May-Win Thein

May-Win Thein

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 1999
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Lehigh University, 1992
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Lehigh University, 1991

Dr. Thein joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1999. Since then, she has served as a visiting scholar and/or lecturer at the Naval Underwater Warfare Center (NUWC) at Keyport NAVSEA, the Flight Dynamics Analysis Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Sheffield (Sheffield, UK), the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester (Leicester, UK), and the Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain).  Dr. Thein was also named a United Kingdom Royal Society Fellow in 2007 for her international collaborative research in spacecraft control. She holds memberships in AIAA, ASME (DSCD), IEEE (CSS IAC, WiC, WIE), Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Tau Sigma, SAE, Sigma Xi, SWE, and Tau Beta Pi.

Dr. Thein's field of specialization is in the area of System Dynamics and Control. Her studies involve nonlinear estimation and control with particular emphasis on ocean and space applications.  

Dr. Thein currently teaches:

  • ME 670 - Systems Modeling, Simulation and Control
  • ME 747 - Experimental Measurement and Modeling of Complex Systems
  • ME 7/843 - Satellite Systems, Dynamics Modeling and Control
  • ME/OE 7/895 – Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Science and Applications
  • ME 7/895 - Spacecraft Science and Applications
  • ME/PHYS/EOS 7/8/95 - Spacecraft Instrumentation
  • ME/ECE 944 – Nonlinear Control Systems
  • ME/ECE 951 – Advanced Controls I

Dr. Thein currently advises:

  • UNH Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
  • UNH Lunacats
  • UNH Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Team
  • UNH ET NavSwarm Team
  • UNH Do It Yourself (DIY) Engineering
  • Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) Team
  • QuadSat Team

Research Areas

  • Space Applications:
    • Experimental analysis and verification of dynamics for spin-stabilized spacecraft
      • Flexible boom dynamics
      • Observer-based nutation control
      • On-board orbital feedback control
    • Dynamic extraterrestrial suface navigation via Celestial Navigation (CelNav)
    • Extraterrestrial surface exploration and search via Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO)
    • Quadcopter Modeling and Control
    • Space robotics
    • Asteroid Modeling and Prediction (AMP)
    • Relative position estimation and control for precise formation flying spacecraft about the L2 Libration point of the Earth/Moon and Sun system
  • Ocean Applications:
    • Control of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs)
    • Modeling and control of multiple UUVs and ASVs
    • Optical-based UUV Pose Detection
    • Autonomous collision and obstacle avoidance
    • Reactive path planning for ASV seafloor mapping missions
    • Fault detection and isolation for UUVs and ASVs
    • Ocean robotics
    • Feedback control of fish cage systems for open aquaculture
  • Variable structure system applications to state estimation and control of deterministic systems


  • Edwards, C. and Fridman, L. and Thein, M. L., "Fault Reconstruction in a Leader/Follower Spacecraft System Using Higher Order Sliding Mode Observer," AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics (under review).
  • Thein, M. L., "A Variable Structure Parallel Observer System for Robust State Estimation of Multirate Systems," accepted for publication to the Transactions of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control.
  • Pukdeboon, C. and Zinober, A. and Thein, M. L., "Quasi-Continuous Higher Order Sliding-Mode Controllers for Spacecraft-Attitude-Tracking Maneuvers," IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2010.
  • Waterhouse, D. and Dunstan, M. and Kramer, M. and Kite, J. and Jenkins, B. and Thein, M. L., "TableSat Generation II: a Limited 5-DOF Table Top Prototype for NASA's Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Mission," accepted for publication in theProceedings of the 2010 AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August 2010.
  • Waterhouse, D. and Dunstan, M. and Kramer, M. and Kite, J. and Jenkins, B. and Thein, M. L., "TableSatII for NASA's Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Mission - A Problem in Orbit and Attitude Determination and Control, " AAS 10 - 255,Proceedings of the 20th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, San Diego, CA, February 2010.
  • Mushaweh, N. and Jenkins, B. and Castelli, D. and Thein, M. L., "A Comparative Analsysis of Body-Rate Estimation Techniques for the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission Spacecraft," AIAA-2009-5949, Proceedings of the 2009 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Congress and Exposition, Chicago, IL, August 2009.
  • Mushaweh, N. and Thein, M. L., "Comparative Observer-Based Nutation Control Techniques for NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission Spacecraft," AIAA-2008-7484, Proceedings of the 2008 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Congress and Exposition, Honolulu, HI, August 2008.
  • Thein, M. L., "Celestial Navigation (CelNav): Lunar Surface Navigation," AIAA-2008-6759, Proceedings of the 2008 AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Congress and Exposition, Honolulu, HI, August 2008.
  • Borrelli, M. J. and Thein, M. L., "Feedback Control During Orbital Transfers of a NASA MMS Spin-Stabilized Spacecraft," AIAA-2008-7084, Proceedings of the 2008 AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Congress and Exposition, Honolulu, HI, August 2008.
  • Farrar, M. S. and Thein, M. L., "Comparative Analysis of Control Techniques for Satellite Formation Flying Orbiting About the Earth-Sun L2 Point," AIAA-2008-7358, Proceedings of the 2008 AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Congress and Exposition, Honolulu, HI, August 2008.
  • Pukdeboon, C.; Zinober, A. S. I.; Thein, M. L., "Quasi-continuous higher-order sliding mode controller designs for spacecraft attitude tracking manoeuvres", Proceedings of the International Workshop on Variable Structures Systems (VSS 08), June 8-10, pp. 215 - 220, June 2008.
Portrait of Professor Thein
Kingsbury Hall W117
(603) 862-1158
(603) 862-1865