Faculty Directory

Akin, David

Akin, David

Director of Space Systems Laboratory
Aerospace Engineering
Maryland Robotics Center
2100D Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility


  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( Aeronautics & Astronautics)
  • M.S.,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Aeronautics & Astronautics)
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Aeronautics & Astronautics)


Professional Services

  • 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
  • Chairman, Space Systems Faculty Search Committee (x2)
  • Chairman, Systems Design Curriculum Committee

Institutional Services

  • Member, Systems Dynamics and Control Curriculum Committee
  • Member of Undergraduate Committee
  • Member, University Diving Control Board
  • Member, Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Committee


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.

Conference Proceedings

  • David L. Akin, Craig R. Carignan, and Stephen R. Roderick, "Autonomous Dexterous Sampling: From the Arctic Ocean to Mars and Beyond" Earth-Space 2008 Conference, Long Beach, CA, March 2008
  • David L. Akin and Shane Jacobs, "Investigations into Several Approaches to EVA-Robot Integration" 2007-01-3232, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • Shane Jacobs, Elizabeth Benson, David Akin, "Kinematic Analysis of a Robotically Augmented Pressure Suit for Planetary Exploration" 2007-01-3171, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • Agnieszka A. Koscielniak and David L. Akin, "Development and Testing of a Metabolic Workload Measuring System for Space Suits" 2007-01-3212, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • Elizabeth Benson, Shane Jacobs, and David Akin, "Investigation of a Cable-Driven Parallel Mechanism for Pressure Suit Arm Resizing and Motion Assistance" 2007-01-3170, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • John Mularski and David Akin, "Water Immersion Ballasted Partial Gravity for Lunar and Martian EVA Simulation" 2007-01-3145, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • Craig M. Lewandowski and David L. Akin, "Development of a Single-Fluid Consumable Infrastructure for Portable Life Support Systems" 2007-01-3246, 37th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Chicago, IL, July 2007
  • L. Aksman, C. Carignan, and D. Akin, "Force Estimation Based Compliance Control of Harmonically Driven Manipulators", IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Rome, Italy, April 2007
  • David L. Akin, "Human/Robotic Systems to Enable In-Space Operations in the CEV Era" AIAA-2006-7390, AIAA Space 2006 Conference and Exhibit, San Jose, California, Sep. 19-21, 2006
  • Brian Roberts and David Akin, "Robotic Servicing of Hubble Space Telescope: Lessons Learned from a Short-Lived Program" AIAA-2006-7393, AIAA Space 2006 Conference and Exhibit, San Jose, California, Sep. 19-21, 2006
  • David Akin, Brian Roberts, Stephen Roderick, Walter Smith, and Jean-Marc Henriette, "MORPHbots: Lightweight Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robotics for Space Assembly, Inspection, and Servicing" AIAA-2006-7408, AIAA Space 2006 Conference and Exhibit, San Jose, California, Sep. 19-21, 2006
  • Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin, Jeffrey R. Braden, and David Graziosi, "Morphing Upper Torso: A Novel Concept in EVA Suit Design" 2006-01-2142, 36th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Norfolk, VA, July 2006
  • Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin, and Jeffrey R. Braden, "System Overview and Operations of the MX-2 Neutral Buoyancy Space Suit Analogue" 2006-01-2287, 36th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Norfolk, VA, July 2006

Roving Reporter

We Road-Test Engineering Students’ New Moon Buggy Concept at NASA

Clark School Community Members Win Prestigious Campus Social Impact Award

Five Clark School community members are winners of the Provost’s Do Good Innovator Awards.

Transforming Engineering: Highlighting Maryland Engineers

In celebration of Black History Month, we highlight the many impactful contributions of Black engineers in our community—students, alums, faculty, and staff—to the Clark School, our university, and world.

Diving Deeper into Competition, and Recruitment

UMD’s RoboSub team sets sights on blasting the 2024 competition out of the water.

A “Lint Roller” for Moon Dust

UMD researchers are creating a portable device that astronauts can use to get rid of clingy moon dust.

Mark Austin is PI for new DoD Minerva Research Initiative project

He is using a 'System-of-Systems" approach to understand, model, synthesize and optimize the operations of large-scale, distributed institutions and organizations.

24 Teams Present at BIOE Capstone Competition Including First BCE Students

On May 8, 2023, 24 teams presented novel designs at the BIOE Capstone Design Competition.

Energy Consortium promotes science and innovation

U.S. - Israel consortium accelerates development of solid-state batteries

Alumnus David A. Bader to be Inducted into Clark School Innovation Hall of Fame

Induction celebrates Bader’s work to democratize supercomputing through the creation of the first Linux supercomputer.

Alum Shinkyu Park wins 2022 O. Hugo Schuck Award

The award recognizes the best papers presented at the American Control Conference.

UMD Takes Best in Theme Award at 2022 NASA RASC-AL Competition

Competition challenges student teams to develop solutions for space exploration.

Jewell Named Controlled Release Society Fellow

BIOE Professor recognized for outstanding contributions to the field of delivery science and technology.

Olympus Discovery Center Inaugurated at UMD

New advanced microscopy facility fosters bioscience discovery.

Celebrating Black Aerospace Engineers: Jarred Young ('09, M.S. '13, Ph.D. '17)

Inspired at an early age to become a propulsion engineer, Young is helping a new generation of engineers achieve their dreams.

UMD joins NSF-funded revolutionary $25M center for optoelectronic, quantum technologies

The University of Maryland is one of 11 academic institutions that make up the Center for Integration of Modern Optoelectronic Materials on Demand (IMOD).

Two UMD Teams Take Best in Theme at NASA’s RASC-AL Competition

Competition challenges student teams to design concepts for space exploration.

White Lab Reviews Point-of-Care Diagnostics to Combat Pandemic

Micaela Everitt is first author of a review paper on point-of-care diagnostic technologies during a pandemic.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Fire ... in Space

A University of Maryland engineer's work aboard the International Space Station could lead to cleaner engines and power plants, and safer living conditions in space.

Blown Away

UMD Research Seeks to Minimize Risks of Performing Together; New Tech Supports Students’ Learning

Data-Driven Research, Pandemic Impact Highlighted at TRB

UMD researchers presented new findings, tools, and technologies, including a COVID-19 Impact Dashboard that leverages mobile device data.

Srivastava, Qu part of Department of Defense 'SHIP' Project hardware security team

They will investigate a wide range of attack methodologies that could be used against protoype IC chiplets being developed in the project.

From Terps Racing to Ford Motor Company

Alumnus Austin Kendall (’17) has carved out a career built on a passion. Now he’s giving back to fuel future Maryland students.

Symptoms all in your head—or in your gut? Maybe a little of both.

UMD researchers are building an ingestible capsule that can monitor and model gut microbiome serotonin activity and help demystify the “gut-brain axis.”

Investing in Environmentally Responsible Engineering

A grant from The Lemelson Foundation will accelerate environmentally and socially responsible engineering through innovation in undergraduate curricula.

UMD Team Takes a Top Spot in NASA RASC-AL Design Competition

Four University of Maryland teams competed in this year’s NASA 2020 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition.

Two University of Maryland Teams Selected for 2021 NASA M2M X-Hab Challenge

Competition challenges students to develop some of the next generation technologies to enhance NASA’s Moon to Mars space exploration missions.

FAA Extends Funding for NEXTOR III Aviation Operations Research Consortium

In its 23 years, NEXTOR has developed decision support tools, operational and system concepts, and policymaking tools that benefit the FAA, the airline industry and the flying public.

BIOE Capstone Class Virtually Presents 24 Novel Projects

BIOE seniors present Capstone projects and celebrate winners virtually.

Student 3D Prints Personal Protective Equipment for Area Hospitals

Quinn Kupec’s efforts featured on North Dakota news outlet KVRR.

New Protocol Helps Classify Topological Matter

In a new paper in Science Advances, researchers from UMD and several other institutions presented a new method for identifying and characterizing topological invariants on various experimental platforms, testing their protocol in a quantum simulator made of neutral atoms.

Clark School Engineers 3D Print Protective Face Shields

Clark School faculty and additive manufacturing experts are working to 3D print protective face shields in response to critical PPE shortages.

Found in Space

How an 18-year-old student engineering project showed up in a new sci-fi book.

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.

Consensus for First-of-its-Kind Pre-College Engineering Course

Representatives from more than 100 high schools, colleges, and universities convened at the E4USA Engineering Curriculum Workshop.

UMD RASC-AL Team Wins Big, Akin Recognized with PEACH Award

A team of 19 undergraduate students won first place for the RASC-AL theme category and second place in the overall competition.

Elon Musk Tweets Back

A question and answer session with Quinn Kupec, an undergraduate researcher in Aerospace Engineering, who recently grabbed the attention of Elon Musk.

UMD Takes Second Place in NASA RASC-AL Competition

Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkages (RASC-AL) Space Design Competition

UMD Takes 1st in American Helicopter Society Student Challenge

The Terrapin Sheriffs was one of three international teams selected to participate.

Alumnus David Van Wie Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Aerospace Engineering alumnus inducted into NAE for contributions to contributions to hypersonic technology.

Two UMD Teams NASA BIG Idea Challenge Finalists

Two UMD Aerospace Engineering student teams selected as finalists in NASA's BIG Idea Challenge.

Hasan Receives NASA Space Flight Awareness Silver Snoopy Award

NASA recognizes Aerospace Engineering graduate student Syed Hasan for outstanding mission contributions.

UMD Among Largest Recipients of NSF Funding for Cybersecurity Research and Education

UMD research awards are part of the NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program

UMD Students Win 2015 RASC-AL Competition

Aerospace engineering students design winning concept for a Mars settlement and lunar refueling station.

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.

UMD Ties with Stanford, MIT for Most Researchers on 2015 DOD Multidisciplinary Research Grants

UMD Represented on 6 of 22 Teams Awarded University Research Initiative Grants by the Department of Defense

CEE, Landscape Architecture Researchers Awarded 1st Place in EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

Interdisciplinary team recognized for UMD Memorial Chapel site proposal.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships for Two ChBE Alumnae

Dorsey and Tesfaye win fellowships; alumnus receives Honorable Mention.

Five Aerospace Engineering Faculty Promoted to AIAA Associate Fellows

Akin, Bowden, Fourney, Humbert and Kothera promoted to American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellows

You Can Help Our Chem-E Car, Testudo Mobile, Get Competition-Ready!

Launch UMD helps team raise funds for upgrades, travel to national competition.

UMD Students Place Second in 2014 RASC-AL Competition

Aerospace engineering undergrad students place second overall in 2014 RASC-AL competition.

UMD Alumni Hatch Sub-$300 Consumer 3D Printer, Raise $3.3 Million on Kickstarter

Alumni-founded company races past $50,000 goal in 11 minutes, hits $1 million in 25 hours.

Elaine Gessow Passes at 88

Wife of former UMD Aerospace Engineering Chair and helicopter pioneer passes away peacefully.

Meet the Potential Future of Electricity Generation

Redox Power Systems, UMD develop breakthrough fuel cells to provide efficient, affordable electricity.

Clark School Students Study Solar Energy in China

Adomaitis teaches course at Peking University in 3-week exchange program.

Demeter Takes Second Place in 2013 Robo-Ops

Students guide planetary rover robot to second place in RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Competition.

Chem-E Car Team Heads to National Competition Once Again!

Team Thirsty Turtles will take "Pride of Maryland" to San Francisco in November.

Clark School Alumnus Assists with 24-Mile Jump from Space

Shane Jacobs helped design suit worn by Felix Baumgartner in speed of sound-breaking dive.

Clark School Students Shine in Recent Competitions

Teams earn first place in DOE Hydrogen Student Design Contest; third in NASA Robo-ops Competition.

Hoyer Honors UM Solar Decathlon Team

Praise for team entered into the Congressional Record.

Shapiro on Nanotech Team for Assembly of Colloidal Crystals

$1.2M National Science Foundation-sponsored research could lead to optical computing, invisibility cloaks.

Clark School a Finalist in NASA X-Hab Competition

Clark School students to build inflatable space habitat in NASA competition finals.

FAA Approves NEXTOR II Research Contract

Aviation operations collaboration is worth up to $60 million over length of contract.

Green Wins Entrepreneurship Education Competition

Student team risk assessment activity earns 3E prize for Hinman CEOs director.

UM, Army Sign CRADA Agreement

Agreement expands research, development and engineering efforts between the two entities.

Two Big Wins for Clark School Teams

Aerospace engineering students win American Helicopter Society, NASA design competitions.

TRX Wins Global Security Challenge

Clark School tech startup led by ECE's Gilmer Blankenship takes $500K prize.

Project TURTLE Wins NASA Competition

Terrapin Undergraduate Rover for Terrestrial Lunar Exploration awarded first place.

Inaugural Anderson Scholarship Awarded to Kirk

Madeline Kirk announced as first recipient of Anderson Scholarship in Aerospace Engineering.

Dandin Named 2008 Fischell Fellow

BioE grad student to develop fast, portable biosensor.

UM $50K Business Plan Competition Winners Announced

Three winners chosen among nine finalists.

Hillman Gift Supports New Entrepreneurship Education Program

Four-year program teams Clark School's MTECH Ventures, Prince George's Community College.

Fall 2003 Whiting-Turner Business and Entrepreneurial Lecture Series features Chief Rainmaker for OneRain, Inc.

Dr. David C. Curtis of OneRain, Inc. will be the first speaker for the Fall Series of the Whiting-Turner Lecture Series

Clark School Accomplishments Spring 2002

A list of Clark school accomplishments for Spring 2002

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

  • Associate Fellow