Department of Aerospace Vehicles Design and Control - DCAS

The ISAE-SUPAERO Department of Aerospace Vehicles Design and Control (DCAS) develops methods, simulation tools and experimental platforms for the design and control of aerospace vehicles.

The DCAS includes 35 permanent staff members (faculty, researchers, and engineers, technical and administrative staff) and around 45 non-permanent members including engineers on a contract basis, doctoral and post-doctoral students.

The research activities are supported through 6 industrial chairs:
- Airbus chair for aircraft ecodesign
- Daher chair for light aircraft design and maintenance
- Airbus DS/Ariane Group chair for advanced space concepts
- AXA chair for neuroergonomics
- Dassault chair for air systems architecture
- ANITI chair on Hybrid ArtificiaI Intelligence for studying artificial agent-human interaction

The DCAS manages a fleet of nine aircraft (1 Socata TB-20, 3 Robin DR- 400, 4 Aquila, 1 twin- engine Vulcan Air P68 Observer) at the Lasbordes Operational Center and develops numerous simulators and software for the training and research needs of the department.

DCAS is developing training and research activities to meet the scientific challenges on tomorrow’s air transportand future space systems. The department integrates environmental and social-economic dimensions into its studies such as reducing environmental impacts (consumption, noise, emissions), optimizing the design cycle and operating costs, increasing the safety of aerospace systems and improving the efficiency of human-machine systems.

Educational missions

The DCAS offers courses in the following areas :

  • Flight mechanics, Aircraft design, Drones
  • Orbital mechanics, Space
  • Operation, maintenance and certification
  • Control, decision, navigation and mission planning
  • Human factors, Neuroergonomics

These courses are delivered within the scope of the ISAE-SUPAERO engineer program and within Masters and Advanced Masters programs. They provide scientific and conceptual skills through coursework. Technical skills are taught through the use of a flight simulator and aeronautics and space simulation software packages developed within the Department.

Research groups

DCAS is involved in national or European research projects and collaborates with a large number of industrial partners (large groups, SMEs, start-ups).

DCAS researchers work in 4 research groups:

  • Aircraft design;
  • Space systems design;
  • Decision and Control;
  • Neuro-ergonomics and human factors.

The 4 research groups collaborate in 3 multidisciplinary areas:

  • Safer navigation and control of aerospace sysrtems;
  • Integrated multi-disciplinary aircraft design;
  • Advanced space concepts.

Scientific topics

Designing and operating safer aircraft

The goal of this topic are to carry out research for identifying and controlling critical flight conditions :

  • Aircraft/drone : critical flights (ex: leaving the flight envelope, incoherence of parameters/complex failures, sub-system failures),
  • Air-crew/operator: inadequate cognitive states (ex: attentional tunneling, perseverance, fatigue, distraction),
  • Guaranteeing control performances independent of uncertainties and parametric variations,
  • Defining intelligent supervision control processes to optimize flight safety under operational constraints,
  • Developing an adaptive, failure-tolerant robust decision and control systems.

The DCAS resources include flight and space simulators, flying platforms (TB-20, P68), various neuro- and psycho-physiological measurement devices (fNIRS, EEG, ECG, eye tracking), motion platform, virtual reality simulator. These facilities allow the DCAS researchers to innovate in the fields of human factors (with the development of adaptive cockpits) and automated decisional systems implementing fail-safe laws, and auto-reconfigurable driving systems with respect to sub-system failures.


Integrated multi-disciplinary design of aircraft

Through different areas such as flight mechanics, aircraft design (multi-physical and multi-domain modelling) and control, the goal of this topic is to define optimal integrated design methods and algorithms, to develop aerodynamic, structural, propulsive and environmental models, etc. and to study strong and weak coupling between models.

The resources under development such as the Multidisciplinary Design Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) platform developed within the framework of OpenMDAO and the flight demonstrator are driving innovation : design of high aspect ratio aircraft, design of sub-systems (electrical deicing systems, demonstrators).

Aile volante 2

Advanced space concepts

This research topic focuses on various challenges within the framework of future concepts (within 15 years) including space debris management, autonomous navigation-based missions towards asteroids, in-orbit servicing for telecommunication satellites, space traffic management, and architecture of inhabited space stations on the surface of the Moon or Mars , among others.

Through system engineering and control , using space system design software packages which integrate already existing tools at the DCAS, this topic addresses the adaptation and/or development of design methods with a specific focus on interface management, architecture of large structures for inhabited exploration missions, formalization of trajectories and attitude control from launch phase to rendez vous phase on LEO, GEO, and LP orbits.



DCAS is developing CAST (Climate and Aviation - Sustainable Trajectories), an innovative web application, which allows everyone to assess the impact that air transport will have on the climate until 2050, depending on variables such as the volume of traffic , the fuel consumption per passenger-kilometer, or the decarbonisation of the fuel used. In addition to CO2 emissions, it also takes into account other effects of air transport that influence the climate, such as contrails or water and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Examples of ongoing studies

  • Control of STOL and VTOL
  • Guidance and navigation strategy for drones in an urban environment
  • Regional aircraft with hydrogen-based hybrid propulsion
  • Aviation carbon trajectories
  • Design and optimization of high aspect ratio wings
  • Low consumption electromechanical defrost systems
  • Space debris mitigation
  • Real-time monitoring of human performance

More informations about the department’s activities

Emmanuel Bénard Aircraft Design
Scott Delbecq Aircraft Design
Joel Jezegou Aircraft Design
Philippe Pastor Aircraft Design
Eric Poquillon Aircraft Design
Thibault Gateau Space Systems Design
Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez Space Systems Design
Annafederica Urbano Space Systems Design
Daniel Alazard Decision and control
Caroline Berard Decision and control
Joel Bordeneuve Decision and control
Yves Briere Decision and control
Caroline Chanel Decision and control
Nicolas Drougard Decision and control
Leandro Ribeiro Lustosa Space Systems Design
Valerie Pommier-Budinger Decision and control
Francesco Sanfedino Decision and control
Mickaël Causse Neuro-ergonomics and human factors
Frédéric Dehais Neuro-ergonomics and human factors
Vsevolod Peysakhovich Neuro-ergonomics and human factors
Raphaëlle Roy Neuro-ergonomics and human factors
Sébastien Scannella Neuro-ergonomics and human factors

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