Innovation on the Frontier of Space Exploration
Dr. Anthony Freeman
Manager, Innovation Foundry, JPL NASA/Caltech
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is NASA’s lead center for robotic exploration of our solar system. We are known for our large, flagship missions, such as Voyager, which gave humanity its first close look at Jupiter and Saturn; and the Mars Rovers, which have excited millions worldwide with their daring landing exploits. But we do smaller missions too – some for Planetary Science, but also in the domains of Earth Science and Astrophysics.
The Innovation Foundry (http://jplfoundry.jpl.nasa.gov) is JPL’s innovation engine – we take an idea or even the seeds of an idea and help mature it to the point where it can be proposed to a NASA flight opportunity. The Foundry’s A-team does a lot of front-end ideation, and brainstorming. Our renowned Team-X can design, cost and assess an end-to-end mission, from a flagship mission to explore the ocean on Enceladus, to a nanosat mission to Mars. The Foundry’s Proposal Shop helps our investigators put together winning, and innovative proposals.
Here I will briefly outline the process we use to innovate, and then describe projects that have resulted from its application - including the Mars Helicopter, the first interplanetary cubesats, the Asteroid ReDirect Mission, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, the Europa Orbiter/Lander, and a cubesat-mounted arcsecond space telescope.
The work described here was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Dr. Anthony Freeman is the manager of the Innovation Foundry at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Innovation Foundry is JPL’s incubator for ideas, and helps between 100 and 150 formulation teams mature their concepts every year. These ideas span all of JPL’s future space missions for NASA in Planetary Science, Astrophysics, Earth Science and Human Space Flight, and some work outside the NASA envelope. Recent highlights include proposals for ten planetary science missions to explore our solar system, a suite of instruments to probe Europa, a helicopter to explore the surface of Mars, the first interplanetary cubesats, an instrument to study the effects of global methane emissions on Earth’s climate, and a nanosat radio receiver to find the source of high-energy cosmic rays. He is the informal chair of JPL’s “cubesat kitchen cabinet” which has helped realize at least 20 nanosat projects, pushing towards a future where interplanetary cubesats are common. In his previous position he was the program manager of the Earth System Science Formulation office, which led the formulation of new ideas for Earth Science missions, resulting in several new projects at JPL.
Dr. Freeman is a native of Manchester, England, and has a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Mathematics and a Ph. D. in Astrophysics, both from the University of Manchester (formerly UMIST). His technical interests include the architecture of innovative space missions, especially novel radar observing systems and techniques. He conceived of the ‘Freeman method’ for calibration of polarimetric imaging radars, the SweepSAR scan-on-receive technique for wide-swath radar imaging, and co-authored the ‘Freeman-Durden Decomposition’ for analyzing the data from such systems. He teaches Aerospace Engineering (with a focus on nanosats), Systems Engineering and Program Management at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He recently served as a member of the Sustainable Land Imaging Architecture Study Team commissioned by NASA and the USGS. His awards include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for calibration of the SIR-C radar, which flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for his work on Earth Science Mission Formulation, several NASA Group Achievement Awards, numerous NASA new technology awards, and he holds two patents. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 2000 for his work on calibration of Synthetic Aperture Radar systems.
Vera is the CEO and Founder of MARS CITY DESIGN.
Vera comes from multidisciplinary background in master planning in various fields of art; architecture, urban design, filmmaking and storytelling, has made her specialized in conceptual strategy in technology, innovation and business development. Vera contributes her expertise in combining these fields, creating a collaborative competition platform for designing cities for Mars, our next step to settle the Red Planet. Vera is the Master Architect and planner of Mars City Design.
Technical Director for Google Lunar XPRIZE
Andrew is the Director for Technical Operations at the XPRIZE Foundation where he supports the operation of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Coming from a background in the aerospace and mechanical engineering fields, Andrew previously worked in the private space industry in Europe as a technology developer, project manager and entrepreneur. Among other roles, he worked for 4 years as a specialist at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands where he supported the development of space missions, including significant contributions to future lunar and Mars landers as well as the VEGA launch vehicle. As Director of Technical Operations for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, he is responsible for selecting and managing the panel of independent judges, communicating technical aspects of the prize to the space industry and the general public, and he also led the implementation of the Milestone Prizes program held in 2014. Andrew holds a Ph.D and bachelors degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Sydney and a Masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University.
Curtis is an Aerospace Systems Engineer with a passion for space. He has more than 10 years experiences in designing, managing, and executing engineering projects and have both technical and management experiences. Curtis earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, and he is ready to making ideas, people, hardware into space.
Curtis specialities: Systems Engineering, Analysis, Design, SysML, Problem Solving, Space Industry, Coding, MatLab, Python, JMP, Communicating in Japanese
Mr. Jacobson co-founded Desert Sky Holdings, a Los Angeles based investment group that focuses on below the radar opportunities. Jacobson co-led the first institutional investment in XCOR Aerospace. Jacobson is the co-founder of Aerospace & Defense Forum, a former board member of the Space Frontier Foundation, and is a member of Space Angels Network. Jacobson was inspired by the first XPRIZE competition to to helping grow and enhance the space eco-system through advocacy, investment, leadership and technology development.
Monica is a managing partner at LightSpeed Innvations, an aerospace accelerator. Monica has over 22 years of experience in the technology and aerospace industries; with expertise in technology R&D, product development, strategic partnerships, and innovation strategy. She frequently advises high-tech start-ups and corporations on their business and technology strategies. As part of the steering committee for the Wharton Angel Network and Wharton Aerospace Ventures, Monica works actively with investors and entrepreneurs. Monica holds both BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Southern California, a Systems Engineering certificate from the California Institute of Technology, and an MBA from The Wharton School. She currently holds a faculty position at The Wharton School.
Norris Tie currently works at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems as an air-breathing propulsion engineer. He graduated from UCLA Class of June 2014 in aerospace engineering. He is passionate about both aerospace and entrepreneurship. He served as President of UCLA's Technical Entrepreneurial Community (TEC) and founded UCLA's Entrepreneurship Council, which now has around 20 organizations, ranging from the Law School, Anderson School of Business, Startup UCLA, and student groups like TEC. He also participated in UCLA's Rocket Project as safety officer and the UCLA ELFIN cubesat project. In his spare time, he is learning to build rockets. He is interested in anything that moves humans faster around the world and/or through space, namely rockets and high speed propulsion engines.