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Akin, David L.

David Akin
Associate Professor
Director, Space Systems Laboratory
2100D Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility

Research Interests 

Space systems and operations; space human factors; telerobotics; space simulation; and space applications of artificial intelligence. Projects include NASA’s astrobiology project (ASTEP), a morphing upper torso, the Ranger satellite servicing system, an advanced research/simulation suit, the visual positioning system, partial gravity simulation, automatic rendezvous and docking, SCAMP, and an exoskeleton.



S.B. Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
S.M. Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sc.D. Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Honors and Awards 

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics “Broken Propeller” Award, 1999

Professional Memberships 

Member, AIAA Distinguished Lecturer Program
Member, AIAA Space Automation and Robotics Technical Committee Chairman 1998-99
Member of NASA Telerobotics Intercenter Working Group
Member of NASWA EVA Forum
Member, NASA Solar System Exploration Subcommittee, Space Science Advisory Committee
Member, NASA Task Force on Technology Readiness
Member, NASA Mars Exploration Program Formulation and Planning Team
Organizer, NASA Mars Exploration Program Research Outreach Workshop

Related News 

Clark School Team to Compete in NASA's RASC-AL Competition
A team of Clark School students will compete in this year's RASC-AL competition, held June 18-20, 2019. June 12, 2019

UMD Takes Second Place in NASA RASC-AL Competition
Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkages (RASC-AL) Space Design Competition June 22, 2017

UMD Students Win 2015 RASC-AL Competition
Aerospace engineering students design winning concept for a Mars settlement and lunar refueling station. June 26, 2015

UMD Team Wins 2015 Robo-Ops and Sets New Course Record
Maryland students and their rover 'Frigg' win first place at the 2015 Robo-Ops Competition. June 22, 2015

Maryland Robotics Center presents demonstrations at Maryland Day
Visitors meet bio-inspired, miniature, networked, underwater robots, and more. April 29, 2015

UMD President Loh hosts robotics demonstrations at University House
Maryland Robotics Center shows a variety of robotic platforms. November 16, 2014

Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU
Research ranged from robotic skin to leg designs, inertial tail actuators, and more. August 10, 2014

Five Aerospace Engineering Students Win Honors at AIAA Conference
Student researchers won top spots in the both the graduate paper and space robotics categories. January 8, 2014

UMD Takes Second at 2013 RASC-AL Competition
Undergraduate aerospace design team places second at NASA RASC-AL competition. July 10, 2013

Clark School Takes 3rd at NASA Competition
Student team robotic vehicle successfully completed course and collected rock samples in RoboOps debut. May 31, 2011

Akin, Space Systems Lab featured in The Washington Post
Lab voted one of the top five "most awesome college labs" by Popular Science magazine. November 10, 2010

Robotics@Maryland Places 3rd in AUVSI Underwater Vehicle Competition
Clark School students help lead team to top-three finish in international, ONR-sponsored competition. July 23, 2010

RASC-AL "Three-peat" for Clark School
Clark School-ASU undergrad team wins at NASA competition. June 10, 2010

Akin, Jacobs Develop Morphing Upper Torso Spacesuit
Better fit, maneuverability key to next-generation planetary exploration. December 7, 2009

Live TV broadcast showcases Robotics@Maryland team
WTTG Fox 5 (Washington, D.C.) focused on the land and water robots of the ISR-affiliated group. September 4, 2008

Maryland Students Win Underwater Vehicle Contest
Clark School students part of first-place team in international contest. August 13, 2008

Robotics@Maryland team wins underwater vehicle contest
The students are advised by Nuno Martins and Dave Akin. August 5, 2008

Space Systems Lab awarded NASA contract
Contract awarded to study Lunar Surface Systems and Minimum Habitation Functions July 30, 2008

Space Systems Laboratory featured in Gazette newspaper
Dave Akin's ever-evolving Ranger robot is improving in dexterity. January 31, 2008

Akin, recent alumni win at business plan competition
Their company, Geo-Haul LLC, takes second place in 'young alumni division.' April 30, 2007

Akin, Space Systems Laboratory featured on Discovery Channel program
Lab's neutral buoyancy tank contains full-sized scale model of Hubble Space Telescope. February 28, 2007

New Honda Visiting Scientist arrives at ISR
Mr. Shigeru Narihiro will conduct control theory research with Dave Akin and Robert Sanner June 13, 2006

Akin featured on All Things Considered
Researcher speaks about the future of the space shuttle August 20, 2005

NASA-Goddard to award Space Systems Lab cooperative research agreement
Dave Akin's lab called "uniquely qualified" for dexterous space robotics July 1, 2005

Akin appears on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer
ISR-affiliated associate professor speaks on the future of space exploration April 18, 2005

SSL's Ranger robot featured on Discovery Channel
Program on Hubble Space Telescope highlights Dave Akin's work for NASA April 3, 2005

NASA announces Canadian robot, not Ranger, to be used to repair Hubble
August 2004—Disappointment for Ranger's developer, ISR Associate Professor Dave Akin. August 4, 2004

Akin is finalist in Hubble Space Telescope repair plan
June 2004—Ranger robot developed by ISR associate professor could be used to repair famed eye in the sky. June 5, 2004

Akin team ties for first place at NASA competition
May 2004—"MORPHLAB" to be presented at AIAA Space 2004. May 4, 2004

Space Systems Laboratory's Ranger robot is proposed to NASA
Proposal is made to assist in upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope March 3, 2004

Akin PI for NASA ASTEP award
Program examines extreme Earth environments to enable future space missions to determine whether life exists or has existed. January 4, 2004

Akin, Principal Investigator for NASA award
NASA's $3 million ASTEP award will fund development of dexterous robot arm... January 1, 2004