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Dr. Henry Helvajian

Senior Scientist Physical Sciences Laboratories


Dr. Henry Helvajian is a senior scientist in the Physical Sciences Laboratories at The Aerospace Corporation. His research includes controlled transformations in materials by laser and ultrasound excitation; diagnostics development for process control in additive manufacturing; a study to send telescopes to 550 AU for exoplanet observation; and HIVE, a space architecture that addresses resiliency. Recently he has served as scientific advisor for projects Sextant and Forward Engineering. Helvajian’s work has been supported by the DOE, DARPA, ONR, AFOSR and NASA.

His first research was on gas phase photochemistry of activated radical species and on the photophysical processes of low fluence laser/material interaction. In the early 1990s his research interest expanded into applications of MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) to space systems, satellite miniaturization and low fluence laser material processing.

He initiated a Gordon Conference on laser interaction with surfaces and initiated application conferences by major U.S. and foreign societies. He was involved in the first 1-kg mass nanosatellite and microthrusters. Helvajian also developed a technique to fabricate MEMS in glass/ceramic materials.


Helvajian earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering (EE) from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. in EE/ electrophysics at the University of Southern California. He was a National Academy of Sciences postdoctoral scholar at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Awards and Honors

Helvajian has received certifications of recognition from NASA, ASME, MRS, SPIE, JLPS and European-MRS, and is a SPIE fellow. He holds 20 patents.


Helvajian was national co-chair of SPIE’s Photonics West LASE Conference for eight years and is the current chair of the SPIE Laser 3D Manufacturing Conference. He has chaired conferences for the MRS, OSA and LIA societies. In helping to start the nanosatellite revolution 25 years ago, he has also chaired conferences sponsored by NASA and CANEUS. Helvajian has edited four books and authored more than 100 papers and book chapters.

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