My research goals are broadly to lead technology development necessary to increase the pace of exploration and exploitation of our solar system. In other words, I want to enable faster, more efficient systems in space that will produce more scientific knowledge, increase economic production, and increase the human population living and working in space. A key area of technology that must be advanced to this end is autonomy.
My lab, the Orbital Research Cluster for Celestial Applications (ORCCA), is actively working to advance the state-of-the-art in autonomy for spacecraft (and space robotics) applications. Our work focuses on exploiting the unique dynamics of various environments to build robust autonomous guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms. In trying to fully understand the environment on and around various planetary bodies in order to model and exploit what is known (and to properly deal with what is unknown), we regularly cross the border between engineering and planetary science.
Our research can be categorized in a number of areas:
- spacecraft autonomous guidance, navigation and control
- small body missions
- asteroid science - in particular geophysics and dynamical evolution
- in-situ resource utilization
- precise orbit determination
- orbital debris dynamical evolution
- satellite servicing, in-space assembly
- entry, descent, and landing guidance and control
Several of our current major projects are (click links for details):
- OSIRIS-REx Radio Science
- Dismantling Rubble Pile Asteroids with AoES (Area-of-Effect Soft-bots) [Phase II NIAC Grant]
- Robust Entry and Landing Guidance Under Dynamic Uncertainty [NASA ECF Grant]
OSIRIS-REx Radio Science: Orbit B (courtesy of Jay McMahon, Andrew French & OREx radio science team)