The Aero/Astro Space and Systems Development Lab provides education and research in space system design, technology, and operation. Students gets hands-on experience in developing micro-satellites that are launched into orbit and controlled at Stanford. Stanford was one of the leaders in the development of CubeSats, a modular satellite payload system that allows researchers at universities around the world to design experiments that can be launched into space relatively easily. Work continues on the application of systems engineering to the life-cycle of spacecraft including design, testing, launching, and operation of subsystems.
In the Aero Fluid Mechanics Laboratory researchers study turbulent reacting and variable density flows with application to propulsion systems. They also investigate the decomposition of nitrous oxide for small space thrusters.
Researchers in the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory develop technology for robotic exploration of remote and hostile environments in space and underwater.
The Space Environment and Satellite Systems (SESS) group seeks to understand the interaction of satellite systems with plasmas. The environment primarily includes energetic particles, meteoroids, and space debris.
Aero/Astro students and faculty work with the Hansen Experimental Physics Lab on experiments that can only be conducted in space. For example, one space experiment validated two higher-order effects predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.