2021 Kepler Award

Presented to: Dr. Mark Psiaki

Citation: For setting a standard of rigor, clarity, and thoroughness in addressing key estimation and signal processing problems in PNT.

Mark Psiaki - Kepler

Dr. Mark Psiaki originated the technique of bit-wise parallel RF signal processing for use in general-purpose processors. This enabler of software-defined GNSS led to the first space deployment of a fully software-defined GNSS receiver on a general-purpose DSP and to the widespread adoption of software-defined GNSS across the aerospace industry.

Additionally, Dr. Psiaki’s real-time software radio expertise enabled the development of a spoofer cultivated in his research group. Dr. Psiaki subsequently led the development of spoofing detection algorithms based on cross-correlation of unknown P(Y) codes and based on direction-of-arrival sensing.

Dr. Psiaki was the lead signal processing designer/analyst for the iGPS program that combined Iridium L-band downlink signals, GPS signals, and INS data to enhance GPS anti-jam capabilities. Recent work on LEO-based navigation fuses observables from an existing global communications constellation with INS and other sensor data to provide a back-up to GPS. Another contribution demonstrates how Doppler-based navigation could replace pseudorange-based navigation if implemented using a large LEO constellation.

Dr. Psiaki has made many contributions to the practice of modeling, estimation, and detection applied to GNSS, including the study of GNSS carrier phase modeling for space-based applications. His campaign to decode the GIOVE-A L1 BOC(1,1) PRN codes enabled Galileo receiver manufacturers to test their systems before the ESA published the codes. His group’s work on ionospheric scintillations led to the first commercially-available scintillation simulators.

Professor Psiaki holds the Kevin T. Crofton Faculty Chair of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. He studied at Princeton University, completing a B.A. in Physics in 1979 (magna cum laude) followed by an M.A. (1984) and a Ph.D. (1987) in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. He is a past recipient of the ION’s Burka Award, its Tycho Brahe Award, and the Pride at Boeing Accomplishment Award. He is a Fellow of both the AIAA and the ION.