David B. Spencer

From 1985 to 1990, Dr. Spencer was a Member of the Technical Staff in the Astrodynamics Department at The Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles. He worked for the Air Force Research Laboratory (and its predecessor, the Air Force Phillips Laboratory), Kirtland AFB, New Mexico from 1991 to 1999 in various positions in the Space Vehicles Directorate including program manager, deputy branch chief, and branch technical advisor. He joined the faculty at Penn State in August, 1999. He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), an Associate Editor for the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and is a member of the AIAA Astrodynamics Technical Committee. He is currently the Vice President, Publications for the AAS. He is also a member of the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Education and Outreach Committee. Previously, he was a member of the AAS Space Flight Mechanics Technical Committee and is a former Vice President – Technical for the AAS.

Dr. Spencer received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, an M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University, an M.B.A. from Penn State, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Areas of Expertise: Spacecraft dynamics and control, theoretical and applied astrodynamics, trajectory optimization, and spacecraft systems engineering

Contact Dr. Spencer at dbs9@engr.psu.edu


Robert G. Melton

Professor Melton performs research in low-thrust spacecraft trajectories, including the use of perturbation methods and the related development of alternative characterizations of unperturbed Keplerian trajectories. Increasingly, spacecraft will employ higher-efficiency, low-thrust engines for maneuvering, station-keeping. Earth-escape and planetary capture; efficient orbital motion under the influence of low-thrust and other non-gravitational influences. Professor Melton also studies satellite attitude dynamics and control of multi-body and flexible-body spacecraft. His students engage in analytical and computational studies of these problems.

Professor Melton received the Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching (2006), the Lawrence J. Perez Memorial Student Advocate Award (2001), the PSES Premier Teaching Award (1992), PSES Outstanding Advising Award (1986), SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award (1986), and the PSES Outstanding Teaching Award (1985), and was president of the Penn State chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society (1989-92). He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), where he has chaired the Space Flight Mechanics technical committee and served as Vice President-Technical, Vice President-Publications, and as a member of the Board of Directors. He has also been a member of the International Astronautics Federation Astrodynamics Technical Committee.

Areas of Expertise: Astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, spacecraft design, trajectory optimization, spacecraft attitude dynamics and control

Contact Dr. Melton at rgmelton@psu.edu


Puneet Singla

Dr. Puneet Singla is an Associate Professor of Aerospace engineering at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). He received his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India in 2000 and earned his master’s and doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Prior to his arrival at PSU, he was a faculty member of department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at University at Buffalo (UB). His research efforts are concentrated on the development of scalable algorithms for uncertainty quantification, nonlinear filtering, data association, dynamic sensing and data driven modeling  to realize a composable framework for accurate Resident Space Object (RSO) characterization and tracking.

He has secured several research grants as a PI or co-PI from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). He is a recipient of the competitive NSF CAREER award for his work on Uncertainty Propagation and Data Assimilation for Toxic Cloud Prediction and the AFOSR Young Investigator Award for his work on Information Collection and Fusion for Space Situational Awareness. He has also been awarded the UB’s “Exceptional Scholar” Young Investigator Award and the Texas A&M University’s Young Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his scholarly activities. He has authored several articles and a book covering a wide array of problems, including: stochastic systems, estimation and control, celestial mechanics, adaptive control, distributed parameter systems modeling and control, approximation theory, including novel methods for solving Fokker-Planck-Kolmogorov equation (FPKE) for uncertainty propagation. His work in attitude estimation included algorithms supporting a successful experiment StarNav that flew on the STS-107. His work on uncertainty propagation was used to compute a probabilistic spatial-temporal estimate of ash presence during the April 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.

He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and member of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematicians (SIAM). 

Areas of Expertise: Spacecraft dynamics and control, stochastic systems, estimation and control, celestial mechanics, adaptive control, distributed parameter systems modeling and control, approximation theory

Contact Dr. Singla at pxs433@psu.edu