News Release| CSULA; Cal State L.A.; Los Angeles; CSU; NASA; SPACE Center

Space exploration, aeronautic research soaring to new heights at Cal State L.A.

 Five-year $5 million grant from NASA for CSULA’s SPACE Center

Los Angeles, CA – Recognized for increasing the number of degrees awarded to students who are underrepresented in the space science and aerospace technology fields, Cal State L.A. has been awarded a $5 million, five-year grant by the Office of Education at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

The continuation grant will further the research and educational activities at Cal State L.A.’s University Research Center (URC), officially named as the “Structures, Propulsion, Aerospace and Control Engineering (SPACE) Center.”

Cal State L.A.—with the only NASA URC in California—is among only seven universities internationally selected to receive the NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Program awards this year.

Housed in Cal State L.A.’s College of Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Technology, the SPACE Center comprises the Structures, Pointing and Control Engineering Lab (SPACE Lab) and the Multidisciplinary Flight Dynamics and Control Lab (MFDC Lab).

Since 2003, it has provided more than 500 undergraduates and graduates—from Cal State L.A. and other colleges, including Ph.D.-granting institutions—the opportunity to conduct multidisciplinary research in the following areas:

  • Intelligent flight control and autonomous control
  • Uninhabited air vehicles (UAV) development
  • Wind-tunnel testing and validations
  • Optimization of combustion and propulsion systems
  • Thermal analysis of space systems
  • Space telescope technology, precision pointing, system identification 
  • Decentralized control and reconfigurable control
  • Embedded architectures


Broadening students’ experience, Cal State L.A.’s SPACE Center has collaborated with the Dryden Flight Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.

According to the SPACE Center’s director and principal investigator Helen Boussalis, professor of electrical and computer engineering, “The Center offers students intensive training and exposure to NASA-related research that a lot of undergraduate and graduate students at other campuses would never have an opportunity to be involved with. Most of our students have been hired by Northrop Grumman or Boeing upon graduation or have continued on to pursue advanced degrees.”

Boussalis adds, “This also provides our faculty a unique opportunity to develop new cross-disciplinary courses and compete in the research arena. Our faculty members are able to receive more grants due to their demonstrated capability of conducting quality research on this campus.”

The center’s multidisciplinary team of investigators includes CSULA faculty Darrell Guillaume, Charles Liu, Trinh Pham and Chivey Wu.

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Here are links highlighting the success of Cal State L.A.’s SPACE Center:

List of student awards, honors, internships and scholarships received:


List of student-coauthored articles published in professional journals and major publications:


Cal State L.A. team is the first university crew west of the Mississippi—and the second overall—to achieve successful flight powered by fuel cells:


For more about the SPACE Center, its laboratories, and the NASA research grant, go to:

SPACE Center (University Research Center):


Structures, Pointing and Control Engineering (SPACE) Lab:


Multidisciplinary Flight Dynamics and Control (MFDC) Laboratory:


NASA Award Research Grants announcement:


Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 205,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.