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Humberto C

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Aerospace Engineering


Every time a plane flies over, I look up! I am a passionate aviation nut who loves all things air and space. My research primarily focuses on hypervelocity impacts that delves into the effects of space debris impacts on orbiting satellites. I have also researched hypersonic reentry and EDL (entry, descent, and landing) systems that will take the next generation of astronauts to Mars and bring them back safely to Earth. I enjoy golfing, flying (private pilot), scuba diving, and cars. I am a curious mind and am always learning new things, reading new books, and picking up new skills. I look forward to working with you on some of the hardest challenges humans have yet to conquer!

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.

Mars Precise Entry Descent and Landing

In 7 minutes, spacecraft approaching Mars from Earth must decelerate from over Mach 40 (40 times the speed of sound) to zero, gently touching down on the surface of the Red Planet. These "7 minutes of terror" as is called is one of the greatest engineering challenges in the aerospace industry. Precise landing and guidance techniques are needed in order to land humans on Mars as they will need to touch down close to the pre-stagged habitat. Humans have never landed as large of a payload on any other planet. Therefore, there are many engineering questions that still need to be answered in order to ensure survival of the crew. Join me in tackling these challenges!

Satellite Navigation and Communication

GPS (Global Positioning System) has revolutionized how humans navigate. However, the robustness of the satellites that enable the use of GPS is constantly being improved. Additionally, our availability, accuracy, and coverage of GPS is still outstanding challenges that must be solved. Join me in solving the challenges to enable worldwide navigation in extreme environments!

Improving Jet Engine Efficiency

With an airplane taking off or landing every 2 seconds around the globe, the need for more fuel efficient aircraft is vital to allow for sustainable aviation. Increasing fuel efficiency starts with increasing the jet engine. These marvalous pieces of machinery are constantly being pushed to their limits, necessitating advanced materials, modeling and simulation, and testing to push technology even further. 3D printing, superalloys that can sustain high temperatures, and composites such as carbon fiber have all been enablers to more fuel efficiency engines. Join me in building our own jet engine that can propel the planes of the future!

Coding skills

MATLAB, Python

Languages I know

Spanish, Fluent

Teaching experience

Mentoring Civil Air Patrol Cadets in aeronatics TA for various undergraduate courses


Work experience

The Boeing Company (2017 - 2021)
737/787 - Liaison Engineer


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BS Bachelor of Science (2020)
Aerospace Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MS Master of Science candidate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Hypervelocity Impacts

Completed Projects

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