PhD Proposal by William Jun

Primary tabs

William Jun
(Advisor: Prof. Lightsey)

will propose a doctoral thesis entitled,

Performance of a Low Infrastructure Navigation System
for Planetary Surface Users


Monday, April 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Montgomery Knight Building 317


The populations of orbiters, rovers, and soon, astronauts on other planets are rising each year. These target planets will soon require a global, scalable, and autonomous navigation system that provides position, velocity, and timing (PVT) services to surface users. Although a system of this magnitude is currently cost prohibitive, a transitionary navigation system could provide PVT services with a reduced infrastructure. PVT services are also required during exploratory missions to distant bodies. These missions typically include a single orbiter and a lander with a traversing rover that requires autonomous PVT. This thesis investigates the feasibility of a novel navigation architecture called Joint Doppler and Ranging (JDR) as a navigation system for transitionary and exploratory missions. In addition to feasibility, this research focuses on JDR's simulated performances, potential extensions, and architecture recommendations.

JDR utilizes a low infrastructure navigation system with novel uses of range and Doppler measurements to position a user on a planetary surface. A reference station enables real-time regional positioning with only a few navigation nodes.

This thesis will answer key research questions posed for JDR regarding feasibility, performance, and architecture recommendations. An initial feasibility analysis of JDR provides insight into how viable JDR is in providing PVT services. Then, this research improves on JDR and calculates simulated performances. Extensions to JDR detail varying applications and enhancements with additional requirements. Recommendations for architecture configurations provide implementation details to be utilized by mission designers. Finally, an initial hardware demonstration validates the use of JDR in hardware.

The work from this thesis enables the use of JDR in future transitionary planets and exploratory missions for the end goal of autonomous and accurate navigation.



  • Prof. E. Glenn Lightsey – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Prof. Brian Gunter – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Kar-Ming Cheung – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


  • Workflow Status:
  • Created By:
    Tatianna Richardson
  • Created:
  • Modified By:
    Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified:


Target Audience

    No target audience selected.