2001 Early Achievement Award

Presented to: Dr. James L. Garrison

Citation: For his contributions to the development of algorithms for satellite navigation in highly elliptical orbits, and the use of GPS reflections for remote sensing.


Dr. James L. Garrison has been an assistant professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., since August 2000. At Purdue, he introduced new research and course work in the applications of satellite navigation in collaboration with the Schools of Civil Engineering and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Prior to accepting a faculty position, he was a senior engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. At Goddard, he was the principal investigator on a research project to develop a GPS receiver capable of autonomous navigation in highly elliptical orbits. Dr. Garrison’s research on navigation in highly elliptical orbits brings together ideas from estimation theory, orbital mechanics, and receiver development. 

Dr. Garrison has made significant contributions in the area of algorithms for use in spaceborne receivers. He has investigated and implemented methods for weak signal tracking and for dealing with rapidly changing signal dynamics and large dynamic range to optimize the acquisition and tracking of satellites in geosynchronous and highly elliptical orbits. He has provided both technical and programmatic leadership in the development of the PiVoT receiver for these applications. 

 He began his NASA career at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., in 1988. At Langley, he was the co-inventor of a technique for using ocean-reflected GPS signals as a bistatic radar for remote sensing, and first demonstrated the ability to measure ocean surface winds using this technique. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an M.S. from Stanford University, and a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Garrison is the author and co-author of 10 peer-reviewed publications, and holds one U.S. patent for which he shares a NASA Exceptional Space Act Award. He has received recognition for excellence in the form of several NASA awards, best paper awards, and first prize in the GPS World Application’s Contest (1998).