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Dr. Jonathan Black is a Professor in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech (VT), the Director of the Aerospace Systems Lab of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, a member of the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research (Space@VT), and the Northrop Grumman Senior Faculty Fellow in C4ISR. Prior to joining VT, Dr. Black served as a faculty member in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he was the founding Director of the Center for Space Research and Assurance. As Lab/Center Director, Dr. Black focuses the centers’ efforts on the execution of cutting-edge space technology development and scientific space experiments; manages and executes an annual $4 million research portfolio; supervises a diverse group of 20 research faculty, program managers, laboratory and administrative staff, graduate students, and summer interns; briefs senior Department of Defense and Intelligence Community leadership advising national strategy; and cultivates research and educational relationships inside and outside the university. He served as PI or Co-PI on six spaceflight experiments. Dr. Black works across academic departments and multiple research centers at the intersection of mission platforms and mission payloads. His research focuses on the ability to analyze sensor inputs onboard in low-SWAP, heterogeneous computing environments, such that the payload can autonomously identify objects in its environment; the ability for high-level mission priorities to drive low-level technical processes in real time with the human out of the tactical loop but rather operating in a strategic control role; and the ability to manage payload resources according to mission goals in a distributed manner across several self-organizing nodes. Dr. Black’s research interests include space and atmospheric vehicle dynamics, linear and nonlinear control theory, autonomous vehicle design, structures, structural dynamics, advanced sensing technologies, space systems engineering, and novel orbit analysis for a wide variety of military and intelligence applications including large lightweight space structures, micro UAV development, and taskable satellites.



Space Experiments

LAICE - LEO Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling Experiment,
2017 Launch

ALICE - AFIT LEO iMESA CNT Experiment, 2012 Launch

Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Mechanical Engineering

Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

Expanding the available SSA data to include serendipitous data collected from ground and space-based platforms to develop a fundamentally new capability for space object detection, estimation, and characterization.

Space Mission Analysis and Optimization

Developing automated optimal problem-driven space system design and satellite collection methodologies to produce better, more accurate, more timely, high confidence data.

M.S., George Washington University

Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

B.S, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Industrial Engineering

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