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Professor Yang Gao is the Professor of Space Autonomous Systems at Surrey Space Centre and heads the STAR LAB that specializes in robotic sensing, perception, visual GNC and biomimetic mechanisms for industrial applications in the extreme environments.

Professor Yang Gao brings over 20 years of research experience in developing robotics and autonomous systems, in which she has been the Principal Investigator of inter/nationally teamed projects funded by UK Research Innovation (EPSRC/STFC/InnovateUK), Royal Academy of Engineering, European Commission, European Space Agency (ESA), UK Space Agency, as well as industry like BT, Airbus, Neptec, Sellafield and OHB. Yang is also actively involved in design and development of real-world space missions including ESA ExoMars, Proba3 and VMMO (lunar ice mapper), UK MoonLITE/Moonraker, and CNSA Chang’E3. Yang’s work has also been applied to several non-space sectors including nuclear, oil/gas and agriculture through technology transfer and spin offs.

Yang is the elected Fellow of Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). She had been named by the Times Higher Education as one of ten young leading academics in the UK who are making a very significant contribution to their disciplines in 2008, and also been awarded the Mulan Award for Contributions to Science, Technology and Engineering in 2019.

In her research field, Yang has edited and co-authored 2 textbooks (by Wiley-VCH and by McGraw-Hill) and over 150 scientific papers in internationally refereed books, journals and conference proceedings. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Wiley Journal of Field Robotics (JFR).

Prior to joining SSC in 2004, Yang was an awardee of the prestigious Singapore Millennium Foundation (SMF) Postdoctoral Fellowship and worked on intelligent and autonomous vehicles. She gained the B.Eng. (First Class Honors) degree and Ph.D. degree from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore in 2000 and 2003 respectively.

Research Interests

Yang is actively involved in space mission design and promoting the Surrey ‘small-sat’ engineering approach within missions like ExoMars, Proba3, MoonLITE and Moonraker, etc. In recent years, Yang’s work has also been applied to several non-space sectors including nuclear and agriculture.

The following research topics have been undertaken within the STAR LAB by Postdoc, PhD, MSc/UG project students.

  • Spacecraft metrology & GNC
  • Reconfigurable autonomy
  • Planetary drilling, sampling and resource utilization
  • Micro space vehicles: Rovers, penetrators
  • Missions to the moon, mars and beyond