Space Systems Academic Group



James (Jim) Newman, Ph.D.

Code SP, Bullard Hall, Room 112B

(831) 656-2497, DSN 756-2497, FAX (831) 656-2816

Brij Agrawal*, Distinguished Professor, Ph.D., Syracuse, 1970.

Kyle Alfriend*, Visiting Professor, Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 1967.

Richard Arledge, CDR, USN, Program Officer, M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 2008, 2014.

Dan Boger*, Professor, Chairman of IS department, Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 1979.

Alex Bordetsky*, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Chelyabinsk St Tec University, 1982.

Christopher Brophy*, Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of Alabama(Huntsville), 1997.

Daniel Bursch, CAPT, USN (Ret.), Astronaut, NRO advisor; M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1991. 

Matthew Crook, Lecturer, M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 2009.  

James A. Horning, Faculty Associate, Research, M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1997. 

Wenschel Lan, Senior Lecturer, Research, Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School, 2015.

Herschel H. Loomis, Jr.*, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963.

Claudia Luhrs, Professor and Associate Chair, MAE, Ph.D., University of Barcelona, Spain, 1997.

Lara Magallanes, Faculty Associate, Research, M.S., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1998.

Shawn McCamishCOL, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School, 2008.

Giovanni Minelli, Faculty Associate, Research, Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School, 2018.

Clay Moltz, Professor, Ph.D., University of California Berkley, 1989. 

James H. Newman, Professor, Chair of Space Systems Academic Group, Astronaut, Ph.D., Rice University, 1984. 

Rudy Panholzer, Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., Technical University, GRAZ, Austria, 1961.

Charles M. Racoosin, CDR, USN (Ret.), Naval Space Systems, Lecturer; M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1989.

Marcello Romano*, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Politecnico di Milano, Italy, 2001.

Michael Ross*, Distinguished Professor, Ph.D., Penn State University, 1991.

Dan Sakoda, Faculty Associate, Research, M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1992.

Christopher Smithtro*, COL, AF (Ret), Sr. Lecturer, Ph.D., Utah State University, 2004.

Gary W. Thomason, LtCol, USMC (ret.), Naval Space Systems, Lecturer; M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 2003. 

Stephen Tackett, LCDR USNR (Ret.), Lecturer, M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1995.

Todd Weatherford*, Associate Professor, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1993.

(* indicates faculty member has a joint appointment to another department at NPS)

Brief Overview

The Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) is an interdisciplinary association of faculty and academic chair professors representing eight separate academic disciplines. The SSAG has established four Chair professorships sponsored by the Aerospace Corporation/NRO, NASA, Navy PEO Space Systems, and the MASINT Chair Professor who supports the SSAG in areas of Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT). The Space Systems Academic Group has responsibility for the academic content of the Space Systems Operations and Space Systems Engineering curricula. Instruction is carried out by faculty members attached to the group, as well as the following academic departments: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Operations Research, Physics, Information Operations, Systems Management, and National Security Affairs. The Space Systems Academic Group approves thesis topics for students in Space Systems Operations. For Space Systems Engineering, the group chairman approves the final thesis in addition to the academic department granting the degree.


Space Systems Operations

The Space Systems Operations students are awarded the Master of Science in Space Systems Operations degree. Degree requirements:

  1. A minimum of 32 quarter-hours of graduate level work is required, of which at least 15 hours must be at the 4000 level.
  2. Graduate courses in at least four different subject areas must be included and in two areas, a course at the 4000 level must be included. There is also a requirement of three courses constituting advanced study in an area of specialization.
  3. Each student is required to write a thesis that is space oriented.
  4. The Chairman of the Space Systems Academic Group must approve all study programs.

Space Systems Engineering

The Space Systems Engineering students earn a Master's degree in one of the following academic areas: Astronautical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, or Physics. Refer to the degree requirements in the associated departments.

Group Facilities

  • ARM (Articulated Robotics Manipulator) Laboratory
  • Center for Radiation Hardened Electronics
  • Cognitive Systems Laboratory
  • CubeSat Development Lab
  • DARK MIRROR (Spacecraft Engineering & Operations) Laboratory
  • FLTSATCOM Satellite Operations Lab
  • GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) Laboratory - Ross Magnetic Attitude Control Test Lab
  • Nanosat Advanced Concepts Laboratory
  • NPS-AFRL Optical-relay Spacecraft Lab
  • NPS Vision Lab
  • Photogrammetric System ID Laboratory
  • Rocket Propulsion Lab
  • Small Satellite Development and Test Lab
  • Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics & Control Laboratory
  • Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory
  • Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

Nuclear Operations

The Nuclear Operations students are awarded Master's of Science in Nuclear Operations. Students must complete 24 credit hours from the Naval Postgraduate School as well as one 12-credit (3 or 4 course) pre-approved nuclear operations-related certificate from either The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Harvard University Extension School, or equivalent courses from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Space Systems Course Descriptions

SS Courses