The Catholic University of America

Masataka Okutsu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
202-319-4314 phone
202-319-6677 fax

Purdue University (Ph.D., 2006; M.S., 2001; B.S., 1999)
Dr. Masataka (“Masa”) Okutsu conducts research in astrodynamics and space mission design. Example topic includes gravity assist, in which a spacecraft changes its velocity by performing a flyby of a moving body, such as a planet or a satellite. Dr. Okutsu has designed multiple-gravity-assist trajectories for NASA’s mission studies, including an end-of-mission scenario for the Cassini spacecraft (at Saturn) and Jovian tours for the proposed Europa Orbiter (at Jupiter). He also investigates such topics as human missions to Mars. Dr. Okutsu’s work has been covered by the national and the international media including MSNBC and BBC.

At CUA, he is a clinical faculty in Civil Engineering and an instructor for Mechanical Engineering and other engineering courses, e.g., ME554 Aerospace Design, ME552 Introduction to Flight Dynamics, and ENGR222 Differential Equations.


Okutsu, M., Yam, C. H., Longuski, J. M., and Strange, N. J., “Cassini Saturn-Escape Trajectories to Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune,” Acta Astronautica, Vol. 79, 2012, pp. 157-167. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.034

Chen, K. J., Rogers, B. A., Okutsu, M., Landau, D. F., and Longuski, J. M., “Low-Thrust Aldrin Cycler with Reduced Encounter Velocities,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 49, No. 5, 2012. doi: 10.2514/1.A32109

Okutsu, M., DeLaurentis, D. A., Brophy, S. P., and Lambert, J. B., “Teaching Aerospace Engineering Design Course via Virtual World: Comparative Assessment of Learning Outcomes,” Computers and Education, Vol. 60, 2013, pp. 288-298. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.07.012

Okutsu, M. and Longuski, J. M., “Mars Free Returns via Gravity Assist from Venus,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 9, No.1, 2002. doi: 10.2514/2.3778