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Grace Gao Wins Jackson Award

Dr. Grace Xingxin Gao, a research associate in Stanford Aero/Astro's GPS Lab, has won the 2009 William E. Jackson Award from RTCA, the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics. Her Ph.D. thesis, "Towards Navigation Based on 120 Satellites: Analyzing New Signals," marked her as the outstanding graduate student in the field of electronics and telecommunications. The award was presented in April, 2010, at the RTCA's Spring Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Gao's thesis was based on her research in the GPS Lab. She analyzed the civilian signals from two of the new Global Navigation Satellite Systems: Europe's Galileo and China's Compass. She was the first to derive the code generators used by the civilian signals on the Galileo validation satellites and by the first Compass satellite in medium earth orbit. She analyzed the suitability of these new signals for aviation and treated the worrisome satellite-to-satellite and DME-to-satellite interference problems. Her work has advanced the use of these new signals for civilian aviation by enabling worldwide precision approaches even in airports with limited infrastructure.

Dr. Gao received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford in 2008. It is common for students in one department in Stanford's School of Engineering to work with professors and their labs in other departments.

RTCA is a private, not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based recommendations for communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management issues. These are used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the basis for policy, program, and regulatory decisions and by the private sector as the basis for development, investment, and other business decisions. RTCA includes about 400 government, industry, and academic organizations from around the world.

The Jackson Award is a memorial to William E. Jackson, a pioneer in the development and implementation of the nation's air traffic control system and an enthusiastic supporter of student engineers.

Dr. Gao is the sixth member of the Stanford GPS lab to win the Jackson Award. Dr. Alexander Mitleman won in 2005 for "Signal Quality Monitoring for GPS Augmentation Systems." The year before, Dr. Chad Jennings received the award for "Threat Displays for Final Approach." Dr. Robert Eric Phelts won in 2001 for "Multi-Correlator Techniques for Robust Mitigation of Threats to GPS Signal Quality." Other recipients were Dr. Boris Pervan in 1996 for "Navigation Integrity for Aircraft Precision Landing Using the Global Positioning System" and Dr. Clark E. Cohen in 1993 for "Attitude Determination Using GPS."

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