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Andrew Ketsdever, Ph.D. - Dean, College of Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona

Andrew Ketsdever has extensive experience in aerospace engineering and design, project management and higher education leadership and teaching.


Early in his career, he was a technical staff member at the Propulsion Directorate of the U.S Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, where he pioneered development of micro spacecraft propulsion systems, co-edited the authoritative volume on the subject in 2000 and holds patents in this area. He was the founding program manager for Advanced Propulsion and Power Concepts and group leader for Nonequilibrium Flows.


During a 20-year career as a civilian with the U.S. Air Force, he was appointed as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the astronautics department at the U.S Air Force Academy.  He was also program manager for FalconSat IV, a small satellite developed to be launched into low-Earth orbit.


At the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Ketsdever served as the director of the Center for Laser, Energy and Exploration Research (CLEER) and professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. In 2018, he joined Oregon State University, Cascades in 2018, as associate dean of academic affairs and prior to joining Cal Poly Pomona in 2023, was serving as interim vice president at the OSU campus.


Ketsdever is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and is an associate fellow with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Air Force Research Laboratory, Propulsion Directorate, Exploration Technology: Research in basic and advanced concepts, $1.425M (2011-2017)
  • US Air Force Academy, Department of Aeronautics, Research in Support of the USAFA HPCRC and ARC, $793,125 (2015-2020)
  • Quantum Research International and US Army, D3I Domain 3 Solicitation, support of tasks up to $1,000,000 (2016-2019)
  • Millennium Engineering (flow down from AMRDEC, U.S. Army), Systems and System of Systems Model Development, $94,409 (2014)
  • Air Force Research Laboratory, Propulsion Directorate, Advanced Kinetic Based Modeling Applied to Plasma and Neutral Flows, $288,463 (2012-2014)
  • Biofrontiers, Mimicking Biology to Explore Extreme Environments, $25,000 (2013)

Selected Publications:

  • With C. Maldonado, R. Balthazor, P. Neal, G. Wilson, M. McHarg, R. Osiander, and R. Adams, “Automated Plume Sentry Observations During International Space Station Thermal Control System Venting,” J. Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 339-350, 2023
  • With C. Maldonado and J. Williams, “A Magnetically Filtered Atomic Oxygen Plasma Source for Low-Earth-Orbit Simulation,” J. Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp. 1406–1415, 2021
  • With C. Maldonado, M. McHarg, A. Dunsmore, O. Asmolova, G. Anderson, and S. Rodrigues, “Material Erosion Measurements and Expected Operational Lifetime of a Deployable Photon Sieve Payload,” Adv. In Space Res., Vol. 65, 29022911, 2020
  • With C. Spells and A. Craig, “Development of a Transient Thrust Stand with Sub-Millisecond Resolution,” Rev. Sci. Instrum., Vol. 90, 095105, 2019
  • With R. Bosworth, A. Ventura, and S. Gimelshein, “Measurement of Negative Thermophoretic Force,” J. Fluid Mech., Vol. 805, pp. 207-221, 2016
  • With J. Graul, B. Cornella, T. Lilly, and M. Shneider, “Experimentally Observed Field-Gas Interaction in Intense Optical Lattices,” Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol. 103, No. 24, 244106, 2013
  • With B. Cornella, S. Gimelshein, T. Lilly, and A. Ketsdever, “Neutral Gas Heating Via Non-Resonant Optical Lattices,” Appl. Phys. Lett., Vol. 103, No. 19, 194103, 2013
  • With A. Ventura, N. Gimelshein, and S. Gimelshein, “Effect of Vane Thickness on the Radiometric Force,” J. Fluid Mech., Vol. 735, pp. 684-704, 2013
  • With J. Graul, G. Andersen, and T. Lilly, “External Multipass Optical Trap for Counterpropagating Pulsed Laser Applications,” Rev. Sci. Instrum., Vol. 84, 076102, 2013
  • With B. Cornella, S. Gimelshein and T. Lilly, “Narrowband Coherent Rayleigh-Brillouin Scattering from Gases Confined by a High Intensity Optical Lattice,” Physical Review A, Vol. 87, 033825, 2013


B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California



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