University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies


Institute for Aerospace Studies
UTIAS building.jpg
Established1949 (1949)
Parent institution
Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
AffiliationUniversity of Toronto
Location, ,

The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS, /jˈtəs/ yoo-TY-əs) is an advanced research facility for aeronautics, aerospace engineering, and robotics[1] located in the Downsview district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1949 by founding Director Gordon N. Patterson, the institute is managed by the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and mainly receives funding from governmental agencies such as the National Research Council, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Space Agency. Notable international sponsors include the European Space Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, NASA Ames Research Center and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.


In 1970, the institute was involved in the emergency rescue of the Apollo 13 astronauts, after the mission was aborted by a major accident en route to the Moon. UTIAS was contacted for assistance due to its expertise in shockwaves and aerospace dynamics.[2] Engineers and scientists at UTIAS calculated the amount of pressure needed to separate the Lunar Module from the Command/Service Module without damaging the hatch, allowing the crew to survive the re-entry to Earth.[3] Observing the 40th anniversary of the incident in 2010, lunar module pilot Fred Haise wrote a letter thanking the UTIAS team for its contribution.[4]

In recent years,[when?] the institute has produced the world's first microwave-powered aircraft, the world's first engine-powered ornithopter (both inventions of James DeLaurier), and Canada's first space telescope, MOST. The major expertise areas represented are aircraft design, particularly at subsonic speeds, flight simulation, space mechatronics and robotics, microsatellite technology, computational fluid dynamics and nuclear fusion. The institute's partners in the aerospace industry include Bombardier Aerospace, MD Robotics (formerly Spar Aerospace) and General Atomics. It operates the Canadian Advanced Nanospace eXperiment Program for the study and testing of nanosatellite technology.[citation needed]

Past Faculty

The following professors have been granted Professor Emeritus status at UTIAS:[citation needed]

Name Degrees From To Research Area Notable Publications Notes
J. D. DeLaurier B.S. (Illin.), M.S., Ph.D. (Stanford) 1974 Low-speed Aerodynamics
Jaap H. de Leeuw Dipl. Eng (Delft), M.S (Georgia Tech), Ph.D. 1958 UTIAS Director 1975-1985, died 2012
Bernard "Ben" Etkin B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto) 1942 Flight Dynamics Dynamics of Atmospheric Flight, Dynamics of Flight: Stability and Control Member, Order of Canada; died 2014 (see also U of T In Memoriam)
John Barry French B.A.Sc. (Toronto), M.Sc.(Manch.), Ph.D. 1961 Rarefied Gasdynamics, Mass Spectrometry Member, Order of Canada, co-founder of Sciex, Limited and Gedex Systems Inc.
Irvine Israel Glass Ph.D. 1950 Shock Waves Prof. Glass's personal records in the University of Toronto archive, Professor I. I. Glass: A Tribute and Memorial Died 1994
James J. Gottlieb B.Sc., M.Sc. (Sask), Ph.D. Computational Fluid Dynamics, Shock Waves
Anthony A. Haasz B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. 1972 Fusion Materials UTIAS Director 1995-2005, died 12 March 2019
Jorn S. Hansen B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Waterloo) Solid Mechanics, Aircraft Structures
Peter C. Hughes B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (UTIAS), MBA (York,1996) 1966 Spacecraft Dynamics and Control Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics, So You Want To Be A Professor? Founder of Dynacon Enterprises Limited
Gordon W. Johnston B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (1953) 1970 Aeroacoustics
Gordon N. Patterson Pathway to excellence: UTIAS, the first twenty-five years Founding UTIAS Director 1949-1974, died 1990
Lloyd D. Reid B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. 1965 Aircraft Stability and Control, Piloted Aircraft Performance Dynamics of Flight: Stability and Control
Herbert Spencer Ribner B.S. (Caltech.), M.S. & Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis, 1939) 1955 Aeroacoustics died 2005
J. P. Sislian M.Sc. (Yerevan), Cand. Phys. & Math. Sci. (Moscow), Ph.D. Died 5 May 2015
P. C. Stangeby B.Sc., M.Sc., Dipl.Sci., D.Phil.(Oxon) 1972 Fusion Energy Technology
Philip A. Sullivan B.E., M.E. (N.S.W.), D.I.C., Ph.D.(London) 1965 Air Cushion Vehicles
Roderick C. Tennyson B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. 1965 Aerospace Structures and Materials So You Want To Be A Professor? UTIAS Director 1985-1995

Past Professors

Name Degrees From To Research Area
Joaquim R. R. A. Martins M.Eng. (Imperial College), M.Sc. (Stanford), Ph.D. (Stanford) 2002 2009 Multi-Disciplinary Optimization
Raymond Measures Ph.D. (Imperial College London) 1964 1991 Lasers, Plasmas, Optical Fibres and Structural Sensing
Werner G. Richarz B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (UTIAS) 1978 1989 Aeroacoustics

Notable alumni

  • Gerald Bull (Ph.D., 1950) One of the world's leading experts in ballistics, developer of advanced artillery, assassinated in 1990.
  • Thomas Siddon (M.A.Sc. & Ph.D., 1968) Served as Canadian federal Secretary of State for Science and Technology, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Minister of National Defence.[citation needed]



UTIAS-Developed Satellites Launched

  • MOST, launched 30 June 2003 (Structure, Thermal, On-Board Computer and Communications subsystems, also ground station)
  • CanX-1, launched with MOST
  • CanX-2, launched 28 April 2008
  • NTS (Nanosatellite Tracking Ships), launched 28 April 2008 (build for ComDev)
  • AISSat-1, launched 12 July 2010 (built for Norwegian Defense Research Establishment)
  • CanX-3 satellites --- TUGSat-1 and UniBRITE-1 launched 25 February 2013


  1. ^ "UTIAS Robotics". University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Phil. "An Account of UTIAS Involvement in the Rescue of Apollo 13". University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.
  3. ^ "Canadians celebrate Canada's contribution to the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts on 40th anniversary of original space mission" (PDF). Canadian Air and Space Museum.
  4. ^ "UTIAS - Bringing Apollo 13 Home". Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-05-23.

External links

  • University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
  • UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory
  • Archival papers of John Barry French, Associate Director of UTIAS (1982-1985), held at the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services
  • Archival papers of Irvine Israel Glass held at the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services