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Space Systems Lab
University of Maryland History of Events at the SSL
This page contains a record of our past important events at the Space Systems Laboratory.


  • On December 12, 2006, the SSL took advantage of the new Lunar Surface Scaled Simulation Facility to host the first annual Great Moonbase Construction Challenge. Four teams competed valiantly, demonstrating their unique designs in front of a large, adoring crowd. (photos)
  • Congraduations to our most recent graduates, Mike Naylor, Shane Jacobs, Mike Liszka, and Leon Aksman, who all graduated in December 2006 with their M.S. Shane is staying at the lab to pursue his PhD, Leon has since moved on to London, England, Mike Liszka is working for Swales Aerospace, and Mike Naylor is working for Craig Carignan to further the Exoskeleton software. Good luck guys in all your future endeavors!
  • The SSL would like to wish goodbye and good luck to Brian Roberts and Walt Smith, who both have dedicated many great years to the lab. Their expertise, wisdom and technical abilities will certainly be missed. Brian is now working at Goddard Space Flight Center and Walt is working for Swales Aerospace. Thanks for everything guys!
  • Our team of four robotics interns, on loan from NASA Goddard, successfully designed, tested and completed a robotic spacecrane this summer. They wanted the interface to be intuitive for students, so the crane was designed to be controlled with an xbox controller! Well done guys! (photos)
  • Congratulations to Elizabeth Benson and Agnieszka Koscielniak, who were members of the winning Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) team in the graduate competition. (photos) Both earned an all expenses paid trip to Spain to present their project at the International Astronautical Federation conference in Valencia. Way to go!
  • The SSL would like to extend our warmest thanks to Dr. Ella Atkins, who has begun a new chapter in her career at the University of Michigan. Dr. Atkins had a profound impact on the lab and all the students and will be deeply missed. Good luck with everything Ella!
  • The SSL would like to wish goodbye and good luck to Jean-Marc Henriette, who has taken a job with General Dynamics. JM has been at the lab since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and his wizardry with electronics will be missed. Thanks for everything JM and good luck at GD!
  • Congraduations to Todd Hermann and Nathan Koelln, who both graduated this summer with their M.S. Nathan now works for Goodrich Corporation in their Propulsion and Space division, while Todd landed a job at Orbital working on the CEV launch escape system. Nice work guys! We'll miss you!
  • Maryland Day, on April 29, 2006 was a huge success as always! For the first time ever, the MX-2 performed an underwater manned test much to the delight of all the visitors. Ranger NBV2 was also in the water, making for a great deal of excitement and hands on activities. (photos)
  • Senator Barbara Mikulski came by the lab for a visit on March 13, 2006. It was an exciting day for everyone! (photos)


  • Before Jeff Braden went off to work at General Dynamics, he made sure he got to try out his masterpiece, the MX-2. (photos) Jeff was an integral part of the lab for the past few years and he will certainly be missed. Congrats on everything Jeff!
  • Congraduations to Matt Strube for defending his Masters thesis: "Post Failure Trajectory Planning from Feasible Trim State Sequences". Matt has gone on to work at Goddard Space Flight Center. You da man Matt!
  • Dr. Mike Griffin, NASA administrator, came by for a visit on Oct. 5, 2005. (photos)
  • On Sept. 19, 2005, the Kim Building officially opened! Ranger is now set up in the Space Hardware Assembly Facility.
  • After many long years of intense hard work, Jeff Braden and his MARS Suit team ran the first manned MX-2 dive on May 5, 2005. (photos) Nice work Jeff, you always said you would do it!
  • Maryland Day, on April 30, 2005 was a huge success as always! This is an important day for us, and many visitors stopped by to see our facilities and our research. (photos)


  • Congratulations to Brook Sullivan, who fought the good fight and successfully finished his Ph.D. thesis of "Technical And Economic Feasibility Of Telerobotic On-Orbit Satellite Servicing". He is now looking to get some much needed rest and then on to work for AeroAstro. Onward and Upward!
  • Congraduations to Sarah Hall, who has successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis of "Model Following Control Strategies and Human Interface Techniques for More Effective Teleoperation" on September 3, 2004. She is now on her way to sunny south California to work for Northrop Grumman. We will miss her bubbly personality and witty repartee! Good luck and continue to cheer on the Terps!
  • Congratulations to Brook Sullivan and Eve Dotson on their wedding, April 17, 2004.
  • Maryland Day, on April 24, 2004 was loads of fun!! This is an important day for us, and many visitors stopped by to see our facilities and our research. (photos)
  • The SSL has been approved to build the Space Hardware Assembly Facility, a complete spacecraft integration facility including rapid prototyping equipment, a class 10,000 cleanroom, vibration tests stands, and a thermal vacuum chamber, in the University of Maryland's new Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. The SSL is also a partner in the Virtual Reality Laboratory to be housed in the same building.


  • We have been completing several Ranger demos in the last few weeks.
    • Aerospace Technology Working Group national meeting, May 14, 2003.
    • Visits from Scott Pace, Deputy Chief of Staff to the NASA Administrator and Steve Isakowitz, NASA's Comptroller, May 22, 2003.
    • U.S. Congressional staffers tour, May 29, 2003.
    • Capt. McLean, Director of NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, tour, June 16, 2003.
  • Maryland Day, on April 26, 2003 was loads of fun!! This is an important day for us, and many visitors stopped by to see our facilities and our research.
  • Congraduations to Dr. Glen Henshaw (yes, he is a Ph.D. now!) on the successful defense of his thesis: "A Variational Technique for Spacecraft Trajectory Planning", on March 17, 2003.
  • Congratulations to Pete Guion on the successful defense of his Master's thesis on March 31, 2003.


  • Congratulations to Dr. Rob Sanner and Alice Liu who were married on Saturday, October 5, 2002.
  • On October 4, 2002, the Space Systems Lab hosted some esteemed personnel from NOAA for a tour and visit of the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility. In attendance were Scott Gudes (Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere), Barbara Moore (Director National Undersea Research Program), Scott Kuester (Commander, Office of Marines and Aviation Operations), Mara Browne (Management Analyst Intern), and Kent LaBorde (Public Affairs Specialist).
  • We'd like to welcome new 2002 graduate students Todd Herrmann and Elisa Shapiro.
  • The SSL is growing! New recent bundles of joy to the families of Dr. Ella Atkins, Chuck Crabtree, and Jeff Smithanik. Congratulations to all!
  • We've recently had a few graduations: Adam Korona and Yannick Pennecot.
    Congratulations and Good Luck!

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