Research Mission

The Engineering Systems Laboratory (ESL) is part of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The ESL studies the underlying principles and methods for designing complex socio-technical systems that involve a mix of architecture, technologies, organizations, policy issues, and complex networked operations. Our focus is on aerospace and other systems critical to society such as product development, manufacturing, and large scale infrastructures.

System Architecture Group

The System Architecture Group studies the early-stage technical decisions that will determine the majority of the system’s performance. We have helped architect systems from earth observation networks, to lunar surface exploration vehicles. [read more]

System Safety and Cybersecurity Group

The goal of the System Safety and Cybersecurity Group is to create new tools and processes that will allow us to engineer a safer world. Engineering safer systems requires multi-disciplinary and collaborative research based on sound system engineering principles, that is, it requires a holistic systems approach. [read more]

Strategic Engineering Research Group

The Strategic Engineering Research Group within ESL studies long-lived systems on Earth and in Space. This includes the design and operation of critical infrastructures such as industrial manufacturing, transportation, earth observation, defense, water, energy and food supply systems as well as the challenges of sustained human and robotic exploration and settlement of outer space. [read more]

Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative

The Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative seeks to advance the theories, methods, and effective practice of systems engineering applied to complex socio-technical systems through collaborative research. [read more]