Members of STAR Research Group.

Director of STAR Research Group

Dr. David Canales Garcia (

David Canales Garcia started his professional career at ‘’Polytechnic University of Catalonia'', Spain, where he studied his BSc and MSc degrees in Aerospace Engineering. He also pursued a MSc degree in Astrophysics, Particle Physics and Cosmology from University of Barcelona. His most remarkable professional experience in the space industry was when he started working for Satlantis LLC as a space technology engineer with the aim of developing Earth-observation cameras for micro-satellites.  He graduated from his Ph.D. in Astrodynamics and Space Applications in the multi-body dynamics research group under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen C. Howell in Purdue University. Dr. Canales is currently an Assistant Professor in the department of Aerospace Engineering of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). He is also the ERAU representative to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). 
His expertise encompasses astrodynamics in multi-body regimes, Cislunar surveillance, astronomy, orbit determination, applied mathematics, as well as many different space applications, such as telecommunications, signal processing and mission planning. 

PhD Students 

Franco Criscola (

Franco Criscola was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Weston, Florida when he was 15 years old. He became interested in space during his senior year of high school when SpaceX started reaching the news, but his passion for Astrodynamics didn’t begin blooming until the first course he took in his junior year of college. He is particularly interested in extra-terrestrial trajectory design, especially interplanetary missions. He hopes his research will give him the tools he needs to become proficient in this topic.

Khushboo Patel (

Khushboo Patel will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for her doctoral studies in aerospace engineering. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, University Park. For her master's thesis, she developed a hybrid particle swarm optimization method for multiple landing trajectories on the Moon. She also investigated landing locations and conditions using particle swarm optimization on Lambert’s Solution. Her research interests include astrodynamics, space systems engineering, planetary science, space sustainability, and space applications. She aspires to become a scientist to find optimal solutions for interplanetary travel, long-term expeditions to Mars, and promote peaceful use of space resources. 

MSc Students 

Annika Anderson (

Annika Anderson is an Accelerated Master's student in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Her research interests include spacecraft dynamics and controls, as well as signal processing and classification. In particular, orbital mechanics within the cislunar region as a gateway to sustainable travel to Mars are of interest. In addition, she is currently working on a proposal to make use of audio signal parameters to detect mechanical failure before it occurs--optimizing preventative maintenance. 

Brian Baker-McEvilly (

Brian Baker-McEvilly is pursuing his BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering as well as a minor in Applied Mathematics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, as apart of the Accelerated Master’s Program. His research interests include attitude dynamics, control, astrodynamics, and trajectory design. 

Joseph Anderson (

Joseph Anderson is pursuing his BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. His research interests include spacecraft controls and trajectory planning, as well as machine learning applications for automated space domain awareness. 

Matthew Valenti (

Matthew Valenti is a Master's student in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Dynamics and Control at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University. Throughout his upcoming years, he will be working on his thesis on "The Transfer Design Methodology for Spacecraft between Earth and Near-Earth Asteroids in the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem." With this research, he hopes to create flight trajectories for satellites to land on these asteroids and gain information on their composition and creation. In the future, he hopes to use his knowledge on the Three-Body problem to research satellite missions on Mars, particularly looking into the prospects of Terraformation.

BSc Students 

Jesika Geliga Torres (

Jesika Geliga Torres is a Bachelor's student from Puerto Rico currently majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Jesika is particularly interested in research within the Cislunar region, deep space exploration, virtual reality, and augmented reality. She is aiming to obtain her PhD once she has finished her Bachelor of Science degree, and her main investigation will be centered in creating a framework for immersive trajectory design by using augmented reality. 

Alumni (BSc)

Annika Gilliam (

Annika Gilliam is an Aerospace Engineering major with a minor in Russian Studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Unversity. She hopes to attend the Air Force Insitute of Technology after graduation, as she will commission into the Air Force in Spring 2023. She aspires to work on astrodynamics technology for the National Reconnaissance Office upon completion of graduate studies. Her research interests include surveillance satellite trajectory planning and design as well as general explorations in the field of astrodynamics. 

Sebastian Doroba (

Sebastian Doroba is currently majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Astrophysics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is aiming to get his PhD once he has finished his Bachelor of Science degree. Sebastian became interested within the space industry as he has lived an hour away from Kennedy Space Center for most of his life with the gift of seeing rocket launches from his house. Sebastian is particularly interested in research pertaining to deep space exploration and orbital design.