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Third IEEE International Conference on
Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology

Keynote Presentation (Thursday, July 23, 2009, 9:15am - 10:00am)Hans Koenigsmann Hans Koenigsmann
Vice President, Guidance, Navigation and Control, SpaceX

"Falcon 1 Flight 4 - from Omelek to Orbit"


On September 28, 2008, Space Exploration Technologies launched the Falcon 1 vehicle from its launch site on Omelek island into a 621 x 643 km orbit. This launch made history as the first successful privately financed liquid launch vehicle. All major parts of the vehicle are developed by Space Exploration Technologies, including the 2 liquid engines, the majority of the vehicle structure, ~75% of the avionics system and all of the software on the vehicle and on the ground.

The vehicle itself has 2 computers communicating during flight, and an extensive computer network within several SpaceX facilities supports the test and launch operations.

The Falcon 1 avionics system and its evolution over the first 4 flights will be presented with a focus on IT related components and operations.


Dr. Koenigsmann is the Chief Engineer for launch operations of the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicle. Prior to this position, he was responsible for the avionics, control system and software development at Space Exploration. His experience includes 4 (possibly 5 by the time of print) launches with SpaceX, two suborbital launches with newly developed vehicles, a satellite development and launch and several attitude control systems; his specialties are attitude control (in particular magnetic attitude control), orbit and attitude dynamics, systems engineering and guidance and control systems.

Dr. Koenigsmann has served as head of the Space Technology Division of Germany’s Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen. In that role, he was responsible for the development and operation of the satellite BREMSAT.

Dr. Koenigsmann then worked for Microcosm as a Chief Scientist and a Flight Systems Manager for their Scorpius sub-orbital launch vehicles, where he led a team that developed the vehicle’s avionics, guidance and control systems, as well as supported the thrust vector control development. For their Space System Division, he developed satellite attitude control systems, using a variety of control concepts, including wheels and magnetic torquers, for which he received a patent.

Dr.Koenigsmann has a Ph.D. in Aerospace and Production Technology from the University of Bremen and an M.S. Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin.

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