Cesar Santoyo

Mentor: Dr. Riccardo Bevilacqua
College of Engineering
"My desire to be involved in research was born out of interest to dwell deeper into the topics we may skim or briefly cover in our courses. Research, for me, connects some of the textbook material to real world applications that can potentially change the way we look at specific systems."


Aerospace Engineering



Research Interests

  • Control of Dynamic Systems
  • Autonomous systems
  • Deep Space Exploration

Academic Awards

  • United States Research Grant - Texas A&M University
  • Dean's List
  • University Scholars Program


  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • Engineering Ambassadors (EA)


  • Community Outreach through AIAA

Hobbies and Interests

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Reading
  • Small hobby projects using Arduino

Research Description

Experimental Determination of a Drag Sail’s Angular Momentum
This project will aim to look at the change in angular momentum caused by the deployment and retraction of an origami-based, differential drag sail mounted on a small spacecraft – similar to the one shown at the bottom of this page in Figure 1. Differential drag sails are an emerging, propellant-free method for controlling a spacecraft’s attitude and relative orbit. This problem will be addressed by looking at the fundamental principles of conservation of angular momentum. An approach that can be used for acquiring this data requires mounting the drag sail onto a robot that uses air bearings for motion on a frictionless surface. The air bearings are a virtually frictionless means of moving the robot - similar to conditions found in space. Aside from the air bearings, friction will be reduced by placing the robot in a designated low-friction area. This low friction area will be surrounded by a motion tracking PhaseSpace Motion Capture System that tracks LEDs. The drag sail mechanism will be mounted onto a robot that has several LEDs mounted to its base. This LED tracking system determines the position of the LEDs, which will be used later to quantify the angular motion of the robot.