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About Michigan Aerospace Corporation

Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) develops and commercializes technology, from basic and applied R&D to licensing and business creation. R&D efforts include government and industry contract work, internally-funded innovation and technology incubation. We license our technology to strategic partners for product acceleration and also license intellectual property from 3rd parties. We offer business creation and commercialization services to pursue product development in high-growth markets.

OptoAtmospherics Inc. (www.OptoAtmospherics.com), is a MAC spinoff company commercializing solutions for the wind energy industry under license agreement.

I2mp, LLC, “Ideas to Manufactured Products,” is a MAC spinoff company focusing on assisting companies in business formation, product development, and manufacturing ramp-up.

To serve its customers, MAC operates four business units:

1) Atmospheric LIDAR Systems to measure atmospheric parameters and constituents to enhance the accuracy of weather forecasts, aid weather-dependent military operations, and improve the performance of weapons systems and aircraft (military and civilian);

2) Environmental Sensing for CBRN (chem/bio, radiological, nuclear), seismic sensing, aerodynamic testing, micro-fluidics, and measurement of spectral signatures and cross-sections of biological simulants and agents;

3) Data Exploitation to solve complex problems in signals intelligence (SIGINT), data mining, 2-D and 3-D image processing, pattern recognition, and machine learning; and

4) Energy Solutions for thermo-electric waste heat recovery and solar power generation, as well as wind energy systems.

Advanced Engineering

Building on a very successful heritage of developing sensitive optical and opto-mechanical instruments as well as mechanical systems for spacecraft, aircraft, ground and marine applications, the staff at MAC has unique expertise in the following areas:

  • Mechanical and Opto-Mechanical Design, Fabrication and Testing
  • Thermal, Structural, and Dynamic Analysis
  • Optical Analysis, Design and Testing
  • Atmospheric Phenomenology and Instrument Performance Modeling
  • SIGINT, Predictive Analytics, Image Processing, Pattern Recognition, Machine Learning and Visualization Software Development
  • Control Systems and Signal Processing
  • End-to-End Instrument Design for Spacecraft, Aircraft, Ground and Marine Environments
  • Design for harsh environments


Based on our heritage of developing high-value components and systems (high quality at very competitive prices), Michigan Aerospace offers products in the following areas:

  • Turnkey LIDAR Systems for measuring winds and atmospheric constituents
  • Etalons (tunable and fixed-gap)
  • Nano-positioning devices (piezo and ferro-electric actuators)
  • Fiber optic assemblies
  • Custom optics
  • Custom mounts
  • Mechanical capture and latching components and systems

On the software side, Michigan Aerospace offers the following products:

  • Cloud-based decision making software (based on Bayesian Networks), applicable to business analytics, condition monitoring of equipment, and other applications requiring distillation of big data into usable decisions
  • Specific Emitter Identification (SEI) software


MAC was formed in 1996 initially to commercialize technology developed at the University of Michigan's Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL). The experience of the engineers and scientists now at Michigan Aerospace Corporation includes the development of a series of space flight instruments that were flown on NASA scientific missions: the Visual Airglow Experiment flown on the Atmosphere Explorer -C, -D, -E; the Fabry-Perot Interferometer on Dynamics Explorer 2; the High Resolution Doppler Imager (HRDI) on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS); the Robotic Material Processing System (RoMPS); an Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking (ARD) mission intended for the Commercial Experiment Transporter (COMET); and electronics, sensors and systems integration for the Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS).

Most recently, Michigan Aerospace staff provided the mechanical design and analysis for the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) instrument on the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) satellite, which entered Mercury orbit on March 17, 2011. FIPS measures particle count rates, energy distributions, velocity vector distributions, and mass spectra at a high time resolution (64s) and between 50 eV/e and 20 keV/e in energy. The instrument is a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, pre-filtered with an electrostatic analyzer. The MESSENGER spacecraft was launched on August 3, 2004 aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and is the first spacecraft to visit planet Mercury since Mariner 10 in 1975. FIPS successfully made its first measurement of solar wind enroute to Mercury on April 15, 2005 and has continued making measurements since.

In addition to spaceflight, Michigan Aerospace staff have extensive experience in developing and testing instruments on aircraft (fixed and rotary wing) for proprietary programs. This technology base, together with patented technological advances, has led to a variety of R&D and Product offerings.


Michigan Aerospace Corporation is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI where engineering, laboratory, manufacturing, quality control, and administrative operations are located. The company also has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Two LIDAR ground stations are also supported, located in Bartlett, New Hampshire, and on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. MAC’s manufacturing operations provide assembly and testing for various configurations of its optical atmospheric LIDAR product line and for its range of proprietary optical components.

The company specializes in developing and delivering instruments for harsh environments and demanding platforms, such as spacecraft, aircraft, high-altitude balloon platforms, ground systems and the marine environment. MAC maintains dedicated design, fabrication, assembly, and test equipment to facilitate those deployments. Facilities in Ann Arbor include a class 10,000 clean room and a portable clean room, a thermal chamber, optical assembly labs, an electronics fabrication lab, a fiber optic fabrication lab, and a wind tunnel. MAC maintains dedicated areas for secure storage of raw materials, inspection, work in progress and testing of finished product. Laboratory assets include a significant complement of precision optical, opto-mechanical, and opto-electronic hardware; state-of-the-art diode-pumped and flash-lamp pumped lasers; optical, electronic and fiber optic fabrication, test and measurement equipment; a local area 1 GbE computer network with over 40 workstations; dedicated high-speed digital internet access lines; and fire-walled, high-performance computer servers. MAC also has light machining and manufacturing capabilities.

MAC’s facilities meet federal and state of Michigan environmental laws and regulations for: airborne emissions, waterborne effluents, external radiation levels, outdoor noise, solid and bulk waste disposal practices, and handling and storage of toxic and hazardous materials.

The company maintains a comprehensive suite of in-house optical and atmospheric modeling and simulation software, including modeling of atmospheric scattering mechanisms, radiative transfer processes, chemistry of the atmosphere, and remote sensing instrument characterization. Computer aided design and modeling software suites are employed to ensure efficient and accurate development and validation of product and custom system designs.

MAC is close to completing requirements for ISO-9000 and AS-9100 certification. Critical processes have been documented and procedures are in place for all aspects of the business: financial, legal, safety, quality assurance, and technical operations.


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