Faculty

Dr. Andrew van Paridon | Visiting Scientist

Andrew van Paridon is a visiting scientist in the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research includes spacecraft propulsion, thermal modelling, and system optimization. Dr Van Paridon received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, UK, where he studied the effects of thermal control on the fatigue life of turbine discs. His postdoctoral work at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute continued this research, expanding it develop a novel experimental architectures for pressurized, temperature controlled, rotating facilities.(LinkedIn, Email)

Graduate Students

Carl Geiger |Ph.D. Student 

Carl Geiger is a Ph.D. student at Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research interests include spacecraft propulsion, mission design, and astrodynamics. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied Mathematics and Physics. Before coming to Cornell, he worked in the Vibro-Acoustic Systems and Controls Lab at North Carolina State University while taking engineering courses. His current research is in Electrospray Propulsion systems

Liam Alexis | Ph.D. Student

Liam Alexis is a Ph.D. student at Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research interests include space communications, plasma physics and spacecraft propulsion. He received his undergrad degree at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor where he majored in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Physics and worked in the Drake Nuclear Lab studying High energy Plasma Physics. Before joining the team he was an intern at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Quantum communications group. His current research deals with Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) systems.

Alain Alarco | M. Eng Student

Alain Alarco is an M.Eng student at Cornell's Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research interests include spacecraft propulsion, space mission design, solid mechanics, and tribology. He studied Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate at Cornell University. Prior to joining the ASTRA Lab, Alain has interned twice at GE Aviation and was a member of the
Cornell Mars Rover project team.

Stefan Bell is an M.Eng student at Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research interests include spacecraft propulsion, turbulence, and GNC. Before ASTAlab, Stefan has worked on the characterization of compressible turbulence in the Bewley Applied Turbulence lab, the polyhedral rover prototype in the Space Systems Design Studio, and led the 15 pound robot team in Combat Robotics at Cornell.

Undergrad Students

Johan Sweldens| Undergraduate Student

Johan Sweldens is an undergraduate student at the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and will be graduating in Spring 2022. His research interests are electric propulsion, plasma physics, satellites, and optoelectronics. Before joining the team, Johan was an intern at the Princeton University Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory.

Claudia Pietrus | Undergraduate Student

Claudia Pietrus is an undergraduate student at the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Cornell School of Applied and Engineering Physics. Her research interests include spacecraft propulsion, mass spectrometry, and space exploration. She is a cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and was on the Cornell Rocketry Team.

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Jordan Sandell | Undergraduate Student

Jordan is an undergraduate student in the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  She is a mechanical engineering major with minors in aerospace engineering, business, and fashion studies.  Her research interests include spacecraft technologies, aero-vehicle propulsion, and psychology.  Jordan is the technical development lead of Cornell WOAA and is on CUAir.  Before joining the team, Jordan conducted psychology research at California Polytechnic State University.

Millie Schwartz | Undergraduate Student

Millie Schwartz is an undergraduate student at the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her research interests include satellites and spacecraft design. Before joining ASTRAlab, she worked on the Pathfinder for Autonomous Navigation project for Space Systems Design Studio.

Swasti Shree | Undergraduate Student

Swasti Shree is a third year undergraduate student at the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her research interests include spacecraft technologies and genetic engineering for bacterial therapeutics. She is currently working as a Process Development Co-op at Boston Scientific. Previously, she was Policy & Practices Lead on Cornell iGEM.

Alumni

Christian Harris  

Christian Harris is an Interdisciplinary Computing - Physics student at The University of Kansas School of Engineering. His research interests include trajectory optimization, astrodynamics, and mission design. He recently participated in Cornell’s Astronomy REU program where he focused on low-thrust interplanetary mission design.

Ami Agrawal | Cornell Alum

Ami Agrawal is an alum of the M.Eng at Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her research interests include spacecraft propulsion, neuropsychology, and racial biases in medical technology. She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. Before ASTAlab, Ami has worked on a variety of projects in many fields, such as an agricultural technology incubator, a neuropsychology lab, and Cornell's Concrete Canoe Engineering Project Team.

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Prof. Elaine Petro | Lab Director | Assistant Professor

(461 Upson Hall) 

Elaine Petro is an Assistant Professor in the Cornell Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Director of the Cornell ASTRA lab. Her research interests include spacecraft electric propulsion, sustainable space exploration through in-situ resource utilization, and plasma science. Petro received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied water-based plasma propulsion. Prior to joining the faculty in Cornell MAE, she spent time as post-doctoral researcher in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Space Propulsion Laboratory, studying electrospray thrusters for small satellite propulsion. (Google Scholar, LinkedIn, Email)