NASA Glenn Research Center Intelligent Control and Autonomy Branch
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The Intelligent Control and Autonomy Branch is committed to working cooperatively with its space and aeronautics customers to research, develop and demonstrate technologies for advanced control concepts and dynamic modeling that enhance performance, safety, environmental compatibility, reliability and durability of aerospace propulsion systems.

The controls technology areas include fault diagnostics, health management, active combustion control, active stall control, turbomachinery system stability management, intelligent engine control, inlet control, integrated flight/propulsion control, nonlinear and robust multivariable control synthesis techniques, and life extending control. The dynamic modeling work includes modeling of advanced turbomachinery concepts and components, and cross-disciplinary research between controls and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

What's New

New Software Packages Released for Thermal Systems Analysis and Tip Clearance Modeling

Two new software packages have been released open source. The first is the Thermal Systems Analysis Toolbox (TSAT), a graphical thermal system modeling and simulation package for MATLAB/Simulink that provides the tools and building blocks to enable the construction of dynamic models of various thermal systems. The second is the Tip Clearance Modeling Library (TCML), a graphical tip clearance modeling and simulation package comprising a set of parameterized Simulink blocks that enable a system level physics-based modeling approach to approximate the steady-state and dynamic variation of the tip clearance gap within turbomachinery. Both packages are free, open-source software available online at the NASA GIT repository. For more information and download links, refer to each software package's respective webpage:

TSAT: Thermal Systems Analysis Toolbox

TCML: Tip Clearance Modeling Library

Advanced Geared Turbofan 30,000 (AGTF30) Model Released

The AGTF30 software package has been released open source. The AGTF30 model represents a hypothetical 30,000 lbf thrust class geared turbofan engine that includes a variable area fan nozzle, a gearbox connecting the low pressure shaft to the fan shaft, and a relatively small engine core. It is representative of the types of ultra-high bypass ratio engine concepts developed under NASA sponsored N+3 studies with Engine In Service date of 2035. AGTF30 was developed using the GRC-developed Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems, which is based on MATLAB/Simulink. The AGTF30 is a full envelope simulation that may be run steady-state or dynamically, using a set of input files. It has the capability to generate linear models in the form of state-space equations, which allows researchers to design, implement, and test control algorithms and concepts directly in the MATLAB/Simulink environment. Development of the AGTF30 was performed within LCC, the Intelligent Control and Autonomy Branch. Funding for the various stages of this project was provided by the Advanced Air Transport Technology Project under the Advanced Air Vehicles Program, and the Transformational Tools and Technologies Project under the Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program. The AGTF30 is free, open-source software available online at the NASA GIT repository:

Branch Members Receive NASA Agency Honor Awards

At the NASA Agency Honor Awards Ceremony held at Glenn Research Center on Aug. 23, the following members of the Branch were recognized for their contributions:
  • Jeff Chapman - Silver Achievement Medal: For development of innovative modeling tools and techniques for thermodynamic systems that provide powerful, accessible capabilities to aero-propulsion research community.
  • Joe Connolly - Glenn Diversity Leadership Award: For development of relationships with Tribal Colleges and organizations that support Native American students, student recruitment at GRC and the Agency, and advocacy of student mentoring.
  • Kevin Melcher - Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal: For exceptional engineering of systems health management capabilities for NASA Human Exploration and Operations programs

6th NASA GRC Propulsion Controls and Diagnostics (PCD) Workshop

The Intelligent Control and Autonomy Branch held the 6th GRC PCD Workshop on August 22 - 24, 2017, at the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, OH. The workshop provided an opportunity to: disseminate information about the propulsion control and diagnostics research being done at NASA GRC in support of the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Programs; get feedback on the value of the research and validity of the technical approach; identify potential collaboration opportunities; and share tools and methods. There were 28 registered attendees with a significant participation from the industry. We appreciate the strong support expressed by the attendees for our research effort, and the perceived value in the tools, methods, and software that we share with the research community. Information and presentations from the workshop may be found at:

6th NASA GRC PCD Workshop Archive

Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (T-MATS) Users' Workshop

NASA Glenn Research Center hosted a Users' workshop on the Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (T-MATS) on August 21, 2017. The workshop updated the user community on the latest features of T-MATS, and provided a forum to present work done using T-MATS. Presentations highlighted creative applications, the development of new features and libraries, the flexibility and simulation power of T-MATS. Information and presentations from the workshop may be found at:

T-MATS Users' Workshop Archive

Tutorial: Advanced Control of Turbomachinery Based Aero-Propulsion Systems

Dr. Sanjay Garg gave a two hour invited tutorial presentation on "Advanced Control of Turbomachinery Based Aero-Propulsion Systems," at the 2017 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbo Expo held in Charlotte, NC, June 26-30. This tutorial provided an overview of: the current approach to control of turbomachinery based aero-propulsion systems; shortcomings and limitations of current approach; some incremental advances to address some of the limitations: and advanced aero-propulsion system level and component level technologies being developed under NASA sponsored research. The tutorial presenation (PDF format) may be found at:

Advanced Control of Turbomachinery Based Aero-Propulsion Systems

Archive of Previous Branch News

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NASA Glenn Research Center

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last updated: 10.07.19