Engineering – Division 7

Photo of a researcher using an additive manufacturing systemThe Engineering Division, working in partnership with all the other MIT Lincoln Laboratory divisions, designs and builds advanced technology systems of national importance. Projects include space and aircraft payloads and ground-based systems. The division's expertise includes mechanical, fabrication, aero, thermal, optical, and control systems engineering. The division's groups work in cross-divisional teams supporting a wide range of projects. Special emphasis is placed on the integration of design and analysis capabilities to support the rapid prototyping of hardware systems.


Group 71—Mechanical Engineering
The Mechanical Engineering Group focuses on developing innovative mechanical design solutions for ground, airborne, and spaceborne applications. Areas of mechanical design expertise include large structures, composite structures, highly efficient lightweight structures, mechanisms, optomechanical systems, electro-optic systems, electronics packaging, and cabling. Engineers from the group are critical to all aspects of program execution beginning with conceptual design, continuing through detail design, system integration and test, and concluding with environmentaland performance testing. The group is the Engineering Division's center for 3D computer-aided design and configuration management. Example projects include airborne and space-based laser communications systems, biological agent detectors and identifiers, and large radar antenna systems.

Group 72—Fabrication Engineering
The Fabrication Engineering Group provides fabrication engineering and materials management for both mechanical and electronic projects using state-of-the-art technology. The group is involved from the initial design and material sourcing through manufacturing, assembly, integration, and test, and works with program teams to influence schedule and budget. The group continually investigates innovative fabrication technologies to assess their utility for Laboratory efforts. Facilities include a machine shop with a wide range of computer-aided machine tools, plus sheet metal, polymer, and mechanical inspection facilities. Recent equipment investments in 5-axis milling, 3D printing, and diamond turning are now on line. In the electronics area, capabilities include circuit-board design, assembly, inspection, and failure analysis. The group also supports the Laboratory's environmental test requirements with vibration shakers, thermal chambers, vacuum chambers, and clean rooms.

Group 73—Energy Systems
The Energy Systems Group works with sponsors within the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy to develop transformative energy system architectures, test beds, and innovative prototypes to provide advanced solutions to the nation's energy needs and to improve the security and resilience of the Department of Defense and the nation.

Group 74—Structural and Thermal-Fluids Engineering
The Structural and Thermal-Fluids Engineering Group provides structural, thermal, fluids, aerodynamic, and material engineering solutions for ground, air, and space-borne prototype systems. The group has expertise in numerical modeling tools, including finite element analyses and computational fluid dynamics; environmental and materials characterization testing; and the development of multidisciplinary modeling tools to optimize size, weight, and performance in the presence of inertial, pressure, thermal, vibration, shock, and aerodynamic environments. Examples of the group's work include designing optical structures and mounts to meet wavefront and pointing stability requirements; providing thermal management solutions such as heat exchangers for high-flux laser and RF applications; designing aerodynamic, efficient structures for stability control and high-altitude long endurance; and developing new materials for reduced weight, high stiffness, and thermal stability. In addition, the group directs the Environmental Test Laboratory for the division.

Group 75—Systems Engineering
The Systems Engineering Group leads payload development for a variety of spaceborne, airborne, and terrestrial systems. Systems engineering expertise includes systems "thinking" and systems management for complete payloads. Systems thinking involves the consideration of uncertainty, risk, complexity, interrelationships, trade studies, requirements definition, and field testing. Management elements include requirements capture, integration and test, verification and validation, interface control, and mission assurance. The group's emphasis is on balancing flexibility to maximize payload performance with rigor to ensure quality and robustness throughout the program lifecycle. 

Group 76—Control and Autonomous Systems Engineering
The Control and Autonomous Systems Engineering Group is focused on the synthesis of dynamic and complex control and autonomous systems, from concept to realization, for a wide variety of prototypes. Prototype applications span various mission areas, such as space control; air, missile and maritime defense; communication and tactical systems; homeland protection; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The group has expertise in dynamic stabilization and platform control; advanced autonomy; pointing, acquisition, and tracking; guidance; navigation and estimation; robotics;mapping; intra- and inter-system planning (e.g., swarming); demanding real-time embedded software and firmware control; image processing; machine learning; human-machine interaction; space-qualified electronics; and analog and power electronics. Applied research and development projects include space optical payloads, small satellites, airborne laser radars and imaging systems, and autonomous air, ground, and maritime systems. Staff members have advanced degrees in electrical, mechanical, aerospace, and computer engineering. The group also collaborates closely with academia and publishes its research in top-tier venues.

Group 77—Rapid Prototyping
The Rapid Prototyping Group focuses on partnering with groups across the Laboratory to execute rapid prototyping efforts. The group works on diverse programs, delivering new advanced technology capabilities in timelines typically under a year. This group leads and coordinates various activities: mechanical system design and fabrication, electronics system design and fabrication, system engineering, integration into aircraft and other platforms, and laboratory and field testing. Projects are conducted in a team environment, utilizing resources from both the Engineering Division and mission area groups to successfully execute fast-paced development and demonstration efforts.

Group 78—Optical Engineering
The Optical Engineering Group's work includes optical system design, analysis, and tolerancing; stray light analysis; optomechanical design, integration, alignment, and test for reflective and refractive optical subsystems spanning the ultraviolet through longwave-infrared spectra. Previous optical engineering programs have involved work on airborne and space-borne telescopes, laser communication systems, and biological and chemical sensors, as well as commercial off-the-shelf subsystems used to support efforts in the Rapid Prototyping Group.


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