photo of Christopher D'Souza

Navigation Technical Lead for Human Spaceflight, GNC Autonomous Flight Systems Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center

B.S. ASE 1983, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S. ASE 1984, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D. ASE 1991, The University of Texas at Austin

Christopher D’Souza is the technical discipline lead for Human Spaceflight at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. He is also the deputy branch chief of the GNC Autonomous Flight Systems Branch where he leads a group of 22 engineers responsible for the onboard Navigation, Guidance and Targeting of crewed vehicles. His research interests include autonomous spacecraft navigation, estimation theory, optimal guidance laws and numerical methods in optimization.

Chris received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

His professional career began at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in January of 1985 as a maneuver analyst on the Magellan mission. From 1991 to 1996 he worked for the US Air Force developing trajectory optimization methods and advanced guidance laws and estimators for air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. In 1996 he began working at the Draper Laboratory in Cambridge on guidance and navigation systems for autonomous rendezvous and docking. Since 2005, he has worked at the Johnson Space Center on focusing on targeting, guidance, navigation for crewed spacecraft.

He was the GNC lead on the first air-to-surface missile that used Differential GPS. He is the principal architect of the Orion onboard navigation system, which consists of 4 separate navigation filters. He is the developer of a linear covariance analysis toolset that has been used in the design of the Artemis mission, from pre-launch to post-landing as well as other crewed vehicles. He has developed guidance laws for both planetary landing and intercept. He has nearly 100 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings.

He has served on the UT Austin ASE/EM External Advisory Board, the American Astronautical Society (AAS) Space Flight Mechanics Committee, the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Technical Committee and is an Associate Editor of the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics. He is an AIAA Fellow (2023), an AAS Fellow (2020) and has received the 2020 AIAA Mechanics of Flight Award and the 2023 AAS Dirk Brouwer Award. His honors also include several NASA Achievement Medals, numerous NASA Group Achievement Awards, and a NASA Software of the Year Award for the Orion Exploration Mission 1.

He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife, Connie, and their daughters, Olivia and Anna.