CCAR Research

Jeffrey Thayer

Dr. Jeff Thayer’s research program focuses on studying the aerospace environment of our Earth’s atmosphere and geospace environment. He specializes in geophysical fluid dynamics, gas and plasma interactions, thermodynamics, and electrodynamics applied to the upper atmosphere (above 10 km altitude) and geospace. This field of research has increased over the years as our society rapidly becomes more dependent economically and socially on access to space and space assets. Understanding the upper atmosphere and geospace environment is critical for our “space” society. Dr. Thayer also specializes in active remote sensing techniques employing engineering concepts to design, develop, deploy and apply laser radars (lidars) to upper atmosphere studies and apply radar techniques to geospace studies. The active remote sensing techniques engage engineering concepts and solutions with an acute understanding of the scientific purpose. This effectively bridges and balances engineering concerns with scientific expectations.

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R. Steven Nerem

Satellite altimetry, sea level change, Earth gravity field determination, time variations of the Earth's gravity field, planetary geodesy, precision orbit determination, astrodynamics.

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George Born

Astrodynamics, remote sensing, precise orbit determination, mission design, satellite oceanography.

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Dennis Akos

Dr. Akos' research focuses on satellite navigation, particularly all aspects related to the receiver design/implementation. He pioneered the application of the software radio architecture to satellite navigation receiver design which has provided tremendous insight into the operational characteristics. He is the co-author of the text: A Software-Defined GPS and Galileo Receiver: A Single-Frequency Approach. His current research interest involve receiver design and testing for various GNSS, including GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Compass; utilizing GPS/GNSS for remote sensing; RFI/spoofing detection, localization, and mitigation algorithms for GPS/GNSS

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Penina Axelrad

Dr. Axelrad's research focuses primarily on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and their application to positioning, attitude determination, and remote sensing. She is also interested in satellite navigation and orbit estimation more broadly, including orbit determination using optical observations of geosynchronous objects and estimation approaches for space situational awareness. In the GNSS area her group is currently working on techniques for weak signal acquisition, modeling and detection of multipath errors, and detection of atmospheric turbulence in GPS data collected from LEO occultations and ground-based receivers.

Webster Cash

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Robert Culp

Earlier work included optimal orbit maneuvers, atmospheric entry theory, perturbations, and satellites’ atmospheric drag and decay. Dr. Culp recently served on the NRC Committee for Near-Earth Object Strategies and the Saving Planet Earth Report, and was a member of the NRC ISS Meteoroid and Debris Risk Committee. He has conducted major research over the past three decades in space debris and attendant problems.

William Emery

Dr. Emery's research focuses on study of ocean surface processes such as sea surface temperature, ocean color, surface currents, coastal satellite altimetry. The development of processing software for operational weather satellites. Study of high-resolution satellite imagery for urban change detection and mapping of disaster effects. Application of high and moderate resolution satellite imagery to the study of terrestrial vegetation and its variations. Using very-high spatial resolution satellite imagery to study road surface condition changes and other urban effects.
This research group also is involved with the deployment of a variety of sensors on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to study the Earth in particular in polar regions. In 2012 and 2013 summers they will be conducting a large study of the Marginal Ice Zone using a number of drone aircraft.

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Lakshmi Kantha

Numerical models of the oceans and related physical processes. Assimilation of remotely sensed data into numerical ocean models, nowcasting, and short-term forecasting of the ocean state; circulation in marginal and coastal bodies of water. Ocean-atmosphere interactions and their implications to long term weather and climate through coupled models.

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Robert Leben

Numerical ocean modeling, computational fluid dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, satellite oceanography, remote sensing, supercomputing.

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James Maslanik

Remote sensing and climate change research with emphasis on the polar regions, and sea ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in particular; development and use of unmanned aircraft systems for geophysical research; integration of field measurements, aircraft observations, and satellite-derived products.

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Scott Palo

Dr. Palo's research focuses on remote sensing of the near Earth space environment, in particular the mesosphere and thermosphere, and the development of small satellite systems. Dr. Palo currently develops and deploys meteor radar systems to measure the winds in the mesosphere utilizing specular reflections from ionized meteor trails and shares space with Dr. Thayer in the Active Remote Sensing Lab (ARSenL). He is also involved with the development of pico and nanosatellites for space weather applications. Students in Dr. Palo's research group are engaged in the development of ground-based meteor radar and space hardware, analysis of radar and satellite observations and the use of atmospheric global circulation models.

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Jeffrey Parker

Dr. Parker's research encompasses many aspects of interplanetary mission design, notably in the Earth-Moon system. He has specialized in low-energy trajectory design and analysis: building missions to the Lagrange Points (Earth-Moon, Sun-Earth, Mars-Phobos, etc.), designing low-energy transfers between the Earth and the Moon, evaluating the station keeping costs of low-energy missions, and examining navigation problems. He has written a book on low-energy trajectory design for the Earth-Moon system, called "The Low-Energy Lunar Transfer Handbook." A very interesting application of low-energy trajectory design is a new navigation technique called LiAISON (Linked, Autonomous, Interplanetary Satellite Orbit Navigation). This technique permits satellites to autonomously navigate themselves. Dr. Parker leads research studying applications of LiAISON at the Earth, the Moon, at asteroids, and for interplanetary spacecraft. Finally, Dr. Parker is developing a research program at CCAR in the field of low-thrust trajectory design.

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Dr. Parker's Research page

Hanspeter Schaub

Dr. Schaub is the H. Joseph Smead Associate professor of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences department. He is an associate fellow of AIAA and member of AAS. His 13 years of professional interests are in nonlinear dynamics and control applications, with a special emphasis on astrodynamics. He performs research in spacecraft attitude and control, exploiting nonlinear dynamics of control moment gyros to avoid classical CMG singularities, adaptive control with prescribed closed-loop dynamics, as well as extensive research in near-Earth spacecraft formation flying problems. Prior to his University of Colorado appointment he spent 4 years as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Prior to Virginia Tech Dr. Schaub worked 4 years at the Sandia National Labs Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center (ISRC). At Sandia he worked on the dynamics, simulation (both hardware-in-the-loop and workstation based) and control of a Navy ship mounted crane control project, on the control of swarms of autonomous robotics systems, as well as the development and integration of a robotic visual servoing system based on statistical pressure snakes. He has authored over 40 peer reviewed papers, presented 66 conference papers, published a text book on analytical mechanics of space systems, and holds a patent on a noncontact position and orientation measurement system.

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Dr. Schaub's Research page

Daniel Scheeres

Astrodynamics & Satellite Navigation

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