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John A. Christian

Assistant Professor - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas at Austin 
M.S., Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology 
B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. John Christian is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University (WVU). Prior to joining the faculty at WVU, Dr. Christian was an aerospace engineer in the Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Autonomous Flight Systems Branch at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. He is an expert in spacecraft navigation and space systems.

While at NASA, Dr. Christian worked primarily in the areas of navigation system design and flight/ground tests of spacecraft navigation sensors. In particular, he acquired extensive experience processing LIDAR and camera data for spacecraft relative navigation, working on tasks such as: (1) analysis of data from the Sensor Test for Orion RelNav Risk Mitigation (STORRM) flight experiment that flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-134; (2) leading development and testing of real-time algorithms for estimating relative spacecraft position and attitude from LIDAR/camera imagery; (3) and high-fidelity ground tests of dynamic closed-loop GNC systems for spacecraft Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD). Prior to his work on spacecraft relative navigation with LIDARs and cameras, Dr. Christian worked in a number of other areas at NASA, including: Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) data processing, parachute drop tests, system requirements definition, and space systems analysis.

Prior to joining NASA, Dr. Christian designed and taught a new laboratory course on spacecraft subsystem design at The University of Texas at Austin. He is active in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) where has served as as Chairman of the Society & Aerospace Technology Technical Committee and as an associate member of the GNC Technical Committee.

Visit The Applied Space Exploration Laboratory (ASEL) website.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Spacecraft Design 
Spacecraft Navigation 
Spacecraft Attitude Estimation 
Computer Vision & Pattern Recognition 
Estimation Theory 
Navigation Sensor Performance & Modeling

Professional Societies

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 
American Astronautical Society (AAS) 
Institute of Navigation (ION) 
International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
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