Where all the magic happens


UTIAS (University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies) is a graduate studies and research institute, forming part of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto. The continuing involvement of the University of Toronto in the aerospace sciences since World War I eventually led to the establishment of this institute in 1949.

Professor Tim Barfoot, RSX’s faculty advisor, is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Autonomous Space Robotics. The purpose of his research program is to enable scientific exploration by creating advanced autonomy for space robotics. Currently, planetary exploration is the primary focus of his work. He is particularly interested in aspects of estimation and control for planetary rovers. He believe strongly that techniques should be proven through realistic field trials.

Originally called the Institute of Aerophysics, it is now known as the Institute for Aerospace Studies. In 1959, UTIAS moved to a permanent 7.6 ha site about 22 km north of the main campus. Extensions to the original building were added in 1961, 1963, 1987 and 1989. A dome-shaped building housing an air-cushion vehicle track was erected adjacent to the main building in 1973, and the Microsatellite Science and Technology Centre was added in 2012. The dome, now called the Mars Dome, has been repurposed as an indoor facility to test rovers in a Mars-like environment. RSX will be taking advantage of this facility, among countless others at UTIAS.