UC student aims to develop and educate others on space exploration systems
Doctoral candidate Anirudh Chhabra named Engineer of the Month
Through his research in aerospace engineering, University of Cincinnati doctoral candidate Anirudh Chhabra aims to develop systems that can help us better explore and understand space. He also aims to fulfill his passion for teaching by pursuing a career in academia post-graduation, teaching others about space exploration and technology. Chhabra’s research as part of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Research Laboratory has been federally funded, and he was named the Graduate Student Engineer of the Month by UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.
What inspired you to choose UC?
As a child, I was always inspired by astronaut Neil Armstrong, and I was excited to learn that he had taught in UC’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. UC has a great reputation in the field of aerospace engineering, and many of the labs here have a high research output. I also appreciated UC’s beautiful campus, which is located in a great city with amazing people. As a graduate student, I feel like there's so much to do here, and I'm able to balance my academic pursuits with other interests and activities. I was also fortunate to have Dr. Donghoon Kim as my adviser, who has been incredibly supportive and has always encouraged me to push my limits. All of this made UC the perfect choice for me, and I'm very happy that I decided to pursue my education here for both my master’s degree and PhD.
Why did you choose your field of study?
I've always been fascinated by space and the possibilities that exist beyond our planet, and I’m also a huge fan of Star Trek! I was inspired to use my knowledge and skills to enter the arena of space engineering to push boundaries with my work. After completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I wanted to continue contributing to this thrilling field. It’s exciting to be part of a community that is pushing the boundaries of what we know and exploring the mysteries of the universe.
What inspires you in your research work? What do you hope to achieve?
My ultimate goal is to build systems that can help us explore space and understand the nature of life beyond our planet. My research work centers around the development of a spacecraft simulator. The goal of this project is to provide a hardware-based testing platform that can help us validate space missions and make certain AI-based technologies ready for space. I believe this will allow us to gain a better understanding of how contact between objects in space can be modeled and understood, which can then help us improve our existing systems. I find this work inspiring because it has the potential to lead to a wide range of applications in the field of space exploration. For example, it could be used for in-space servicing of old satellites, manufacturing of new systems, and removal of space debris. Overall, I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute to this evolving field and help solve the problems that will enable us to make meaningful advancements in space exploration and technology.
What are some of the most impactful experiences during your time at UC?
Presenting my work at multiple conferences has helped me gain recognition in the field of aerospace engineering. Additionally, I've had the opportunity to serve as a guest lecturer for both undergraduate and graduate courses in the department, which has allowed me to share my knowledge and inspire others. I've also served as a reviewer for a conference and a journal during the last year, which has given me valuable experience in evaluating the work of others in my field. I have also had the opportunity to lead and contribute to a multicultural community on campus as president of the Indian Student Association.
I was also a fellow for the Institute for Research in Sensing, where I worked in an interdisciplinary team with the Environment Protection Agency to solve real-life problems concerning our community. Participating in the NSF Research Experiences for Teachers program, where I had the opportunity to provide an intensive research experience to K-12 teachers regarding the latest research in our field, was also impactful. All of these experiences have been invaluable, and they have contributed to my personal and professional growth.
What are your accomplishments that you are most proud of?
Some of my most significant accomplishments include the publication of three journal papers and 14 conference papers. These works allowed me to share my research and insights with the academic community and demonstrate my expertise in the field. Additionally, I was fortunate to have served as a fellow for both the Space Research Institute for Discovery and Exploration and the Institute for Research in Sensing (IRiS), which provided me with valuable interdisciplinary research experience. Most recently, I'm proud to have been a part of my lab, which received a federal grant. My research is a part of this grant, and I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute to meaningful advancements in the field.
What are your plans post-graduation?
I am planning to graduate in the fall of 2024, and afterward I hope to gain some research experience as a postdoctoral researcher before pursuing a career in academia. I have a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge, and I believe that becoming a professor would be a fulfilling career path for me.
Do you have any other activities, hobbies, experiences, or group involvement that you want to share?
I'm a huge soccer fan and I actively support Liverpool Football Club. I love following the team and watching their matches whenever I can. I also enjoy traveling to new destinations and exploring different cultures. I find it very rewarding to immerse myself in new experiences and broaden my perspectives. I'm also an avid hiker and trekker, and typically embark on at least one big trip each year to challenge myself and take in the beauty of nature.
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