Dr. Glen Henshaw Receives "Best Paper" Recognition By ASCE

6/8/2011 - 45-11r
Contact: Dom Panciarelli, (202) 767-2541

Dr. Glen Henshaw, a senior engineer in the Naval Center for Space Technology at the Naval Research Laboratory, is the co-recipient of the Best Paper of 2010 sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Aerospace Engineering. His paper entitled "A Variational Technique for Spacecraft Trajectory Planning" was co-authored with his former advisor Dr. Robert Sanner, of the University of Maryland's Aerospace Engineering Department. The award will be presented during the ASCE Earth and Space Conference in March 2012.

Dr. Glen Henshaw

The paper is derived from Henshaw's doctoral thesis, describing a technique based on the calculus of variations for planning fuel-optimal trajectories for spacecraft rendezvous and docking. The technique is capable of avoiding collision hazards and of planning the coupled translational and rotational maneuvers necessary to perform such maneuvers.

Henshaw received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Brigham Young University in 1993, master's degree in aerospace engineering and doctorate in 1997 and 2003 respectively, from the University of Maryland.

He joined NRL in 2004. He is currently the robotics lead for the NRL Front-end Robotics Enabling Near-term Demonstration (FREND) project, in the Spacecraft Engineering Department. Under the FREND project, the research team is developing a state-of-the-art autonomous rendezvous and docking system for satellites not pre-designed for servicing.

Henshaw served as a principal investigator of the recently completed Low-design Impact Inspection Vehicle (LIIVe) program. The research team developed algorithms and concept of operations (ConOps), to safely circumnavigate and inspect disabled satellites at single-meter distances using a nano-satellite. The resultant hardware developed under this project is planned to be flown to the International Space Station in 2012. It will also be used on the NASA SPHERES vehicles, which are nanosat-sized spacecraft built by MIT for use in formation flying.

The fully autonomous robotic spacecraft in action during a FREND program demonstration. The FREND robotic system grapples a satellite that is not designed to be grappled. (FREND is located at right in photo, satellite being grappled at left.)

He is the head of the Robotic Skin program. Under this program, a research team is developing a "touch-sensitive" skin for use on robotic arms that may one day enable robots to actually manipulate objects by feel. It is envisioned this technology could be used aboard space vehicles, explosives ordinance disposal (EOD) robots, and other applications that require a human touch in hazardous conditions that are too dangerous for humans.

Henshaw is also a design team-member of NRL's new Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research building. He served as lead scientist for the desert and jungle laboratories and assisted with the design of the building's littoral laboratory.

His awards include the NRL Alan Berman Research Publication Awards 2009 and 2010 respectively, an NRL Special Act Award for his work on the FREND program in 2005, and a Technology Transfer Award in 2010.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. ASCE's vision is to have engineers positioned as global leaders who strive toward building a better quality of life. Its world headquarters is in Reston, Virginia.

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