Michael Lembeck

Michael Lembeck
Michael Lembeck
Associate Professor of Practice
(217) 300-8009
206C Talbot Laboratory
Clinical Associate Professor
(217) 300-8009
206C Talbot Laboratory

For More Information


Michael F. Lembeck (B.S. '80, M.S. '81, Ph.D., '91 UIUC) is a Clinical Associate Professor in Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Lembeck has led or worked on multiple government and commercial spaceflight programs, including JPL's Galileo Jupiter Orbiter, Space Industries, Inc.'s Wake Shield Facility, Orbital Sciences' OrbView/Warfighter commercial remote sensing programs, and the Northrop/Boeing CEV and Boeing commercial crew programs.

As the Requirements Division Director for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Dr. Lembeck participated in the formulation of President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration and managed the original development of requirements for the Constellation/Orion program. Dr. Lembeck is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and the Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Space Systems at Illinois (LASSI).

Student Organizations

  • Illinois Space Society NASA Micro-G Next Program Advisor

Design Teams

  • NASA RASC-AL Project Team Co-advisor

Research Interests

  • Applications of machine learning to space exploration systems problems
  • Low cost, high performance CubeSat systems development

Research Areas

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Velinsky, S.A. and Lembeck, M.F. "Design of Wire Rope Based Mechanical Systems in an Expert System Environment." Engineering with Computers, 6, 1990.
  • Butler, P.B., Lembeck, M.F., and Krier, H.K. "Modelling of Shock Development and Transition to Detonation Initiated by Burning in Porous Propellant Beds." Combustion and Flame, Vol 46-1, April 1982.

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Dimon, W., Van Stralen, N., Nigam, R., Chase, N., Tran, H., Lembeck, M., "D-AnoGAN: Anomaly Detection in Disconnected Data Manifolds with Generative Adversarial Networks," IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence, Padua, Italy, July 18-23, 2022.
  • Chow,N., Pulley, L., Lembeck, M.,"Lessons learned from development of web-based mission operations software," 35h AIAA Small Satellite Conference, August 7-12, 2021.
  • Sella, V., Majumder, A., Rao, A., Larkey, A., Rasmont, M., Lembeck, M., "N2O/Paraffin Hybrid Rocket Engine: A Comparison of N2 and O2 as Pressurants," AIAA Propulsion and Energy, Aug. 24-26, 2020.
  • Sella, V., Majumder, A., Larkey, A., Rao, A., Moore, A., Rasmont, M., Lembeck, M., "Development of a Nytrox-Paraffin Hybrid Rocket Engine," AIAA Propulsion and Energy, Aug. 24-26, 2020.
  • Zhao, H., Lembeck, M., "Development of a Low-Cost Multi-Camera Star Tracker for Small Satellites," 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference, Aug 1-6, 2020.
  • Akiki, M., Lembeck, M., "CLASS: A Modular Closed-Loop Test System for CubeSat Development and Testing," 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference, Aug 1-6, 2020.
  • Carroll, K., Essmyer, Z., Gable, D., Henricks, N., Herman, J., Hunt, H., Makadia, R., Murdoch, S., Patel, K., Petrov, G., Robbins, D., Taylor, E., Lembeck, M. "Micrometeoroid Impact Detection and Suppression for ISS EVAs" IAC-2019, Washington, D.C., Oct 23, 2019.
  • Reiley, K., Burghardt, M., Wood, M., Ingham, J., and Lembeck, M.F. “Preliminary Design of the Boeing Commercial Crew Transportation System.” AIAA Space 2012, Pasadena, CA., Sept 11-Sep 13, 2012.
  • Reiley, K., Burghardt, M., Wood, M., Ingham, J., and Lembeck, M.F. “Design Considerations for a Commercial Crew Transportation System.” AIAA Space 2011, Long Beach, CA., Sept 27-Sep 29, 2011.
  • Reiley, K., Burghardt, M., Ingham, J., and Lembeck, M.F. “CST-100 Commercial Space Transportation System.” AIAA Space 2010, Anaheim, CA., Aug 30-Sep 2, 2010.
  • Haughey, B. and Lembeck, M.F. ”Defining Affordable Remote Sensing Systems.” IAF Specialists Symposium on Novel Concepts for Smaller, Faster, & Better Space Missions, Redondo Beach, CA, April 19-21, 1999.
  • Lembeck, M.F. "Fuzzy Logic Control of the Commercial Refrigeration/Incubation Module (CRIM)." AIAA Computers in Aerospace IX, AIAA#93-4613, San Diego, CA, October 19-21,1993.
  • Cesarone, J. and Lembeck, M.F. "ISTARS: Knowledge Driven Crop Growth Analysis and Management." Sixth IASTED International Conference on Expert Systems Theory and Applications, Long Beach, CA, December 14-16, 1989.
  • Sivier, K.R. and Lembeck, M.F. "Marsplane Design Studies.” National Space Society 8th Annual Space Development Conference, Chicago, IL, May 26-29, 1989.
  • Groundwater, E.H., Lembeck, M.F., and Sarsfield, L. "Development of An Expert Planning System for the Office of Space Science and Applications." 4’Th Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Space Applications, Huntsville, AL, November 15, 1988.
  • Sivier, K.R. and Lembeck, M.F. "The Marsplane Revisited.” AIAA/AHS/ASEE Aircraft Design Systems, and Operations Meeting, AIAA #88-4412, Atlanta, GA., September 7-9, 1988.
  • Lembeck, M.F., Wellnitz, L.J., and Santos Jr., J.V. "Prototype Development of an Expert Spacecraft Design System." 1987 ASME Winter Annual Meeting, Vehicle Design Symposium, ASME Special Pub. #DE-Vol 11, Boston, MA, December 1987.
  • Lembeck, M.F. and Velinsky, S.A. "A Prototype Expert System for Wire Rope Based Mechanical Systems." Proc. 7’Th World Congress on the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Madrid, Spain, September 1987.
  • Lembeck, M.F., Dwyer, T.A.W, and Velinsky, S.A. "A Prototype Expert System for Intelligent Pointing and Tracking Control." Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Intelligent Control, Philadelphia, PA, January 18-20, 1987.
  • Lembeck, M.F. and Pignatano, N.D. "Galileo Attitude and Articulation Control Closed Loop Test System." AIAA Computers in Aerospace IV, AIAA#83- 2380, Hartford, CN, October 1983.
  • Krier, H., Butler, P.B., Lembeck, M.F. “Fluid Dynamics of the Unsteady Two Phase Processes Leading to DDT in Granular Solid Propellants.” The 1980 JANNAF Propulsion Systems Hazards Subcomm. Meeting, Vol 1, Washington, D.C., December 1, 1980.



Magazine Articles

  • Lembeck, M.F. “Congress Paving Way For Houston’s Demise as Space Center.” Houston Chronicle, May 21, 2014.
  • Lembeck, M.F.. ”Confusing Times.” Space News, May 14, 2012.
  • Lembeck, M.F. “Human Spaceflight Myth-busting.” Space News, September 7, 2009.
  • Lembeck, M.F. “Why Space Exploration is Important to the United States.” adAstra OnLine, The Magazine of the National Space Society, June 15, 2006.


  • Velinsky, S.A. and Lembeck, M.F. "Progress Towards an Expert System Environment for Design." Final Report for National Science Foundation Grant #DMC-8504457, October 1986.
  • Lembeck, M.F. and Rasmussen, R.D. "Simulator Tests Controller Performance." NASA Tech Briefs, #NPO-15744, September/October 1986.


  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Galileo Orbiter Design, Development, and Test (1991)
  • National Space Society’s Ad Astra magazine Top 25 “Rising Stars in Space.” (1994)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Department Outstanding Recent Alumnus (1995)
  • NASA Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement (2005)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Aerospace Department Distinguished Alumnus Award (2018)

Recent Courses Taught

  • AE 199 SAT - Intro to CubeSat Development
  • AE 442 S1 - Aerospace Systems Design I
  • AE 443 S1 - Aerospace Systems Design II
  • AE 498 IHS (AE 498 SDI) - Spacecraft Design Integration
  • ENG 491 CU1 - Nanosatellite Design Build 1