Daniel Miller Receives Two-year CSE Fellowship Award
Daniel Miller, a Ph.D. candidate, was awarded the two-year College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Fellowship Award from the University of Minnesota. The two-year CSE Fellowship is given to candidates who have proven to be exceptional and are looking to pursue a Ph.D. Daniel received his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the spring of 2017 from the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.
Daniel chose the AEM department at the University of Minnesota because of the qualityof the research and faculty. He says that after speaking with Professor Linares, he found that AEM had the best opportunities for him to conduct research according to his interests. Pursing a Ph.D. will allow him to gain in depth knowledge regarding how spacecraft trajectories are planned.
He is researching “…how to use reinforcement learning to plan efficient low-energy trajectories for continuous thrust spacecraft. Unlike traditional, chemically-propelled spacecraft which complete the acceleration necessary to change orbits in a matter of seconds, low-thrust spacecraft slowly accelerate over a period of days, weeks, or even years. Current techniques to design trajectories with these acceleration profiles are very labor intensive and require powerful computers. This is especially true when taking multiple bodies into account, such as at Lagrange points. By using reinforcement learning, I hope to find a way to generate and control trajectories in less time and while using less powerful computers.”
He says that “[he] really [likes] the tighter focus that comes with having a dedicated aerospace department.” His undergraduate degree was in both mechanical and aerospace engineering and he enjoys knowing that the faculty and his fellow graduate students share his interest in aerospace.
His current goal is to pass his Written Preliminary Exam this upcoming spring as well as becoming fully immersed in his research. In the future, Daniel says his goal is to work at NASA planning interplanetary missions. He says that this goal is why he chose to pursue aerospace engineering and that he is excited to see how his research at the U of M will bring him closer to achieving his objective.
The Department wishes Daniel the best of luck as he continues to pursue his Ph.D.