Jekan Thangavelautham

Associate Professor

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Member of the Graduate Faculty

Jekan Thanga heads the Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration (SpaceTREx) Laboratory and the NASA-supported ASTEROIDS (Asteroid Science, Technology and Exploration Research Organized by Inclusive eDucation Systems) Laboratory. Jekan has a background in aerospace engineering from the University of Toronto. He worked on Canadarm, Canadarm 2 and the DARPA Orbital Express missions at MDA Space Missions. Jekan obtained his Ph.D. in space robotics at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and did a postdoc at MIT's Field and Space Robotics Laboratory (FSRL). Jekan is broadly interested in the exploration and utilization of Space, using: CubeSats and Small Spacecrafts Swarms/Networks/Constellations of Robots Field Sensor Networks His research covers the investigation of fundamental theoretical concepts with simulation using computational tools, culminating with field trials and deployment.  His research focuses on developing system design and control technologies, that enables: Machine Learning, AI and Autonomous Control Science Instrumentation for Exploration Power Propulsion Communications Smart Structures and Deployables He also teams up with other researchers to apply the latest in space technology to terresterial applications including: Construction and 3D Printing Security Energy Exploration Environmental monitoring His team uses multidisciplinary optimization using a combination of conventional, adaptive and machine learning methods resulting in high performance, unconventional design and control solutions that would otherwise not be envisioned by a human designer. He has authored or co-authored nearly 150 technical publications and is currently the Engineering PI on two CubeSat missions, the US Air Force funded SWIMSat Mission and AOSAT 1, a CubeSat Centrifuge Laboratory. Jekan and his students won a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award in 2016 and a Tech Briefs Top 5 Award in the Aerospace/Defense category for the SunCube FemtoSat platform.

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses


Majors Considered

Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical, Systems, Chemical, Physics, Planetary Science, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Computer Science, Applied Math, Graphics, Arts, IT.

Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

August 2019

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location