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Cody W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Purdue University


Astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, spacecraft trajectory design and navigation, Aerospace Engineering, and robotics


I am currently a PhD candidate in Astrodynamics at Purdue University. My research primarily consists of modelling orbital mechanics in dynamically complex systems with multiple planets/moons. This consists of designing the trajectories that spacecraft take to reach a final destination, be it an orbit around the moon or landing on the Martian surface. In addition, I also account for the effects that gravity has on the orientation of satellites and what can be done to prevent your spacecraft from tumbling out of control while in space. Outside of school, I also do a lot of outdoor activities. I am a D1 athlete at Purdue where I play rugby and frequently rock climb. I am also an avid hiker and have travelled all over the nation to do backpacking trips. Outside of all of this, I have also started a company, Translunar Exports and Servicing, with my colleagues with the goal of designing/manufacturing the tools required to realize satellite servicing in space.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Optimal Spacecraft Transfers In Low Earth Orbit

Frequently, satellites and other spacecraft are not dropped into the desired orbit for the mission at hand and must perform maneuvers to reach the final orbit. One of the most basic of these is a transfer to a larger circular orbit around a common central body, this is called a Hohmann transfer. This project will focus on learning the orbital mechanics that make this possible and creating a computer program to automate this transfer scenario.

Dynamic Pendulum Simulation

The modelling of a pendulum is the most basic introductory project to dynamic systems in the world of engineering. Although simple in theory, the understanding of the forces at play and the ability to model them is fundamental to engineering design of anything that moves. This project will focus on understanding the dynamics of a pendulum along with a computer program to visualize the results. If time permits, this may be extended to chained pendulums or the construction of a segway.

Coding skills

Python, MatLAB, Java

Teaching experience

Currently have been a Graduate Teaching assistant for two years for a freshman introduction to engineering course. I assist students with their projects which include designing, building, and programming a Lego robot along with lecturing to a class of 50 students on occasion. Have been a polygence mentor for a while now and successfully completed around 5 different projects. When compared to other mentors, my students show exceptional performance in conducting new research and contributing to science and engineering.


Work experience

Advanced Space (2022 - Current)
Mission Design Engineer
SpaceX (2021 - 2022)
Associate Engineer
MIT Lincoln Labs (2019 - 2020)
Counter WMD Researcher


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
MS Master of Science (2021)
Spacecraft Navigation
Purdue University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Completed Projects

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