Research Project

In-Space Nondestructive Evaluation of On-Orbit Manufactured Components and Systems


Manufacturing satellites in space could provide a rapid response and great flexibility to mission needs. The structural components of these satellite could be made by printed polymer parts as they do not have to survive (severe) launch loads. Through hybrid additive manufacturing, printed circuits and other pre-made modules, such as solar cells, would be integrated with host structures. However, such structures are susceptible to stress-induced failure due to mismatch in thermal expansion properties and other long-term degradation such as radiation damage. As such, it is of utmost importance for mission success to diagnose structural integrity. Diagnosing could happen through a) in-process monitoring, b) post-assembly verification, and c) lifecycle monitoring. However, no broadly applicable in-space nondestructive evaluation (NDE) solutions exist that are efficient and reliable. Thus, we propose to investigate automated, real-time, data-based methods aligned with goal (1) of the ISAM National Strategy.

We will determine the requirements for and capabilities of an automated in-space inspection system focusing on thermography and ultrasound NDE. The long-term goal of this transformative project is to develop a reliable, automated, cost-effective, in-situ solution for enabling high-quality on-orbit manufacturing.

Research Team

Lead Researchers 

  • Prof. Bingbing Li, Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management
  • Prof. Christoph Schaal, Department of Mechanical Engineering


  • NASA JPL: Dr. Douglas Hoffman, Dr. Richard Otis, Dr. Ryan Watkins, Dr. Bryan McEnerney
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Ryan McClelland at Instrument Systems and Technology
  • UCLA: Dr. Xiaochun Li, Dr. Morris Wang
  • Honeywell Aerospace: Gregory Colvin, Bob DeMers
  • Castheon Inc: Dr. Youping Gao, Mr. Steve James
  • ASTM Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE): Mr. Shane Collins
  • SimInsights Inc: Mr. Rajesh Jha
  • El Camino College: Mr. Jose Anaya

Student Team

  • Dr. Changyu Ma, Postdoc in ARCS at CSUN
  • Donald Palomino, Fellow, M.S. candidate in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at CSUN
  • Paula Logozzo, Fellow, undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at CSUN
  • Elliot Sadler, Fellow, M.S. candidate in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at CSUN
  • Bodia Borijin, Intern, B.S. candidate in Structural Engineering at UCSD
  • Andrew Wang, Intern, Portola High School


  • Funding Organization: NASA
  • Funding Program: MUREP Aerospace High-Volume Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management (MUREP High Volume), Grant number: 80NSSC22M0132
Research Team
Lead Researchers 

  • Dr. Christoph Schaal, Mechanical Engineering


  • Dr. Jacob Rome, Dr. Steffen Tai, and Dr. Evgueni Todorov at The Aerospace Corporation

Student Team

  • Sharveny Parthibhan, ARCS Fellow
  • Joshua Santiago, ARCS Associate
  • Omar Palocios, ARCS Associate


  • Funding Organization: The Aerospace Corporation