The Michigan Engineer News Center

Phillip Hargrove: Diving into satellite design

Graduate student Phillip Hargrove is simplifying the complex calculations needed for satellite mission design.| Short Read
IMAGE:  Portrait of Phillip Hargrove. Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Status: Master’s student

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Departments: Aerospace Engineering, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering

Phillip Hargrove, master’s student in aerospace engineering and climate and space sciences and engineering at Michigan, is simplifying the complex calculations needed for satellite mission design in his systems engineering research project.

Phillip is a Stanford University alum with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics, and came to Michigan because he knew he wanted to explore his field of study in much more depth before he would work full-time. He had also been tackling the question of whether to pursue a career in academia or in industry during his undergraduate studies.

At Michigan, his research team is creating a spreadsheet system, based on a mission concept analysis method used at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that expedites mission design calculations for CubeSats, or miniaturized satellites used in space research. He sets up the orbital simulations that determine fuel consumption as well as time needed for specific orbital maneuvers.

Phillip served as president of the Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists- Graduate Component for the 2015-2016 academic year. He had previously been involved in the National Society of Black Engineers during high school and undergraduate school, and has continued to lead initiatives for underrepresented students in the College of Engineering as a master’s student. He sings in the Michigan Gospel Chorale, and plays piano in his spare time.

Now with more experience under his belt, Phillip plans to pursue a PhD in astrophysics and orbital mechanics. After he receives his PhD, he aims to work as a trajectory planner and mission designer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Portrait of Kim Johnson


Kimberly Johnson
Communications Manager

Aerospace Engineering

(734) 647-4701

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read