David Gaylor, an expert in space domain awareness, is associate professor of practice in the College of Engineering’s aerospace and mechanical engineering department.
Gaylor received a BS in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Academy, an MS in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. He served for eight years on active duty in the Air Force, where he tested aircraft and missile inertial navigation systems and led satellite operations for three Strategic Defense Initiative missions.
After leaving the Air Force, Gaylor tested integrated GPS/INS navigation systems, was a systems engineer and lead orbit analyst for the IRIDIUM constellation, and was a mission analyst for Globalstar, successfully guiding the first four satellites into their assigned orbits.
As a graduate student at UT, Gaylor researched the use of GPS for rendezvous and proximity operations with the International Space Station and co-founded the Java Astrodynamics Toolkit open source software project. After obtaining his PhD, he served as vice president for research and development at Emergent Space Technologies Inc., where he helped design the navigation systems for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series, or GOES-R. He was also principal investigator for Emergent’s space situational awareness research projects.