Maj Costantinos Zagaris, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering

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Major Costantinos Zagaris is an Assistant Professor of Astronautical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). Major Zagaris entered the Air Force in 2007, through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Virginia Tech. He began his active duty career at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), CA where he led weapons integration flight tests for the B-2 bomber. He was then selected to attend graduate school at AFIT, where he graduated as a distinguished graduate with a Master’s in Astronautical Engineering. His follow-on assignment was at the Space and Missiles Systems Center, Space Development and Test Directorate, Kirtland AFB, NM, where he served as the mission manager for the acquisition and launch of ground-based target vehicles for testing of missile defense systems. He then served as the Deputy Program Manager for Guidance, Navigation, and Control, Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland AFB, NM, where he directed research in spacecraft autonomy, control, and navigation. Prior to his current assignment, Major Zagaris was at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, where he earned his PhD in Astronautical Engineering. His research interests include autonomous spacecraft guidance, spacecraft relative motion dynamics, optimal control, and reachability.

Education: B.S. Aerospace Engineering, Virginia Tech (2007); M.S. Astronautical Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology (2012); Ph.D. Astronautical Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School (2018)


 Journal Articles

J. Virgili-Llop, C. Zagaris, R. Zappulla II, A. Bradstreet, M. Romano, “A convex-programming-based guidance algorithm to capture a tumbling object on orbit using a spacecraft  equipped with a robotic manipulator,” International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp 40-72, Dec 2018.

C. Zagaris, H. Park, J. Virgili-Llop, R. Zappulla II, M. Romano, and I. Kolmanovsky, “Model Predictive Control of Spacecraft Relative Motion with Convexified Keep-Out-Zone Constraints”, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, in advance, Jun. 2018.

C. Zagaris and M. Romano, “Reachability Analysis of Planar Spacecraft Docking with Rotating Body in Close Proximity”, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 41, No. 6, pp. 1416-1422, Jan. 2018.

R. Zappulla II, J. Virgili-Llop, C. Zagaris, H. Park, and M. Romano,  "Dynamic Air-Bearing Hardware-in-the-Loop Testbed to Experimentally Evaluate Autonomous Spacecraft Proximity Maneuvers", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 825-839, Apr. 2017.

J. Virgili-Llop, C. Zagaris, H. Park, R. Zappulla II and M. Romano, “Experimental evaluation of model predictive control and inverse dynamics control for spacecraft proximity and docking maneuvers,” CEAS Space Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 37–49, May 2017.

T. Co, C. Zagaris, and J. Black,  "Responsive Satellites Through Ground Track Manipulation Using Existing Technology", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 206-216, Mar. 2012.

Conference Papers

C. Zagaris, M. Romano, “Applied Reachability Analysis for Spacecraft Rendezvous with a Tumbling Object,” AAS-19-699, Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Portland, ME, 11-15 Aug 2019.

C. Zagaris and M. Romano, “Applied Reachability Analysis for Spacecraft Rendezvous and Docking with a Tumbling Object”, presented at AIAA SciTech, Jan. 2018.

C. Zagaris and M. Romano, “Analysis of spacecraft planar docking with rotating body in close proximity”, presented at AAS Spaceflight Mechanics Meeting, San Antonio TX, Feb. 2017.

H. Park, C. Zagaris, J. Virgili-Llop, R. Zappulla, and M. Romano, “Analysis and Experimentation of Model Predictive Control for Spacecraft Rendezvous and Proximity Operations with Multiple Obstacle Avoidance”, Presented at AIAA SPACE Forum, Long Beach CA, Sep. 2016.

C. Zagaris, M. Baldwin, C. Jewison, C. Petersen, “Survey of spacecraft rendezvous and proximity guidance algorithms for on-board implementation”, presented at AAS Spaceflight Mechanics Meeting, Williamsburg VA, Jan. 2015.



Zagaris, C., TRAJECTORY CONTROL AND OPTIMIZATION FOR RESPONSIVE SPACECRAFT, Master’s Thesis, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, March 2012.

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