research investigates innovative spacecraft trajectory design leveraging natural dynamics to deliver cost-effective solutions. In 2018, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) selected his Technical Excellence proposal on Advanced Trajectory Design. In 2019, Dr. Sood was awarded the Astrodynamics in Support of Icy World Missions grant by NASA HQ. He is the recipient of the Center innovation Funds from NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory for two consecutive years (2019-2021). His collaboration with MSFC involve exploring solutions for NASA’s Near Earth Asteroid Scout mission (2021 launch) and the recently selected Solar Cruiser spacecraft set to launch in 2025. 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.

Areas of Research

Latest Publications

  • Rubinsztejn, A., Sandel, C. G., Sood, R., and Laipert, F., “Designing Trajectories Resilient to Missed Thrust Events Using Expected Thrust Fraction,” Aerospace Science and Technology, vol. 115, (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.ast.2021.106780
  • Pezent, J., Sood, R., Heaton, A., Miller, K., and Johnson, L., “Preliminary Trajectory Design for NASA’s Solar Cruiser: A Technology Demonstration Mission,” Acta Astronautics, vol. 183, pp. 134-140, (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.03.006
  • Ledbetter, W.G., Sood, R., Keane, J.T., and Stuart, J., “SmallSat swarm gravimetry: Revealing the interior structure of asteroids and comets,” Astrodynamics, ( 2021). DOI: 10.1007/s42064-020-0098-1
  • Song, P., Gogineni, S.P., Galkin, I.A., Volakis, J.L., Soderblom, J.M., Hayes, A.G., Reinisch, B.W., Giles, R.H., Sood, R., Zhang, H., Braaten, D., Melosh, H.J., Bruzzone, L., Venkatakrishnan, S.B., Yan, S.J., and O’Neill, C., “Feasibility Study of a High-Resolution Shallow Surface Penetration Radar for Space Application,” Radio Science, vol. 56, issue 2, (2021). DOI: 10.1029/2020RS007118
  • Pezent, J.B., Sood, R., and Heaton, A., “Configuration Space and Stability Analysis of Solar Sail Near-Vertical Earth-Trailing Orbits,” Advances in Space Research, Special Issue: Solar Sailing Advances, vol. 67, issue 9, pp. 2981-2994, (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2020.10.011