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SSDL students awarded prestigious fellowships

Two SSDL students Onalli Gunasekara and Brandon Colón have been awarded prestigious fellowships by DoD and NASA. These fellowships will support their PhD research.

Onalli Gunasekara received the DoD NDSEG fellowship for her research proposal on the topic of "Dynamic Data Driven Framework for Autonomous Space Situational Awareness Network of Satellites in Highly Uncertain Environments using Reinforcement Learning." This competitive PhD fellowship will cover her tuition, fees, and stipend for the next 3 years. Onalli is a PhD student working under the advisement of Dr. Koki Ho. A description of her topic is given below:

"The objective of the proposed research is to design a novel dynamic data driven framework that will enable levels of autonomous adaptation and self-preservation of satellites in highly uncertain environments. This research aims to advance applications of dynamic data and information processing in the context of an autonomous space situational awareness (SSA) network of satellites with solely space-based operations. The motivation of this research is to enable satellites to become self-directed and self-sufficient in time-critical scenarios (i.e. a break-up event) and contribute to new SSA methods to advance risk mitigation capabilities."


Brandon Colon, has received the NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) fellowship for his proposal on "Generative Design of Additively Manufactured Tanks for Small Spacecraft Propulsion Systems." This competitive award will provide up to 4 years of funding for Brandon to complete his PhD. Brandon Colon is a PhD student working under the advisement of Dr. Glenn Lightsey. A description of his topic is given below:

"Advances in additive manufacturing (AM) have allowed for the design and development of 3D printed spacecraft propulsion systems operating at relatively low pressures. This research proposes developing a design methodology for generating additively manufactured high-pressure tanks for spacecraft propulsion systems. The methodology will be based on Generative Design coupled with Design for Additive Manufacturing practices. The capability of efficiently designing AM high-pressure vessels is vital for the adaptation of the AF-M315E propellant for future missions that require increased propulsion performance."



Congratulations to both Onalli and Bradon!!