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CEG Seminar - Working in a Vacuum: 20 Years of Control for Space Applications

Speaker Name: 
Dr. R. Scott Erwin
Speaker Title: 
Program Manager for Guidance, Navigation, and Control Program
Speaker Organization: 
Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate Kirtland AFB, NM
Start Time: 
Monday, January 23, 2017 - 1:30pm
End Time: 
Monday, January 23, 2017 - 3:30pm
E2 280
CEG (Computer Engineering Graduates) & Professor Ricardo Sanfelice


I will provide a short summary of the control systems projects I have worked on over the past 20 years at the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide perspective on how control systems theory and techniques have been/are being transitioned and applied to a number of problems faced by the Air Force and the Government in general.  The briefing will touch on (a) the use of active control for vibration and jitter suppression in precision pointing applications (late 1990’s) (b) multivariable & adaptive control techniques for positioning, phasing, and controlling the vibration of large deployable space telescopes (2000’s), (c) hybrid control algorithms developed for space-based cognitive radio communications (2005’s), (d) techniques for distributed estimation and sensor network management applied to the problem of tracking the global population of space objects (2010’s), and finally (e) current research efforts in optimal trajectory control for tracking and characterization of an unknown space object by space-based sensors.


R. Scott Erwin received a B. S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1991, and the M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1993 and 1997, respectively.   He has been an employee of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) located at Kirtland AFB, NM, from 1997 to the present.  He is currently the Program Manager for the Guidance, Navigation, and Control Program within Space Vehicles Directorate.   He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a Senior Member of IEEE, and has authored or co-authored over 100 technical publications in the areas of spacecraft dynamic, controls, and communications.  He was recently selected as the recipient of the 2016 IEEE Judith A. Resnick Space Award for “for outstanding contributions to spacecraft vibration isolation technologies and ultra-precision pointing of large flexible space platforms.”  His current research interests are autonomous spacecraft & the interplay between communications, estimation, and control in autonomous, networked multi-spacecraft systems.