Robotic Systems Laboratory

Specializing in the design, control, and teleoperation of highly capable robotic systems for scientific discovery, technology validation, and engineering education



Tahoe-Palooza 2014: This year's ROV mission to Lake Tahoe is planned for late May, and will involve nearly 50 students as part of the 5-day deployment.  Students will work with scientists from USGS and UN Reno to continue studies on historic tsunami in the Lake.

New Publication on Multi-Robot Adaptive Navigation: Thomas Adamek is the lead author on a new article on multi-robot gradient-based adaptive navigation, which has been accepted for publication in the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics.

RSL Hosts UAV Workshop: Dr. Kitts recently hosted a UAV workshop on campus with faculty from several KEEN partner schools, to include Bucknell University and St. Louis University.  This workshop kicks off a new multi-year initiative in building real-world engineering and entrepreneurship education opportunities around the emerging UAV industry.

Congratulations to doctoral candidates Michael Neumann, Jasmine Cashbaugh and John Shepard, all of whom have now passed their Ph.D. qualifying examination.

New Publication on O/OREOS Spacecraft:  Lab faculty, staff and students are co-authors on a new journal publication in Acta Astronautica that describes the O/OREOS astrobiological small satellite mission.  Developed at NASA Ames Research Center, O/OREOS was launched in November 2010 and continues to be operated by students in the Robotic Systems Laboratory.


RSL Satellite Operations Team Operate Two NASA Satellites Launched in April on SpaceX Falcon 9
Led by staff member Mike Rasay, RSL undergraduate and graduate students are currently executing experiments with two NASA Ames Research Center spacecraft that were launched on April 18, 2014 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.  The first spacecraft, SporeSat-1, is conducting an astrobiological experiment focused on how plants detect gravity.  The 3-day experiment was completed on May 2, and the team is now downloading science data prior to an estimated de-orbit later in May. 
The RSL team has been running 2-4 contacts each day with SporeSat-1 and also with PhoneSat 2.5, the other satellite launched in April.  The RSL team also continues to operate the NASA O/OREOS astrobiological satellite, launched in November 2010, and the NASA PhoneSat 2.4 satellite, launched in November 2013.  More than 10 contacts are being run on some days, with students using communication stations at SCU, at NASA, and at locations across the United States.
Students on the primary operations team include undergraduates Alex Mulcahy and Pat Barone as well as graduate students Nick Xydes, Jake Hedlund, Doug Renfro, and Tom Hoye.  Also assisting are Mike Neumann, Matt Chin, Kamak Ebadi and Thomas Adamek.


The SporeSat spacecraft
The PhoneSat 2.5 spacecraft
SporeSat Mission Dashboard
RSL Ops Team
New UAV InitiativeTaking Off

As part of the new RSL UAV initiative, the lab has aquired several new UAV platforms, sensors (visible, near IR and IR) and post-processing software to create GIS-quality aerial maps.  Graduate student Brandon Senn has led this effort and recently conducted a aerial mapping demonstration at Kunde Winery in Sonoma.  Example data products that resulted from this work included several aerial maps and digital elevation maps of the terrain. The map to the right is of an 8-acre plot and is composed of 170 photos at an altitude of approximately 60m.


Courses Planned for Fall 2014
ENGR 180 Marine Operations
ENGR 372 Space System Design & Engineering II
ENGR 179/379 Satellite Operations