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  • Understand physical phenomena and mechanisms in design tradeoff studies, and an integrated vehicle environment, including root causes of system failure as well as risk identification, assessment and mitigation
  • In an interdisciplinary way, combine laboratory and field experimental tests, physics-based modeling and analysis, technologies for data analysis and statistical model and state inference
  • Investigate physics-based technologies in system health management, diagnostics and prognostics

Mission statement

Physics Based Methods Mission Statement

Technical Directions

Physics Modeling and Analysis

  • Support for Office of the Chief Technologist
  • Physics of cryogenic propellant loading
  • Physics modeling in deep-space habitats
  • Structural health monitoring of nano-composites

Support for Space Launch System

  • Physics of thermal & structural environment in cryogenic tanks
  • Base heating
  • Analysis of nanomaterials properties for thermal isolation

Support for Aviation Safety Program

  • Physics of wire diagnostics using microwave reflectometry

Support for National Institute for Rocket Propulsion Systems

  • Participation in technical planning discussions and the Technology teams

Previous support for Constellation and ETDP

  • Physics of solid rocket motor fault modes
  • Stage separation problems
  • Physics of cryogenic mixture explosions
  • Mathematical modeling of debris fragmentation

Engineering Physics Laboratory

  • Physics of material degradation
  • Physics of structural health monitoring (acoustical, optical, etc.)
  • Electromagnetic diagnostics
  • Thermal processes in cryogenic environment, nucleate and film boiling
  • Cryogenic explosion tests

Information Physics

  • Quantum Computing algorithms
  • Quantum annealing for combinatorial optimization, including machine learning, planning and scheduling, V&V, diagnosis, anomaly detection and fault graph analysis
  • Quantum computing hardware
  • Understanding the role of noise and decoherence in quantum computing devices
  • Physics-inspired Bayesian statistical analysis
  • Methods for stochastic nonlinear model identification from data

Group projects

  • Physics analysis of pressurization risks in Main Propulsion Test article (SLS)
  • Base Heating Anomalies in Ares IX
  • Physics-based analysis of solid rocket motor igniter seal failure and nozzle burn-through
  • Physics modeling of stage-separation recontact and its detection via GN&C system
  • Physics modeling and health management of a ground propellant loading system
  • Fault detection and diagnostics in advanced composites with acoustic waves
  • Impact engineering problems
  • Wiring fault diagnostics with microwave reflectometry
  • Nonlinear, stochastic dynamical system identification
  • Physics modeling and analysis of cryogenic explosions
  • Physical modeling and analysis of flame spread in LOX feed-lines
  • Mathematical modeling of debris fragmentation problem in space vehicle breakup
  • Solid state quantum computing
  • Quantum computing algorithms

Group Lead

Vadim Smelyanskiy

Deputy Group Lead

Dogan Timucin

Group Members

Ekaterina Devine-Ponizovskaya
Gabriel Durkin
Halyna Hafiychuk
Vasyl Hafiychuk
Itay Hen
Michael Khasin
Sergey Knysh
Dimitry Luchinsky
Viatcheslav Osipov
Stefan Schuet
David Thompson
Kevin Wheeler
Alejandro Perdomo-Ortiz

External Collaborators

Fu-Kuo Chang, Stanford University
Shawn Beard, Acellent Technologies, Inc.
Cyrill Muratov, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Andre Petukhov, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Michael Watson, Marshall Space Flight Center
James Walker, Marshall Space Flight Center
Curtis Banks, Marshall Space Flight Center
Richard Tyson, University of Alabama Huntsville

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