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Thursday, March 9, 2017

NASA Astronaut Colonel Christopher J. Loría Joins Draper’s Dream Chaser Team

CAMBRIDGE, MA – NASA Astronaut and Colonel Christopher J. Loría, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), has joined Draper to bring his deep experience in space systems to serve on the company’s Dream Chaser team. 

As Draper’s Program Manager on Dream Chaser, “CJ” will join a team responsible for one of the few spacecraft designated by NASA for resupplying the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) contract awarded to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). He brings flight-proven expertise in all of the capabilities Draper is providing to Dream Chaser, including mission automation, human-rated fault-tolerant flight computers and guidance, navigation and control.

Loría has made a career of delivering solutions for the federal government, commercial and international business environments. Loría is a former NASA astronaut and retired senior officer of the United States Marine Corps. Most recently, he served in senior technical and executive positions at the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network, Exelis Geospatial Systems and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). He was the first Deputy Chief Engineer on the NASA Constellation Program, is a former NASA Fellow, is a Harvard Kennedy School Fellow and earned the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award and the NASA Group Achievement Award. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Air Medals and three citations for valor.

Loría was born in Belmont, Massachusetts, and considers Louisville, Colorado his hometown. He received his commission with the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Annapolis in 1983, and was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1988. He later earned a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an Executive Certificate in Business Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Seamus Tuohy, Director of Space Systems at Draper, welcomes Loría to the Dream Chaser team. “CJ has provided outstanding leadership throughout his career in space and space systems,” Tuohy said. “His experience is a perfect fit for Draper’s Dream Chaser team. Draper has played a crucial role in every manned space mission conducted by the United States to date, and we are now applying that expertise to un-crewed cargo delivery.”

Draper has appointed NASA Astronaut Colonel Christopher J. Loría the company’s Dream Chaser Program Manager. (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Capabilities Used
Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT)

Draper develops novel PN&T solutions by combining precision instrumentation, advanced hardware technology, comprehensive algorithm and software development skills, and unique infrastructure and test resources to deploy system solutions. The scope of these efforts generally focuses on guidance, navigation, and control GN&C-related needs, ranging from highly accurate, inertial solutions for (ICBMs) and inertial/stellar solutions for SLBMs, to integrated Inertial Navigation System(INS)/GPS solutions for gun-fired munitions, to multisensor configurations for soldier navigation in GPS-challenged environments. Emerging technologies under development that leverage and advance commercial technology offerings include celestial navigation (compact star cameras), inertial navigation (MEMS, cold atom sensors), precision time transfer (precision optics, chip-scale atomic clocks) and vision-based navigation (cell phone cameras, combinatorial signal processing algorithms).

Autonomous Systems

Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements.  Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.

Fault-Tolerant Systems

Draper has developed mission-critical fault-tolerant systems for more than four decades. These systems are deployed in space, air, and undersea platforms that require extremely high reliability to accomplish challenging missions. These solutions incorporate robust hardware and software partitioning to achieve fault detection, identification and reconfiguration. Physical redundancy or multiple, identical designs protect against random hardware failures and employ rigor in evaluating differences in computed results to achieve exact consensus, even in the presence of faults. The latest designs leverage cost-effective, multicore commercial processors to implement software-based redundancy management systems in compact single-board layouts that perform the key timing, communication, synchronization and voting algorithm functions needed to maintain seamless operation after one, two or three arbitrary faults of individual components.

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