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Faculty

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Fabien Royer
Assistant Professor

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

373 Upson Hall
fabienr@cornell.edu

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Fabien joined Cornell in January 2023 as an assistant professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Prior to that he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fabien obtained his MSc and PhD in Space Engineering from Caltech, as well as his Diplôme d’Ingénieur from ISAE-SUPAERO (French national institute for Aeronautics and Space). At Caltech, Fabien worked in Prof. Pellegrino's Space Structures Laboratory where his research focused on ultra-lightweight shell structures, their instabilities, and their application to very large space solar power spacecraft. He also worked on the AAReST (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope) small satellite mission for which he led part of the spacecraft software and hardware development. In addition to his research, Fabien co-chaired the Caltech Space Challenge 2019, an international student space mission design competition. Fabien was awarded the William F. Ballhaus Prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation by the Caltech Aerospace Department (GALCIT), as well as the Ernest E. Sechler Memorial Award for most significant contribution to the department’s teaching and research effort. In addition, he received the Shirley Thomas Academic Scholarship from the Aerospace Historical Society, and he is a Fellow of the Keck Institute for Space Studies.

PhD students

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Azadeh Fathi
PhD student in Mechanical Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

af473@cornell.edu

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Azadeh is a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, working in the Cornell Space Structures laboratory. Her research focuses on the nonlinear mechanics of deployable and active ultra-lightweight structures, with the aim of predicting and overcoming their fundamental limitations. Before joining Cornell University, she completed her B.Sc. (Tehran Polytechnic, Iran) and M.Sc. (TMU, Iran) in mechanical engineering. She worked on damage tolerance, structural integrity and nanomodification of composites and fiber metal laminates through a combination of experiments, analysis and numerical simulations. She also worked as a research assistant at Tehran Polytechnic, collaborating with TU Delft, where she investigated barely visible impact damage (BVID) in composites, such as invisible underlying delamination created by multiple hail impacts. Beyond her academic pursuits, Azadeh enjoys dancing, playing the guitar, and traveling.

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Siamand (Abdolbaset) Lalisani
PhD student in Mechanical Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

al2587@cornell.edu

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Siamand joined the Cornell Space Structures (CSS) Laboratory as a Ph.D. student in 2024. He investigates the stability of ultra-lightweight shell structures and new design concepts for deployable and shape-changing space structures, ranging from prototype scale to very large spacecraft. Siamand received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Tehran Polytechnic, Iran. In his undergraduate research, he focused on the thermal control modeling of orbiting space structures. For his master's thesis, he conducted research on the mechanics of lightweight fiber-reinforced structures as a mass-efficient solution for aviation vehicles and optimized their design to withstand barely visible impact damages, such as hail impacts. Before joining CSS, he worked as a researcher in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, focusing on the nonlinear constitutive modeling of soft matter. Coffee, music, and dance are activities Siamand enjoys during his non-research hours.

MS students

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Muthu Narayanan Kasiraja
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

mk2345@cornell.edu

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Muthu is a Mechanical Engineering MS Student in the Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (Class of 2022-2024). He has completed his Bachelor of Technology degree from the National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli, India (NIT, Trichy) with a Production Engineering major and a minor in Mechanical Engineering (Class of 2018-2022). As a result of his outstanding academic performance during his bachelor's, he was a Gold Medal recipient (Department Topper), an Institute day awardee, and an Alumni awardee. Muthu was also a Summer Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of   Technology, Madras (IIT, Madras) under the Summer Research Fellowship Programme (SRFP-2021). His research interest lies in CAD, finite element methods, and Design Optimization of products and structures. His former notable projects include: "Convertible wheelchair to bed transfer device," which got nominated for funding from the Siemens Center of Excellence at NITT, and "Structural Integrity Analysis of Additively Manufactured Light Weight Structures" carried out at IIT, Madras.

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Neel Jignesh Baxi
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

nb488@cornell.edu

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Neel is a Mechanical Engineering MS Student in the Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (Class of 2022-2024). He has completed his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU-Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India) in Mechanical Engineering (Class of 2018-2022). The American Society for Metal (ASM) recently honored him with the “Student Research Recognition Award”, for his research in mechanical structures. Neel has done a Summer Research Internship at the “Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) - Space Applications Center (SAC).” His research interest lies in CAD, CAM, finite element methods and New Product Development. His former notable projects include: "Investigation of Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces” which he pursed at ISRO under the guidance of Shri. Jigish M Patel, Shri. Vinit J. Bhatt and Prof. Vishvesh J. Badheka. Moreover, he presented a paper titled A Study on Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces: A Case Study at the International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials – 2021. He has three design patents.

UG students

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Jabez Abayneh
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, concentration in Aerospace Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

ja545@cornell.edu

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Jabez is a Mechanical Engineering BS Student in the Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (Class of 2021-2025). For his outstanding academic performance and community involvement during high school, he was selected as the College of Engineering's John McMullen Dean's Scholar. His research interest lies in CAD and Design Optimization of products and structures. He will be working as an EMTEC Process Engineering Intern at ExxonMobil in the summer of 2023.

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Kathryn Ng
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, concentration in Aerospace Engineering


Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Kathryn is a Mechanical Engineering BS student in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Class of 2021-2025). In addition to Cornell Space Structures lab, she is a member of the Cornell University Unmanned Air Systems project team on the Airframe sub-team. She is interested in structural design and composite materials research and she is excited to contribute to the innovation of spacecraft engineering.

Alumni

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Nikita Dolgopolov
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, concentration in Aerospace Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

nd287@cornell.edu

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Nikita is a Mechanical Engineering BS student in the Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (Class of 2021-2025). Besides being a member of the Cornell Space Structures lab, Nikita is an active member of the Cornell Hyperloop Project Team and has earned a Dean's Honor List award for every semester at Cornell. Nikita is particularly interested in space systems and their mass optimization.

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Lee Maina
Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, minor in Mathematics

School of Applied and Engineering Physics

lwm56@cornell.edu

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Lee is an Engineering Physics BS Student in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics (Class of 2021-2025) and also plans to complete a Math minor. He is an active member of CUSP and NSBE, which are some diversity and community organizations at Cornell. He has been a Physics LSC tutor since the Fall of 2022 and genuinely enjoys working through problems and assisting others. As a member of the Cornell Space Structures lab, Lee works on electrostatically actuated thin-shell space structures, doing finite element simulations and analytical modeling.

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