2014 Tycho Brahe Award

Presented to: Dr. Bruce Haines

Citation: For notable achievements in astrodynamics – navigation, precise orbit determination and satellite applications to geophysics and oceanography.


Dr. Bruce Haines has made significant and wide-ranging contributions to the field of satellite navigation, most notably in the discipline of GPS-based precise orbit determination (POD). His sustained efforts in this area have been key to the success of the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason radar altimeter missions, which have provided an unprecedented picture of sea level and ocean circulation over the past two decades. Dr. Haines has played a crucial role in advancing near-real time POD with GPS. These efforts have culminated in the achievement of 1-cm orbit accuracies for the current Jason-2 mission, within a few hours of real time. This represents an important milestone in the field of satellite altimetry, and has helped to spur new operational oceanographic applications. By combining his POD expertise with his unique knowledge of altimeter calibration methods, Dr. Haines has also made highly significant contributions to the determination of global mean sea level change.

Dr. Haines made important early contributions to the development of GPS-enhanced methods for spacecraft tracking and navigation, where signals from user satellites are tracked together with those from GPS. He led a pioneering experiment which combined GPS and TDRS to demonstrate this innovative and low-cost approach to satellite tracking.

More recently, Dr. Haines has focused on using GPS to determine the fundamental parameters of the terrestrial reference frame. This initiative has led to new insights on error sources—notably the GPS satellite antenna phase patterns—that have heretofore limited the utility of GPS for the most demanding geodetic applications.

Dr. Haines has received over 30 awards for technical achievements, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 technical papers, and has been with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, since 1991.