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Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering

CDR Donald "Bucket" Costello


Assistant Professor & Associate Chair
Office: Hopper Hall 269B



Research Interests

Computer Vision, Cyber-Physical Systems, Machine Learning, Mobile Robotics, Multi-Agent Systems, Robotic Manipulation

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland College Park, 2020
  • M.S. in Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, 2010
  • M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, 2008
  • Engineering Test Pilot, United States Naval Test Pilot School Class 134, 2008
  • M.A.S. in Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 2005
  • B.S. in Systems Engineering, United States Naval Academy, 2000

Professional Experience

  • Permanent Military Professor, United States Naval Academy, 2021-Present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 2006-Present
  • Chief of Staff, Naval Test Wing Atlantic, 2020-2021
  • Strike Operations Officer, USS John C. Stennis, 2018-2020
  • IPT Lead, NAWCAD (4.0M/NGAD AOA/PMA-265), 2013-2017
  • EA-18G Department Head, VAQ-138, 2011-2013
  • VX-23, Test Pilot/USNTPS Co-Op Program. 2006-2011
  • EA-6B Division Officer, VAQ-128/133, 2003-2006
  • Flight Training (API/VT-28/VT-22/VAQ-129), 2000-2003

Professional Qualifications

  • Military: Command Duty Officer, Underway (Nimitz Class Carrier)
  • Naval Aviation: Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, Mission Commander, Division Lead Pilot, FCF Pilot
  • FAA: Air Transport Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument, Part 107 Pilot
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Defense Acquisition Corps Member
  • Defense Acquisition Career Field Certification: System Engineering (L3)
  • Defense Acquisition Career Field Certification: Test and Evaluation (L3)
  • Defense Acquisition Career Field Certification: Program management (L3)
  • Aeronautical University, Adjunct Associate Professor, 2006-Pres
  • Naval Test Wing Atlantic, Chief of Staff, 2020-2021

Professional Memberships

  • The Society of Experimental Test Pilots
  • The Tailhook Association
  • The International Test and Evaluation Association

Honors and Awards

  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year, Individual Engineer for 2021
  • International Test and Evaluation Associate 2021 Publications Award, for Outstanding Accomplishments and Significant Contributions to Test and Evaluation

Significant Publications

  • D. H. Costello and H. Xu, “Relating Sensor Degradation to Vehicle Situational Awareness for Autonomous Air Vehicle Certification,” Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2021, pp. 193–202. 
  • D. H. Costello, J. Jewell, and H. Xu, “Autonomous Flight-Test Data in Support of Safety of Flight Certification,” Journal of Air Transportation, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2021, pp. 93–106.
  • D. H. Costello and H. Xu, “Generating Certification Evidence for Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Decision-Making,” Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2021, pp. 3–13. 
  • D. H. Costello, “Certifying an Autonomous System to Complete Tasks Currently Reserved for Qualified Pilots,” Ph.D. thesis, 2020. 
  • D. H. Costello and D. J. Whiteneck, “Dynamic Maneuver Requires Agile Logistics,” in Proc. of the U.S. Naval Institute, January 2020.  
  • D. H. Costello and B. Gilroy, “The Naval Aviation Technical Information Product,” NSAWC Journal, Winter 2015, pp. 40-48.
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