Research and service facilities in the Department of Aerospace Engineering are considered among the best in the nation and are used to supplement theoretical studies in the major disciplines.
Among the facilities available to researchers and graduate students are a variety of wind tunnels, a continuous-flow water tunnel, several machine shops, a flight simulator and an airport complete with a runway system and hangar.
Aero and Fluid Dynamics Lab
Many pressure and velocity measuring devices, are available, including manometers, pressure transducers, and laser Doppler anemometers. Smoke and helium bubble generators are used for flow visualization. In addition, various data acquisition and signal conditioning instruments are included in this lab. Faculty supervisor: Othon Rediniotis
The AggieSat Lab is located in Room 120 of the Munnerlyn Astronomical Laboratory & Space Engineering Building. This facility supports hardware and software design, prototyping, fabrication, and on-orbit operations for students conducting research and building microsatellites meeting sponsor objectives and requirements. Our Lab complies with Federal ITAR and operates under industry-standard configuration management, quality assurance, safety, and documentation practices. Contact Dr. Helen Reed or see http://aggiesatweb.tamu.edu
The Damping Lab has equipment that can measure the damping properties of metal matrix composites (MMC) in a simulated space environment. The space environment is simulated with a vacuum chamber in the lab. MMC damping properties are measured by observing the vibration response of the specimen in the chamber using laser-optical techniques. Faculty supervisor: Vikram Kinra
The darkroom can be used for both black-and-white and color processing of film and prints. The equipment and the facility are available to all graduate students with the approval of the faculty supervisor. Faculty supervisor: Tom Pollock
Dynamics and Control Lab
This laboratory is used to conduct experiments on a variety of dynamical systems. A Contraves air bearing permits one-arc-second precision pointing of various experiments. The lab has been used to develop star sensors, relative navigation sensors, robots for ground emulation of spacecraft rendezvous and docking, and to conduct vibration suppression experiments for space structures. Faculty supervisor: John Junkins
Unmanned Flight Laboratory
The Unmanned Flight Laboratory flight test facility is used for experimental research, flight demonstrations, and FAA certification of small to medium sized fixed-wing and rotor-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The laboratory is located in a 5,000 square foot hanger next to the control tower at the former Bryan Air Force base (83TX), and a 7,000 foot runway is retained in "active" status for UAS flight testing. The flight testing area is a box approximately 1.5 miles by 1.5 miles. The six fixed-wing UAS in use at this facility are the Pegasus I and Pegasus II vehicles (80lb GTOW, 20 lb payload, 12 foot wing span), a UAV Factory Penguin B, a modified R/C Rascal 110, a modified Extra 300, and a BAE Systems Maxdrone. In addition, several rotorcraft UAS are operated from the facility including a Rotor Buzz II (115 lb empty weight, 100 lb payload), two Align 600's, an Align 700, and a Mikado Logo 14. All rotorcraft UAS are equipped with autonomous flight capability including auto-takeoff and auto-land. Two manned aircraft are also maintained for chase duties: a Piper Super Cub and a Schweizer 2-32 Sailplane. The facility also includes ground-based UAS flight test equipment, an instrumented small engine test stand, and a complete fabrication and construction workshop. The entire 1,900 acre site is known as the Texas A&M Riverside Campus, and is located west of Bryan on Highway 21. Faculty supervisor: John Valasek.
The Flight Research Laboratory The aircraft, laboratories, offices, students, and staff of the TEES Flight Research Laboratory is located at a hangar near the General Aviation facilities at Easterwood Airport in College Station. Directly across the street is the Wind Tunnel Complex housing the 7x10 Lowspeed Wind Tunnel, the NASA-Langley Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel, the Mach 7 Research Tunnel, and the Klebanoff/Saric Unsteady Wind Tunnel. The lab owns three aircraft: the Cessna O-2 (military version of the Cessna 337 Skymaster) for heavy instrumentation, observation, and data transmission; the Stemme S-10 VT powered sailplane for its ultra-low disturbance environment, and high-altitude capabilities; and the Velocity XL-5 for its high-speed, pusher configuration. For more information, see http://flight.tamu.edu. Faculty supervisor: William Saric.
General Materials Lab
The General Materials Lab is used for the evaluation and simple processing of materials. Laboratory equipment includes two screw-driven load frames (one manual, one computer-controlled); a creep frame; sample preparation and evaluation equipment, including polishing and etching equipment and an optical microscope; sample processing furnaces; and Charpy, IZOD and Rockwell hardness test capability. The lab is used for an undergraduate materials lab, and priority is given to this class. Faculty supervisor: Tom Pollock
The LASR Lab is a robotics facility operated by the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. The lab conducts research in robotic sensing and control with an aim to enhance the fields of proximity operations, human-robot interaction, stereo vision, swarm robotics, and autonomous aerial vehicles. Faculty supervisor: John Junkins
Machine (Main) Shop
The Aerospace Engineering Department has one of the most capable machine shops on campus, incorporating a state-of-the-art Rapid Prototyping Machine and a CNC (computer driven) Vertical Machining Center. Three full-time staff service the department's needs for Research and Academic endeavors. The Shop is also equipped with manual lathes, mills, and saws, and a growing selection of tooling and fixturing. One area is devoted to cutting, brazing, and welding. Another area specializes in miniaturization using small machines with high-precision travel indicators and numerous optical devices to enhance the operator's capabilities.
The shop offers concept-to-design assistance to it's customers, using CAD/CAM software including Solidworks, Autocad, and ProEngineer, to achieve the most efficient production of prototype parts or assemblies. Supervisor: Rick Allen
Machine (Student) Shop
The Department maintains a small satellite shop for student use, including bandsaws, sanding stations, drill press, milling machine and a lathe. Shop users must attend a safety briefing and shop tour, and entry is tracked by a punch-code lock. Users are responsible for their tooling, either purchased or checked out from the main shop. Instruction is available during normal working hours. Supervisor: Rick Allen
Materials and Testing Lab
The Materials and Testing Lab is primarily used for processing and evaluating high-temperature metal matrix composite (MMC) materials, but the lab can be used to evaluate and process a wide range of materials. Three hydraulically-based MTS load frames are available for uniaxial mechanical testing. Each load frame can be equipped with one of five furnaces used in high temperature material evaluation. A hot isostatic press (HIP) and various furnaces are available to process metal matrix composites. This lab also includes various temperature-measuring devices. Faculty supervisor: Dimitris Lagoudas
National Aerothermochemistry Lab
The Texas A&M University National Aerothermochemistry (TAMUNA) Laboratory is a graduate research facility founded by Professor R. Bowersox to perform leading research and to house unique facilities in support of National interests in high-speed gasdynamics, unsteady flows, and flows with thermal and chemical non-equilibrium effects. Primary sponsorship is provided by the US Air Force, Army and NASA. The laboratory is a true multidisciplinary research resource, with significant faculty involvement from both Aerospace Engineering and Chemistry. The laboratory is currently considered a National Resource by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Faculty supervisor: Rodney Bowersox
This lab contains a fully instrumented and working turbine engine originally designed for cruise missiles. Inlet and nozzle configurations can be changed to vary engine inlet and back pressure. Faculty supervisor: Paul Cizmas
Structural Dynamics Testing Lab
The Structural Dynamics Testing Lab exists for the dynamic testing of components and assemblies. The room contains a test frame capable of handling objects up to 25 feet long and weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Equipment and instrumentation in this lab centers around dynamic testing and evaluation of structures, including various shakers, accelerometers and stain gages. This lab and its equipmenare also used for an undergraduate instrumentation lab; priority is given to this class. Faculty supervisor: Tom Pollock
Faculty supervisor: John Valasek
Water Tunnel Lab
The Water Tunnel Lab contains two water tunnels used as flow visualization tools by the Aerodynamics Lab and as a teaching aid for an undergraduate lab course. A hydrogen bubble (by water ionization), a laser light sheet and dye injection are used for flow visualization techniques in these water tunnels. This lab also contains video recording and viewing equipment to capture flow visualization data. Faculty supervisor: Othon Rediniotis
Wave Propagation Lab
The Wave Propagation Lab is used for the nondestructive evaluation of adhesive joints, composites, thin coatings, multi-layered media and granular media. These materials can be evaluated to determine the anisotropic stiffness matrix, detect delamination and matrix cracking, and observe the evolution of damage in a material. Methods of non-destructive evaluation conducted in this lab include ultrasonics, using Peizo-electric devices to measure wave propagation through materials immersed in a water bath; laser optics; and thermographics, using thermal imaging equipment to track heat transfer rates through a material. Faculty supervisor: Vikram Kinra