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Space Systems Operations Research Laboratory
Dr. Hang Woon Lee, Assistant Professor

Welcome to the Space Systems Operations Research Laboratory at WVU!

The Space Systems Operations Research Laboratory (SSORL) is a newly formed research laboratory in the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University. Led by Dr. Hang Woon Lee, we are dedicated to advancing the field of space systems operations research through the development of innovative mathematical modeling techniques and optimization methods for tackling complex decision-making problems that arise during the life cycle of a space system.


What is Space Systems Operations Research?

Space systems operations research is a field that combines operations research, astrodynamics, and space systems engineering to study and optimize the design, operation, and management of space systems. This can include tasks such as analyzing the feasibility and efficiency of different mission scenarios, designing and planning the deployment and operation of space-based assets, and predicting and mitigating potential risks and failures. The goal of space systems operations research is to improve the performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of space systems.

The following are the methods and the application domains of our research.
  • Methods:
    • Modeling & Simulation
      • Graph theoretic modeling, complex networks
    • Mathematical optimization
      • Discrete optimization, decomposition-based techniques
      • Nonlinear programming, large-scale multidisciplinary design optimization
  • Application Domains:
    • Distributed satellite systems
      • Satellite constellations, formation flying
      • Earth observations, telecommunications, positioning, navigation & timing
    • Space traffic management
    • Space domain awareness
    • On-orbit servicing & space logistics
Group research portfolio.

Prospective Students

We are seeking highly motivated graduate and undergraduate students to join our team and conduct cross-disciplinary research at SSORL.
  • Two Fully Funded Ph.D. (Direct-Track Ph.D.) Positions (Update: 09/19/2023)
    • Start date: Spring, Summer, or Fall 2024
    • Areas of focus : stochastic optimization, network theory, artificial intelligence, space traffic management
    • Hold an accredited B.S. or M.S. in aerospace/mechanical engineering, operations research, industrial engineering, computer science, mathematics, remote sensing, or related disciplines.
    • M.S. in aerospace engineering is preferred, but not required.
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on of 4.0 scale.
    • If interested, please send an email expressing interest to Dr. Lee with
      • Curriculum vitae and select publications, if any.
  • Multiple M.S. Positions
    • We are seeking M.S. students to join us year-round. Contact Dr. Lee for more information.
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities
    • As an undergraduate student at SSORL, you have the opportunity to be part of a variety of research projects. You can choose to engage in ongoing research or initiate your own independent research. There are several ways to get involved, including:
    • All majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply.
    • If interested, please send an email to Dr. Lee expressing your interest along with your résumé.
  • Contact: Dr. Hang Woon Lee at


  • 06/2024: Henry successfully defended his M.S. thesis. Congratulations!
  • 04/2024: Matthew Fox has received the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowship Award!
  • 01/2024: Dr. Lee has received the  Herbert P. Dripps Faculty Fellowship!
  • 01/2024:  A paper, in collaboration with Dr. Smriti Nandan Paul (MAE, Missouri S&T), was presented at the 2024 AIAA SciTech in Orlando, FL.
  • 01/2024: We are excited to welcome graduate student Trupti Gosavi to the research group!
  • 10/2023: David presented his latest research at the 2023 AIAA ASCEND conference in Las Vegas, NV!
  • 10/2023: WVU Today has released a news article covering our latest research project!
  • 08/2023: Dr. Lee received the 2023 NASA Early Career Faculty (ECF) award!
  • 08/2023: Two of our graduate students, Brycen Pearl and Henry Clareson, presented their research at the 2023 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference in Big Sky, MT!
  • 08/2023: We would like to welcome Dr. Jae-ik Park from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute as a visiting scholar to our research group!
  • 07/2023: A new paper on satellite constellation reconfiguration has been published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.
  • 07/2023: Dr. Lee will collaborate with Dr. Hao Chen at Stevens Institute of Technology on a new research projected funded by the NASA's Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy.
  • 06/2023: We are excited to share the news that our proposal to the NASA EPSCoR Rapid Response Research has been selected for funding!
  • 06/2023: We are excited to begin a new research project sponsored by the NASA WV EPSCoR Research Seed Grant!
  • 06/2023: Matthew Fox, previously an undergraduate researcher, joined our research group as a graduate member!
  • 03/2023: We presented a total of three posters at the Graduate Student Research Symposium during the Statler College Research Week!
  • 01/2023: We are excited to welcome graduate student David Williams Rogers to the research group!
  • 01/2023: We are excited to begin a new research project sponsored by TelePIX!
  • 11/2022: Dr. Lee is recognized as an Excellent Reviewer for the Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics for the period of Oct. 1, 2021-Sept. 30, 2022.
  • 11/2022: Congratulations to Matthew Fox, an undergraduate researcher in our group, for being awarded the Undergraduate Affiliate Fellowship Program from the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium for his research proposal on cislunar SDA!
  • 10/2022: Our paper, in collaboration with Dr. Zeyu Liu (IMSE, WVU), has been accepted for presentation at the 33rd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Austin, TX, in January 2023!
  • 08/2022: We are excited to welcome graduate students Brycen Pearl and Thomas (Henry) Clareson to the research group!
  • 03/2022 (Pre-WVU): Hang Woon will be joining the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University as an Assistant Professor of Space Systems.