Virginia Tech’s Mark Psiaki receives ION’s Kepler Award

Mark Psiaki received the Johannes Kepler Award in 2021 (Photo: ION)

Mark Psiaki received the Johannes Kepler Award in 2021 (Photo: ION)

The Institute of Navigation (ION) The Satellite Division presented two prestigious awards on September 24 at its ION GNSS + 2021 conference, held in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mark Psiaki received the Johannes Kepler Award for setting a standard of rigor, clarity and depth in dealing with key issues in the evaluation and processing of positioning, navigation and synchronization (PNT) signals.

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.

Psiaki developed the bit-by-bit parallel RF signal processing technique for use in general-purpose processors. This software-defined GNSS capability led to the first space deployment of a fully software-defined universal digital signal processor (DSP) GNSS receiver and to the widespread use of software-defined GNSS in the aerospace industry.

Psiaki’s real-time software radio experience also allowed the development of a spooler grown in his research team. He oversees 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 downlink signals in the Iridium L-band, GPS signals and inertial navigation system (INS) data to improve GPS performance against congestion. Recent navigation work based on low Earth orbit satellites (LEOs) brings together observers from an existing global communications constellation with INS and other sensor data to provide a GPS backup.

Another contribution demonstrates how Doppler-based navigation can replace pseudo-range-based navigation if applied using a large LEO constellation.

DPsiaki has contributed greatly to the modeling, evaluation, and detection practices applied to GNSS, including the study of phase modeling of GNSS carrier for space applications. His campaign to decode the GIOVA-A L1 BOC PRI code (1,1) enabled 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.

Psiaki holds the Faculty of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Kevin T. Crofton’s Faculty of 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 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.


Lakshay Narula with Brad Parkinson.  (Photo: ION)

Lakshay Narula with Brad Parkinson. (Photo: ION)

The satellite department of the Institute of Navigation (ION) also presented Lakshay Narula with its Bradford W. Parkinson Award for his dissertation “Towards a safe and sound PNT for automated systems.”

The Bradford W. Parkinson Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding student in the field of GNSS. The award, which recognizes Parkinson’s for his leadership in creating both the GPS and ION’s satellite division, includes a personalized record and a $ 2,500 fee.

Any ION member who is a graduate student who has completed a degree program with an emphasis in GNSS technology, applications, or policy is eligible for an award.