Dr. Steven Tragesser

Dr. Steven Tragesser

Dr. Steven Tragesser

Associate Professor • Spacecraft dynamics and control, biomechanics

Biographical Sketch

Professor Tragesser received his B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1992 and his doctorate from Purdue University in 1997. Prior to joining the University of Colorado he was a professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, and also served on the technical staff at Draper Laboratory working on re-entry vehicle guidance. His expertise is in spaceflight mechanics, and current areas of research interests include satellite formations, tethered satellite formations, satellite proximity operation, and orbital maneuvering with electrodynamic tethers.


The main thrust of Prof. Tragesser's research is in tethered spacecraft. Although the first tethered spacecraft was flown in 1992, the area is still very much in its inception. He has published papers on several attractive concepts that would allow for greatly increased performance in space platforms: a) electrodynamic tethers, b) tethered satellite formations, c) tether orbit determination, d) tether slings for cislunar and interplanetary transportion, and e) aerobraking with tethers.

Prof. Tragesser is also engaged in research on the modeling and optimization of human walking and running. The research aims to enhance performance of elite athletes and improve mechanical engineering design of devices such as prosthetics.

Please see his personal web page, from the link above, for more information

Recent Publications

  • Sabey, N. and Tragesser, S.,  “Linear analysis and control of a tethered system with two rigid end bodies”, Acta Astronautica, Vol. 157, April 2019, pp. 517-527.
  • McNair, L. and Tragesser, S., �Characterization of Self-Excited, Nearly Axisymmetric, Spinning Rigid-Body Motion as an Oblate Epicycloid,� Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 64, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-17.
  • Tragesser, S. and Baars, L., "Dynamics and Control of A Tether Sling Stationed on a Rotating Body," Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2014, pp. 176-184.
  • Slane, J. and Tragesser, S.G., "Analysis of Periodic Nonautonomous Inhomogeneous Systems," Nonlinear Dynamics and Systems Theory, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2011, pp. 183-198.
  • Tragesser, S.B. and Gorjidooz, B. "Open-Loop Spinup and Deployment Control of a Tether Sling", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, V. 47, No. 2, 2010, pp. 345 - 352.
  • Tragesser, S., "Static Formations Using Momentum Exchange Between Satellites," Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, Vol. 32, No. 4, 2009, pp. 1277 - 1286.