2023 PTTI Distinguished Service Award

Presented to: Francine Vannicola

Citation: For major contributions to GPS system time
synchronization and GPS atomic frequency standard
performance analysis; and for contributions to the
success of the annual PTTI meetings

2023 PTTI Distinguished Service - Francine Vannicola

Francine M. Vannicola has worked with precise time systems in support of the GPS program over the past 38 years. She is an integral part of the community and is known throughout various government agencies for her development, analysis and leadership of PTTI systems. Since 2008, Ms. Vannicola led U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) GPS atomic frequency standards life testing program. She developed several analytical tools to highlight telemetry metrics and monitor clock stability.

Ms. Vannicola led the NRL effort to analyze and report the performance of the GPS on-orbit and ground network station atomic clocks to the USSF 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), which were used as critical input to tune the GPS Master Control Station Kalman filter. She organized the Frequency Standard Working Group (FSWG) for the past 15 years.

During her tenure at the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), Ms. Vannicola oversaw the integrity and robustness of the USNO GPS Time monitoring operations, including advances in GPS timing receivers and USNO clock system technology. She mitigated problems associated with the first GPS week number rollover using a GPS simulator to replicate the rollover using a subset of the affected USNO GPS timing receivers. As a result of these simulations, instructional procedures were developed on how to operate the GPS receivers during the rollover to gracefully recover after the event. Ms. Vannicola has served on the PTTI Systems and Applications Meeting committee since 1995. She chaired the Executive Committee from 2010 to 2012 and oversaw the PTTI Meeting transition to the ION suite of membership service products in 2013.

Ms. Francine M. Vannicola is the recipient of the ION Distinguished Service Award (2015) and the USNO Captain James M. Gillis Award (1996). She holds a BS from Virginia Tech.