The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

Technical Capabilities

Strategic and Space GN&C Systems

Draper is a premier source for expertise on the guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) of strategic and space systems. Our record of pioneering achievements in this area includes the design and development of guidance systems for the most accurate intercontinental ballistic missiles ever produced as well human space flight applications, including the flight computer and software on the Apollo program that took the first astronauts to the moon and back to Earth safely.

Draper combines domain experience, advanced sensor technology, comprehensive (algorithm, software, hardware) design and development capabilities, and the testing infrastructure needed to produce state-of-the-art GN&C solutions that meet our sponsors’ most challenging needs. In particular, our expertise in precision inertial instruments, fault-tolerant avionics, and radiation-hardened electronics contributes to our world-class GN&C capabilities.

We continually invest in and mature new GN&C technology to support long-term national objectives in strategic deterrence, civilian and military space, missile defense, and the exploration of our solar system.

Strategic and Civilian Launch Vehicle GN&C Systems

  • Guidance system Design Agent for the U.S. Navy’s fleet ballistic missile programs for more than 50 years.
  • GN&C technology for both manned and unmanned launch vehicle systems, including the Space Shuttle, the Ares vehicles, and commercial space concept vehicles. 

Spacecraft GN&C Systems

  • GN&C technology for the exploration of our solar system as well as situational awareness for spacecraft in orbit.
  • Cornerstone capability for spacecraft GN&C.
  • Industry leader in autonomous rendezvous, docking, and proximity operations.
  • World-class capabilities for the control of large, flexible space structures, as demonstrated by the Draper-designed Zero Propellant Maneuver for the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Advanced state-of-the-art in vanishingly small GN&C concepts on the basis of a complimentary capability for miniature, low-power systems.

Entry, Descent, and Landing GN&C Systems

  • Leader in the development of autonomous planetary landing and Earth reentry GN&C for both crewed and uncrewed vehicles, including strategic reentry bodies and long-range conventional strike systems. 
  • Pinpoint landing accuracy and hazard avoidance technology for next-generation lunar landing vehicles (LLV) through NASA-sponsored Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) program.
  •  Mars and small-body rendezvous and landing, crew return vehicles, impact-survivable landers, and Earth-based test platforms.

Planetary Surface Exploration GN&C Systems

  • Pioneering the development of “hopping” vehicles and related GN&C technology and test beds for planetary surface exploration.

Missile Defense GN&C Systems

  • Systems engineering, analysis, and technical support for the development of the advanced technology needed for ballistic missile defense systems.
  • Objective domain expertise equips government sponsors with a key asset to evaluate and mature critical technology or design concepts.

Submarine Navigation:

  • Precision navigation expertise for strategic submarines, i.e., SSBN.



Boost Guidance

Boost Guidance