APL Colloquium

February 25, 2011

Colloquium Topic: Emerging Non-GPS Navigation Technology for Aerospace Systems

Aerospace systems rely heavily upon the Global Positioning System (GPS) to provide unrivaled performance in location, time and attitude. However, due to the increasing number of GPS system threats, other options are now being evaluated as potential navigation aids. These new technologies are designed to augment or back-up the GPS system and be applied on terrestrial, and other LEO, GEO and interplanetary missions. This presentation will review two emerging technologies for terrestrial and non-terrestrial navigation. The first involves the use of X-ray pulsars to navigate in space. Recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed a Phase I feasibility study of a x-ray pulsar based navigation system, referred to as XNAV - “X-ray Source Based NAVigation for Autonomous Position Determination”. Theoretically, this system can use celestial X-ray sources to determine spacecraft attitude and position knowledge anywhere in the solar system. The second emerging technology involves the use of the Earth’s Geo-potential field to navigate in the earth’s atmosphere. Gravity gradiometer aiding of a strapdown inertial navigation system (INS) in the event of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signal loss, or as a complement to an INS/GNSS system, is proposed. Gradiometry is ideal for covert military applications where a self-contained, passive, spoof-free aid is needed, and for space navigation near planetary bodies and moons where GNSS is unavailable. Both technologies are reviewed as potential alternative navigation aids for future aerospace systems.

Colloquium Speaker: Darryll J. Pines

Dr. Darryll J. Pines currently holds the position of Farvardin Professor and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as the chair of the Aerospace Engineering Department. During his time as chair, the department’s ranking improved to 8th in graduate programs and 6th in undergraduate programs. He recently completed a three-year tour of duty (10/03-9/06) as a Program Manager in two offices at DARPA, the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) and the Tactical Technology Office (TTO). While at DARPA, he initiated several UAV and navigation programs including Sensor Dart, Long Gun, the X-ray NAVigation and Autonomous Position-(XNAV) and the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) programs. During his time as a Program Manager at DARPA, Dr. Pines managed a science and technology portfolio totaling in excess of $75M. For his service at DARPA, he was awarded the DARPA Meritorious Service Award (2006). As a former Department of Energy technical staff member working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Dr. Pines developed advanced guidance algorithms for interceptors, and the final approach algorithm for the 1994 Clementine flyby mission, which was the first probe to discover water near the south pole of the moon with a mockup of the spacecraft now sitting in the National Air and Space Museum. Dr. Pines came to the University of Maryland in 1995 as an Assistant Professor and during his time at Maryland, he has won numerous teaching, advising and research awards including, the E. Robert Faculty Award (2000), the University of Maryland Advisor of the Year Award (2004) and a NSF CAREER Award (1996). He has served on a NRC Decadal Study Board to review NASA’s future in civil aeronautics. Dr. Pines has also served on NRC’s Committee on Women in Science and Engineering for three years (1999-2002). His research interests include smart materials/structures technology, structural health monitoring, structural dynamics, micro and nano air vehicle systems, and vehicle guidance, control and navigation. He has published 3 co-edited book volumes, 7 book chapters, and more than 210 journal/conference articles on topics in structural dynamics, structural health monitoring and vehicle flight dynamics, control and navigation. He also is a co-inventor of 6 Patents. He is a Fellow of the AIAA, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the ASME. Dr. Pines graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.