Affiliated Research Centers

The College of Engineering has cooperative arrangements with the following centers:


Advanced Composites Transportation Vehicles (ACTV)


Center for Applied Optics (CAO)

The Center for Applied Optics (CAO) advances optical science and engineering research and development in support of high technology educational, industrial and government interests and requirements. The center includes eleven faculty and staff, with twenty-three affiliated faculty and staff from UAH's academic departments. The CAO provides optical and optomechanical design and analysis, optical fabrication including diamond turning and both standard and CNC polishing, optical metrology, holography, and testing and prototyping of state-of-the-art optical components and systems. Center researchers are exploring unique applications of optics for numerous space, military and industrial uses. Experienced research personnel and extensive laboratory resources make the CAO uniquely qualified to perform state-of-the-art research.


Center for Management and Economic Research (CMER)

The UAHuntsville Center for Management and Economic Research provides customized sustainable solutions and offers training or implementation by utilizing lean enterprise, sustainable manufacturing & energy conservation best practices, innovation support,  six sigma, and quality systems through our partnership with Alabama Technology Network (UAH-ATN). The Alabama Technology Network is Alabama’s affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which provides hands-on assistance and training to smaller companies.


Center for Modeling, Simulation & Analysis (CMSA)

The Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis (CMSA) is a research and development center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. CMSA’s work centers on modeling and simulation and systems engineering. CMSA has broad capabilities in both of those disciplines, with special expertise in the areas of Modeling and Simulation (Physics-based modeling, Model validation methodologies, Spacecraft propulsion modeling, Simulation interoperability and composability, Discrete event simulation, Mathematical modeling and analysis, Finite element modeling and computational fluid dynamics, and Modeling and simulation education) and Systems Engineering (System-level modeling for design analysis and trade studies, Using modeling and simulation in the systems engineering process, Systems engineering methods, Technical team performance, and Systems-level spacecraft propulsion system design). The projects have been sponsored by NASA, the U. S. Army, the U. S. Navy, DARPA, and others.


Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR)

The Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville is dedicated to fostering excellence in research and graduate education on the role plasmas play in stars, in space, and in planetary atmospheres. We are especially interested in the coupling between the sun (our closest star), the near-Earth magnetic environment, and Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere. We are pursuing these goals with advanced theory, comprehensive modeling, and instrument development programs for both remote sensing and in site observations.


Center for System Studies (CSS)

The Center for System Studies focus on understanding how complex systems interact and develop engineered solutions to system problems.


Earth System Science Center (ESSC)

UAH's Earth System Science Center (ESSC) was created to encourage interdisciplinary study of the Earth as an integrated system across traditional boundaries. It has a diverse scientific staff, including atmospheric scientists, biologists, geologists, engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists. The ESSC is involved in several areas of Earth System research focusing on the basic science of the earth-atmosphere system. Scientists are involved in the evaluation of global-scale climate models, regional studies of the coupled atmosphere/ocean/ice systems, regional severe weather detection and prediction, measuring the local and global impact of the aerosols and pollutants, detecting lightning from space and the general development of remotely-sensed data bases. A cross-cutting strength of ESSC scientists is the application of remote sensing data, both space and ground-based, to the myriad of questions related to the Earth System.


Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC)

The Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC) conducts multidisciplinary research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in many facets of information technology. Basic and applied research is performed to develop new techniques and systems that ultimately solve real-world problems by the transfer of innovative technologies and knowledge. Students, faculty and research scientists are involved in all aspects of the center. ITSC serves as the focal point for UAH research endeavors in information technology and systems and provides leadership in applications of information technology for multiple disciplines and computational environments.

The center is actively involved in local, state, regional, national and international information technology activities and serves as a catalyst in innovative pursuits in information technology. In support of these activities, the center is currently performing research and development in the areas of distributed information systems, next generation internet, data mining and knowledge discovery, information system interoperability, image processing and data security.


Propulsion Research Center (PRC)

The Propulsion Research Center is nationally recognized resource for fundamental and applied research, with state-of-the-art test facilities. The capabilities of the Propulsion Research Center are classified into the following research areas: Systems Engineering (Launch vehicle  architectures, Missile design, and Propulsion technology gap analysis), Advanced Propulsion (Electric, Solar, and other advanced technologies), Classic Propulsion (Solid, Liquid, and Hybrid components and systems), Modeling and Simulation (Advanced analysis and CFD code development and applications), and Propulsion Education (Support for college courses, Short courses, and Outreach events).


Research Institute (RI)

Research Institute, including the subordinate Aerophysics Research Center, carries out applied research and engineering programs, principally to meet the needs of Department of Defense customers, but with significant related work for NASA and private industry. Many Research Institute efforts are carried out in close cooperation with customers, on site at government laboratories, The Institute staff has expertise in technologies related to system development and acquisition. These include systems engineering and project management, technical risk assessment and software engineering. In addition, the Research Institute staff has expertise in the development and management of international projects and in organizational design and the management of technical professionals. The Institute operates a laboratory for studying the interactions of a vehicle with its environment at high velocity and has the capability to measure high velocity impact phenomena.

The Aerophysics Research Center (ARC) operates three two-stage light gas gun systems which provide a variety of capabilities to investigate the interactions of a high speed vehicle and its environment. The two major areas of application for this facility are in phenomenology related to hypervelocity impact (speeds at or greater than 2500 meters/sec or 8200 feet/sec ) and hypersonic flight (speeds at or greater than Mach 5) in variable atmospheres. The gun systems utilize a fully enclosed flight range and are operated in a large high bay which provides for an all weather test capability.


Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC)

The Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) is a multifaceted research center focused on applied engineering and the Systems Engineering techniques to enhance project success. RSESC brings proven, unparalleled capabilities in systems engineering, rapid prototyping, system analysis, integration and fabrication. RSESC skills include: system design and development, analytical analysis in CFD and mechanical fields, reverse engineering, data analysis, trade studies, systems engineering, systems integration, non-destructive testing and independent verification, analysis and review. The personnel of this center have been designing, manufacturing, testing and creating the necessary documentation for atmospheric and space flight and laboratory hardware. RSESC has developed high quality systems to meet the needs of the many Department of Defense (DoD) and National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) customers. The center’s past experience in systems implementation and materials research has allowed the RSESC to provide support to the Army and NASA in the areas of product development, analysis and testing all engineering fields.

Center Capabilities Include Flight Payload Development, Materials Research and Development, Product Development and Optimization, Propulsion Design, Space Mission Analysis, Design, and Fabrication, Statistical Analysis/Design Analysis, and Systems and Payloads Safety Analysis.



Systems Management & Production Center (SMAP)

The UAH SMAP Center provides expertise, leadership, and support to the Army, NASA, other government agencies, and private sector organizations. The center serves the Army by not only providing knowledge to resolve current issues, but also as a critical link between local university students and the future roles they will eventually fill. The capabilities of the SMAP Center include Students Working at the Army in Parallel (SWAP) Program (Collaborative Engineering training and support, and Technical workshop administration), Homeland Defense/Security applications (Threat evaluation and sensor systems and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) support), Engineering analysis (Computer networking administration and support & Web-based and database application development), and Advanced modeling, visualization and animation (Unmanned systems integration & Military testing and logistics support).