The Satellite Department of the Institute of Navigation (ION) presented Dr. Mark Psiaki with its Johannes Kepler Award during the GNSS + 2021 Institute of Navigation (ION) conference. Inside GNSS cover story, “TRANSIT on Steroids: Doppler-based GNSS Meets Large LEO Constellations” with Dr. student Brian McLamore. This story from the November / December 2020 issue can be read here.
ION recognized Psiaki for setting a standard of rigor, clarity and thoroughness in dealing with key issues in signal evaluation and processing in PNT. He created the technique for bit-by-line parallel processing of RF signal for use in general-purpose processors. This capability for software-defined GNSS led to the first deployment of a fully software-defined GNSS DSP receiver in space and to the widespread adoption of software-defined GNSS in the aerospace industry.
His experience in real-time software radio has also allowed the development of a spooler grown in his research team. Psiaki subsequently led the development of counterfeit detection algorithms based on cross-correlation of unknown P (Y) codes and based on arrival direction recognition.
Psiaki is the leading designer / analyzer for signal processing for the iGPS program, which combines Iridium L-band downlink signals, GPS signals and inertial navigation system data to improve GPS congestion capabilities. His recent work on LEO-based navigation brings together observers from an existing global communications constellation with INS and other sensor data to provide a GPS backup. It also demonstrates how Doppler-based navigation can replace pseudo-range-based navigation if applied using a large LEO constellation.
He has made many contributions to the modeling, evaluation, and detection practices applied to GNSS, including the study of GNSS carrier phase modeling for space applications. His campaign to decode Galileo-A orbit validation elements (GIOVE-A) L1 BOC (1,1) PRN codes allowed Galileo receiver manufacturers to test their systems before ESA published the codes. The work of his ionospheric scintillation team led to the first commercially available scintillation simulators.
Professor Psyaki holds the Faculty of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at the Kevin T. Crofton Faculty in Virginia Tech. He studied at Princeton University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1979 (magna cum laude), followed by a master’s degree (1984) and a doctorate. (1987) in the field of mechanical engineering and space engineering. He is a former winner of the ION Burka Award, the Tycho Brahe Award and the Boeing Prize. He is an associate of both the AIAA and the ION.
The Johannes Kepler Award recognizes and honors the individual for his constant and significant contribution to the development of satellite navigation. This is the highest honor awarded by the ION satellite department.