Highly accomplished Multidisciplinary Engineer with a broad background and extensive hands-on experience in Software design & development for real-time mission critical embedded systems, Robotic manipulator, Robot position and force control system design and implementation, Space Robotics Systems, Planetary Rover Operations, Autonomous navigation and localization, Control Systems design of unmanned ground vehicles, System Architectures, Dynamic Modeling, Multi-body dynamics simulation, Optimal state estimation (Kalman filtering).
Results-oriented Engineer with proven success in transitioning technology into flight, strategic thinking, and problem solving. Works effectively in a fast-paced environment and consistently prioritize tasks and meet deadlines. Excellent interpersonal skills, initiative, attention to detail, follow-through skills, with a reputation for dedication. Thrives in dynamic and fluid environments while remaining pragmatic and focused.
Spacecraft Autonomy and Flight Software
Programming Languages: C/C++, Java, FORTRAN, Perl, Python.
Technical Computing/Simulation: Matlab/Simulink, ADAMS.
Operating Systems: Unix/Linux, architecture experience in embedded VxWorks RTOS.
Others: UML, familiar with CMM/CMMI practices, DOORS (requirements management), Clearcase/Clearquest.
Task Lead for 3 research tasks at JPL 2004-2006
Task Technical Lead for the Stability Prediction System Task at NREC
Ph.D., E.E., Carnegie Mellon University
M.S., Eng. Carnegie Mellon University
M.S., C.S., Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
B.S., E.E., Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
· NASA Software of the Year Award. For the Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software. The prestigious Software of the Year Award is designed to give recognition to developers of exceptional software created for or by NASA and owned by NASA. November 2013.
· NASA Group Achievement Award, MSL Flight Software Team. For outstanding achievement in the design and development of the Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software. October 2013.
· NASA Space Act Award, Inventions and Contributions Board, Major Board Action Award for NTR 46437 “MSL Frame Manager Module”, April 2009.
· NASA Space Act Award, Software Award for NTR 46472 “MSL Rover flight software simulation for RSVP and Linux testing”, April 2009.
· NASA Space Act Award, Software Award for NTR 46437 “MSL Frame Manager Module”, November 2008.
· NASA Space Act Award, Inventions and Contributions Board for NTR 45137: “Planned Activity Complexity Evaluation (PACE)”, December 2007.
· NASA Space Act Award, Inventions and Contributions Board for NTR 41696: “Automated Rover Base Placement”, November 2006.
· JPL Spot Award. In recognition of outstanding support of the MER Opportunity Rover IDD anomaly resolution, September 2006.
· JPL Team Award. Technology Infusion to MER. Award presented by the Mars Exploration Directorate for successful flight code development and validation of autonomy algorithms for the MER mission, July 2006.
· JPL Team Award. CLARAty, September 2005.
· JPL Team Award. Moonrise Phase A Proposal Team, August 2005.
· JPL Team Award. Sampling Operations on Planetary Surfaces Moonrise demonstration, August 2005.
· JPL Lump Sum Merit Award, 2004.
· NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) ROSES-08: Panel Review Member.
· Reviewer for numerous conferences and Journals.
Robotics Engineer September 2013—present
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The PTR Group
09/2013—Present. Robotic Demonstration Testbed. Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office.
Senior Professional Staff May 2010—September 2013
Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory
04/2013—09/2013. NASA/APL Solar Probe Plus (SPP) Mission. GNC Flight Software Engineer.
10/2011—06/2013. NASA/JPL Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP). GNC Flight Software Engineer. Designed and developed flight software managers for the star tracker and inertial measurement unit. These software managers provide attitude measurements to the spacecraft's Guidance, Navigation and Control system. Developed analog data collection module. This module collects spacecraft raw sensor data and feeds the data converted to engineering units to a large number of spacecraft subsystems. Developed channelized telemetry collection module. Manages telemetry downlink.
05/2010—09/2011. Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS). Spacecraft Flight Software Lead. Developed schedules, flight software requirements, and trade studies.
Principal Member of Technical Staff August 2008—April 2010
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
08/2008—04/2010, Software Engineer, Trident II Mark 6 Life Extension Program. Developed parameter identification software for the Stellar Subsystem component of the MARK 6 MOD 1 Inertial Guidance System. Developed mission control software for the Flight Processor of the MARK 6 MOD 1 Inertial Guidance System to support parameter identification for the Stellar Subsystem.
Senior Member of Technical Staff August 2003—August 2008
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
10/2006—08/2008. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Flight Software Engineer. Navigation and Sample Acquisition/Sample Processing and Handling (SA/SPaH) Subsystems. Responsible for the development of the following flight software modules: Frame Manager, Sample Processing and Acquisition Manager, Regolith Sampler/Processing Unit, and Inlet Covers. Developed spacecraft command dictionary parser and 3D graphics visualization and animation of the MSL Rover flight software simulation for RSVP and Linux testing.
01/2006—12/2006. Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. Rover Planner. Surface mobility/navigation planning, instrument deploying device planning, and command generation. Responsible for planning driving and arm operations and interact with the scientists to evaluate possible science targets and reachability.
03/2006—05/2006. RTOS Evaluation Study for NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). Performed system integration tasks to create an embedded system using Wind River Platform Safety Critical 653 RTOS based on the ARINC standard. Implementation of test cases following the APEX API.
06/2005—12/2006. Mars Exploration Rover mission. Spacecraft/Rover Engineer. Responsible for monitoring the health, safety and performance of the Mobility/Instrument Deploying Device component of the MER Spirit and Opportunity spacecraft during flight operations.
05/2005—09/2006. “Whole rover-arm coordination”, Task Lead. Lead the development of algorithms for manipulator motion/force control to enable coring from a robotic arm. Development of rover base placement to accommodate the MER Opportunity rover IDD shoulder azimuth joint degradation.
11/2004—05/2005. “Moonrise Sample Operations on Planetary Surfaces”. Lead Controls Engineer. Lead the development of algorithms for manipulator control to enable automated digging from a robotic arm.
09/2004—12/2004. Team InSitu MSR fetch rover design trade studies. Mobility Engineer. Assessed the stability and control issues of concept rovers to negotiate rough terrain.
10/2003—08/2007. “Very Rough Terrain Nonholonomic Trajectory Generation and Motion Planning for Planetary Rovers”. Task Lead. Managed all aspects of the task at JPL. Responsible for the integration of the algorithms into the CLARAty robotic architecture. Coordinated CMU-JPL testing efforts on the Rocky 8 Rover and the Mars Yard.
10/2003—11/2004. CLARAty/Mechanism Model Package design team. Participated in the definition of the requirements to specify a unified approach for modeling mechanical properties of a robotic system for use by the CLARAty’s on-board software. Defined an XML-based language to describe mechanisms that conform to the requirements defined in this task.
08/2003—05/2005. CLARAty robotic architecture. Developed formal error models for camera-based absolute heading sun sensor to be used in an optimal estimation framework, implemented the camera-based absolute heading sun sensor algorithm. Designed and implemented the CLARAty/Manipulation package including kinematics (forward, inverse and differential), dynamics, and motion control. This package defines two main hierarchical frameworks: 1) a framework to describe models of n-dof serial kinematic chains and 2) a framework to describe hardware abstractions of specialized robotic arms, which implements motion control (both in joint and Cartesian space), and collision free arm path planning.
08/2003—10/2004. Research in manipulator control for JPL rovers testbed. Developed algorithms for collision-free arm path planning and rover base placement.
Consultant June 2004—August 2005
The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Developed an ADAMS parametric rigid body dynamic model for a novel, multi-legged hopping robot named “Robotic All-Terrain Surveyor” (RATS). This conceptual robot has a spherical body, with legs equally distributed over its surface. The legs were modeled as 1-DOF actuator and oriented such that their axes of motion are normal to the surface of the body. The goal of this work was to perform design trade studies with several leg configurations (length, number and arrangement) and body sizes. Mobility, force and energy analyses were performed on these configurations to evaluate the design from a number of aspects such as controllability, mobility, and efficiency.
Commercialization Specialist July 2001—July 2003
National Robotics Engineering Center,
The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
· Member of engineering staff supporting several government and industry funded projects, including: Future Combat Systems’ Unmanned Ground Combat Systems (UGCV), Gladiator, and PerceptOR.
· Developed Kalman filtering algorithms for outdoor mobile robot localization to support autonomous navigation and perception integrating accelerometers, gyros, magnetic compass, GPS and visual odometry.
· Performed mobility analyses for several robotic vehicles via modeling and simulation of vehicle dynamics, vehicle/environment interaction through tire/road interface, and mechanics of rollover for manned and unmanned off-road vehicles using the commercial package ADAMS.
Post-doctoral Fellow July 2000—July 2001
National Robotics Engineering Center,
The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
· Designed and implemented an optimal estimation filter (Kalman Filter) to assess the dynamic stability of off-road manned and unmanned vehicles, which can articulate significant mass. The goal of the system is to detect the onset of a tipover event through the use of inertial (accelerometers and gyros) and position (encoders) sensors.
· Implemented a simulation environment to test tipover sensing. The rigid body dynamic model of the vehicle was modeled in ADAMS and it was embedded in a MATLAB/Simulink model to implement the control system. The implementation of the stability prediction algorithms was done in C/C++. This system helped in the investigation of vehicle response to operator inputs and to validate the algorithms to asses the dynamic stability of the vehicle.
1. Zacny K., Diaz-Calderon A., Backes P., Davis K., Leger C., Mumm K., Tunstel E., Herman J., Paulsen G., and Y. Bar-Cohen. Planetary sample handling and processing. Drilling in Extreme Environments: Penetration and sampling on Earth and other planets. Editors: Yoseph Bar-Cohen and Kris Zacny. 2009 WILEY-VCH.
2. Diaz-Calderon A. and A. Kelly. Development of a terrain adaptive stability prediction system for mass articulating mobile robots. Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics, Vol. 24, 2006.
3. Kelly A., Stentz A., Amidi O., Bode M., Bradley D., Diaz-Calderon A., Happold M., Herman H., Mandelaum R., Pilarski T., Rander P., Thayer S., Vallidis N., and R. Warner. Toward Reliable Off Road Autonomous Vehicles Operating in Challenging Environments. International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 25, No. 5-6, May-June 2006, pp. 449-483.
4. Diaz-Calderon A., Nesnas I., Kim W., S., and H. D. Nayar. Towards a unified representation of mechanisms for robotic control software. International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems, Vol. 3, No 1, March 2006.
5. Nesnas I., Simmons R., Gaines D., Kunz C., Diaz-Calderon A., Estlin T., Madison R., Guineau J., McHenrry M., Shu I., and D. Apfelbaum. CLARAty: Challenges and Steps Toward Reusable Robotic Software. International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems Vol. 3, No 1, March 2006.
6. Diaz-Calderon A. and A. Kelly. On-line stability margin and attitude estimation for dynamic articulating mobile robots. International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 24, No 10, October 2005.
7. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. Automatic generation of system-level dynamic equations for mechatronic systems. Journal of Computer-Aided Design, v. 32, issue 5-6, pp. 339-354.
8. Paredis C. J. J., A. Diaz-Calderon, R. Sinha, and P. K. Khosla. Composable models for simulation-based design. Engineering with Computers. Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 112-128.
9. Diaz-Calderon A. and C. Hendrickson. Comparison of some computer-based task management approaches. Journal of Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, Vol. 8, Num 3, Summer 1994.
1. Backes P. and A. Diaz-Calderon. Collision-Free Path Planning for Robotic Manipulator. NPO-41697. September 2007 issue.
1. Kim W. S., Leger C., Peters S., Carsten J., and A. Diaz-Calderon. Mars Science Laboratory Frame Manager for Centralized Frame Tree Database and Target Pointing. 8th International Conference on System of Systems Engineering (SoSE 2013), 2-6 June 2013, Maui HI.
2. Corona A., Soto R., Diaz A., and J.L. Gordillo. Fuzzy Traversability Evaluation for AGV. The Twelfth IASTED International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control (ISC 2009), 2-4 November 2009, Cambridge MA.
3. Trebi-Ollennu A. and A. Diaz-Calderon. Planned activity complexity evaluation (PACE): Applied to Mars Exploration Rovers surface activities. The fourth International Conference on Computational Intelligence, Robotics and Autonomous (CIRAS 2007), 28-30 November 2007,Palmerston North, New Zealand.
4. Diaz-Calderon A., Backes P., and R. Bonitz. An Autonomous Robotic Scooping Approach for Planetary Sample Acquisition. 2007 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. October 2007.
5. Trebi-Ollennu A. and A. Diaz-Calderon. Planned activity complexity evaluation (PACE): Applied to Mars Exploration Rovers surface activities. Technical Report JPL Publication 07-4, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA, July 2007.
6. Backes P., Khatib O., Diaz-Calderon A., Warren J., Collins C., Paul G., and Chang Zensheu. Concept for coring from a low-mass rover. Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky Montana, March 2006.
7. Backes P., Diaz-Calderon A., Robinson M., Bajracharya M., and D. Helmick. Automated rover positioning and instrument placement. Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky Montana, March 5-12 2005.
8. Bajracharya M., Diaz-Calderon A., Robinson M. and M Powell. Target tracking, approach and camera handoff for automated instrument placement. Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky Montana, March 5-12 2005.
9. Diaz-Calderon A. and A. Kelly. Development of a terrain adaptive stability prediction system for mass articulating mobile robots. 4th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics, Mt. Fuji, Lake Yamanaka, Japan, July 2003.
10. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. Organization and selection of reconfigurable models. SCS 2000 Winter Simulation Conference, Orlando, FL, December 2000.
11. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. Reconfigurable models: A modeling paradigm to support simulation-based design. SCS 2000 Summer Computer Simulation Conference, Vancouver, B. C. Canada, July 2000.
12. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. A composable simulation environment for mechatronic systems. SCS 1999 European Simulation Symposium, Erlangen, Germany, October 1999.
13. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. Combining software components and symbolic equation manipulation in modeling and simulation of mechatronic systems. IEEE 10th International Symposium on Computer-Aided Control System Design, Hawaii, Hawaii, August 1999.
14. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. On the synthesis of the system graph for 3D mechanics. American Control Conference, San Diego, CA, June 1999.
15. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. A modular composable software architecture for the simulation of mechatronic systems. 1998 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Atlanta, GA, September 1998.
16. Diaz-Calderon A., D. Navin-Chandra and P. K. Khosla. Measuring the difficulty of assembly tasks from tool access information. IEEE International Symposium on Assembly and Task Planning, Pittsburgh, PA, August 1995.
17. Diaz-Calderon A., S. Fenves, J. Garrett and C. Hendrickson. A computer-based advisor for environmentally conscious, “green” product design. ASCE First Congress on Computing in Civil Engineering, Washington, D. C. June, 1994.
18. Diaz-Calderon A., C. J. J. Paredis and P. K. Khosla. On the synthesis of system-level dynamic equations for mechatronic systems. Tech. Report 04-06-99, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
19. Diaz-Calderon A. and C. Hendrickson. A comparison of task management approaches for engineering design processes. Tech. Report EDRC 12-59-93, Engineering Design Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
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