Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics
September 22, 2020
Behçet Açıkmeşe won the IEEE Control Systems Society's Award for Technical Excellence in Aerospace Control “for outstanding contributions to convex optimization-based control and its transitions and applications to aerospace applications.”
Açıkmeşe currently leads A&A’s Autonomous Control Lab, which focuses on Convex Optimization, Markov Decision Processes, Swarms, and Model Predictive Control.
He was a technologist and a senior member of the Guidance and Control (G&C) Analysis Group at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from 2003 to 2012. At JPL, he developed guidance, control, and estimation algorithms for formation-flying spacecraft and distributed networked systems, proximity operations around asteroids and comets, and planetary landing, as well as developing interior point methods algorithms for the real-time solution of convex optimization problems.
His research developed a fundamental result, known as “lossless convexification,” that provides the solution of a general class of nonconvex optimal control problems via computationally tractable convex optimization methods. This theoretical insight led to a leap in the G&C technology that now made planetary pinpoint landing feasible. NASA has been investing on the demonstration of this technology to mature it for next generation missions to Mars and other planets.
Açıkmeşe also worked on NASA missions. He was a member of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) G&C team, where he developed and delivered G&C algorithms used in the "flyaway phase" of the successful Curiosity rover landing in August 2012. He also developed Reaction Control System (RCS) algorithms for NASA's SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) mission.
Açıkmeşe received his M.S. in mechanical engineering and his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Purdue University.