Systems Engineering Seminar

Lunar Communication & Navigation Architecture

Presented by:
James Schier
Space Communications and Navigation Office
NASA Headquarters M-3

January 6, 2009, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Lunar Communication & Navigation Architecture

NASA is analyzing the lunar systems architecture required to meet anticipated needs for Science and Exploration over the next 20 years. The International Lunar Network (ILN) is proposed to be a set of 6-8 surface landers provided by NASA and other space agencies forming a geophysical network in the next decade. The ILN surface stations will be widely dispersed including far side sites requiring a data relay satellite. Following the robotic ILN era, the human exploration era will begin in 2020. The Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle, Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, Ares V Cargo Launch Vehicle, and Altair Lunar Lander constitute the space transportation systems that will deliver crew and cargo to the Moon. An Outpost will be constructed at a polar location capable of sustaining four crewmembers for long duration habitation. The crew will use unpressurized and pressurized rovers to construct the Outpost and explore the Moon on excursions ranging hundreds of kilometers from their base. Mining equipment will be used to extract and process resources from lunar regolith. Scientific instruments will be deployed to conduct scientific studies. In addition to the Outpost, the lunar architecture is capable of conducting sortie missions to any location on the Moon. This effort will require a huge investment by the United States and is expected to attract wide commercial and international participation. This presentation will describe the current approach for the communications and navigation systems to be developed as part of this lunar architecture including the surface-to-surface, surface-direct-to/from-Earth, and surface-relayed-to/from-Earth communications. It will address the results of recent communications studies of lunar relay satellites, lunar surface communication terminals, local area wired and wireless networks, and other communication technologies integrated into an interplanetary network. It will also address navigation studies on tracking space vehicles in transit to and from the Moon, in lunar orbit, descent/landing/ascent, and navigation on the surface.

This is an opportunity to see preliminary results of systems engineering of systems that are still in the pre-formulation phase instead of seeing the final result after system design is complete. It is also an example of architecting for enduring agency infrastructure rather than a single mission. The second portion of this seminar will deal with the unique or unusual systems engineering aspects of designing a multi-system within the context of other multi-systems including commercial and international systems that are cooperative but not directly engineered by NASA.



Photo of Jim Schier Jim Schier is currently the Systems Engineering and Integration Manager for NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation Program at NASA Headquarters. He leads agency-wide systems engineering studies and coordinates technology, standardization, and development activities defining the evolution of NASA’s space communications networks including the Space Network/TDRSS, Near Earth Network, and Deep Space Network as well as future lunar and Mars networks. In cooperation with the Defense and Intelligence Communities, he also chairs the multi-agency civil government space communications portion of the Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA). He led the definition of NASA’s lunar communication and navigation architecture on the Exploration Systems Lunar and Mars Architecture Teams. Previously, he was Sr. Space Communications Architect and led agency studies for the Moon and Mars as part of NASA’s Space Communications Architecture Working Group. He joined NASA in 2004 after 25 years in industry where he worked on civil, defense, intelligence, and commercial systems. He worked for Northrop Grumman supporting the National Reconnaissance Office’s Deputy Director of System Engineering where he was responsible for system-of-systems architecting and engineering for interoperability. While at the TASC subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, he was instrumental in implementing corporate systems engineering training and process improvement resulting in TASC becoming one of the first 10 companies in the country to reach Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) Level 5 in both Systems and Software Engineering. He also led system engineering tasks on commercial satellite systems including Iridium and Thuraya. Mr. Schier was Avionics Manager and Chief System Engineer on the International Space Station at Grumman. Prior to this at TRW, Mr. Schier managed flight software development on the MILSTAR Communications Payload and led integration and verification work on Spacelab 3 Materials Processing in Space experiments in crystal growth. He received a Silver Snoopy award for his work on Spacelab 3, an Administrator’s Group Award from Admiral Truly on behalf of the team that redesigned the Space Station in 1990, and numerous other corporate and NASA awards. He holds Bachelors Degrees in Computer Science from Purdue and Electrical Engineering from West Coast University.



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