JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Biography

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor received a B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Stanford University (Stanford, California) in 1961, with a major in electrical engineering. He received an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1962. He began his career at the RCA Space Center in Hightstown, New Jersey, working with the communications systems of early Earth-orbiting weather and defense satellites. Inspired by the work being done in deep-space communications as reported in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL’s) Space Program Summaries, he joined the JPL Telecommunications Systems Section in 1970.

Mr. Taylor has made a career in flight operations telecommunications analysis. Beginning with the Mariner Mars mission in 1971, he became centrally involved in planning and assessing capabilities for communications links between spacecraft and the Deep Space Network (DSN). Most recently with the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission, he has extended this work to Earth-orbiting spacecraft that communicate with the Near Earth Network (NEN) and the Space Network (SN).

Mr. Taylor has pursued a special interest in the effects of solar interference on radio communications between the Mariner, Viking, Galileo, and Deep Space 1 (DS1) interplanetary spacecraft and their supporting ground stations. His work in this area on the Galileo project enabled the timely return of Galileo probe data stored on the orbiter during the short period between probe entry and the onset of solar conjunction.  For DS1, he established the critical-timing and uplink criteria for a special "ground-in-the-loop" activity to reestablish three-axis pointing control in the face of a failed onboard star-tracker.

Mr. Taylor set up the flight telecom team for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) in 2003 and helped bring the new concept of "communications windows" to maturity for both Rover-to-DSN X-band communications and UHF relay communications with the Mars orbiters. On both MER and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), He has had a major role in the development of the DSN keywords file for surface operations. This file is an input to station automation software to control uplink and downlink operations with minimal intervention by the project mission controller or the station operator.

Mr. Taylor is a principal engineer in the Communications Systems and Operations Group of the JPL Flight Communications Systems Section, working on telecom analysis, ground system implementation, and flight operations for deep-space flight projects. In 2005, he published an operations handbook for Electra, the next-generation proximity radio for communicating between the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars rovers and landers on the surface. He has published telecommunications-analysis articles for several flight projects in JPL's Interplanetary Network Progress Reports, and he was the founding telecommunications member of JPL's Spaceflight Significant Events Group, now called Lessons Learned. He has received NASA and JPL awards for exceptional technical excellence for his work on Galileo, DS1, MER, and DI telecommunications. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2000 and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2006.


Editor of Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Deep Space Communications


Author of Chapter 2 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

The Deep Space Network: a Functional Description


Co-Author of Chapter 3 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Voyager Telecommunications


Co-Author of Chapter 4 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Galileo Telecommunications


Co-Author of Chapter 5 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Deep Space 1


Co-Author of Chapter 6 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


Co-Author of Chapter 7 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Mars Exploration Rover Telecommunications


Co-Author of Chapter 8 from Volume 13 of the Deep-Space Communications and Navigation Series:

Mars Science Laboratory


Author or Co-Author of the following article of the DESCANSO Design & Performance Summary Series - Telecommunications:


Co-Author of the following article of the DESCANSO Near Earth Design & Performance Summary Series: