Welcome Dr. Petersen to MAE

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department welcomes Dr. Christopher Petersen!

Dr. Christopher “Chrispy” Petersen is excited to join the University of Florida from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) and the United States Space Force (USSF).  His research looks at four pillars:  1) exploring and exploiting spacecraft dynamics, 2) advanced guidance, navigation, control and Autonomy (GNCA), 3) real-time computationally aware optimization for spacecraft, particularly for trajectory design and decision making, and 4) immersive human-satellite interfaces.  He enjoys a healthy balance between theory and application in order to improve state-of-the-art space technology.  At UF Dr. Petersen’s lab, the Spacecraft Technology And Research (STAR) Lab, will be developing, designing, and deploying methods for satellites, with particular forces on rendezvous and proximity operations and docking (RPOD) and the cislunar regime.

At AFRL/RV and USSF, Dr. Chrispy is a Research Aerospace Engineer and a Deputy Program Manager.  While in the government, he has worked on 10+ satellite experiments, developing, deploying, and executing GNCA algorithms for ground and on-orbit use.  As a highlight, Dr. Petersen was the PI for advanced autonomous guidance algorithms used by the Mycroft flight experiment which has been recognized as “…the AF’s biggest game changer” for space warfighters.  Currently he serves as the Deputy Program Manager of the Autonomous Demonstrations and Orbital eXperiments (ADOX) Portfolio, which is a series of satellite demonstrations focused on autonomy technologies to enable satellite inspection, XGEO (beyond geosynchronous orbit, or cislunar) space domain awareness and logistics in GEO including advanced propulsion and refueling.  In addition, Dr. Chrispy teaches at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Electrical Engineering, instructing classes on advance control and spacecraft GN&C.  For his accomplishments, in 2021 he was awarded the AFRL Early Career Award. 

Before his work at AFRL/RV and USSF, he received his B.S. from Syracuse University (GO ORANGE) in Aerospace Engineering and his M.S. and Ph.D from University of Michigan (GO BLUE) in Spacecraft Dynamics & Control.  He is now thrilled cheer GO GATORS. 

Dr. Chrispy is ecstatic to move to Gainesville with his wife Dr. Alicia Petersen and his son Leo (named after the constellation, not the orbit).  When not doing research, Dr. Chrispy enjoys music performance, playing 5 different instruments and singing professionally in a choir.  He has a Black Belt in Kosho Ryu Kenpo and Ju-Jitsu, and explores a variety of different martial arts wherever he goes.  The outdoors for him play a big part of his life, and he looks forward to hiking in Florida with his family. 

Welcome to the Gator nation, Dr. Petersen!