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Philip Twu


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S T1719-106

Pasadena, CA 91101


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Member of:

347R - Robot Ops and V&V

Philip Y Twu, PhD

Group Supervisor


Dr. Philip Twu is a Robotics System Engineer and Technical Group Supervisor of the Robot Ops and V&V Group. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, where his research focused on decentralized coordination algorithms for multi-robot systems.

From 2012-2017 Philip was at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) where he worked on and took leadership roles in a diverse portfolio of projects for NASA and DoD sponsors related to algorithm development, analysis, software engineering, and systems engineering. In these roles, Philip performed end-to-end system-of-systems analysis, concept exploration, trade studies, modeling, and simulation of networked sensor systems. He led a software development team to support planetary scientists in the visualization, mapping, and analysis of science data for small solar system bodies. Philip has also made critical contributions to spacecraft fault management integration and testing for the Parker Solar Probe mission, space system modeling and simulation for mission concept studies, and the development of autonomy algorithms for heterogeneous teams of unmanned vehicles.

Philip joined JPL in 2017 with the dream of contributing to the search for life in our solar system and has been primarily involved with flight projects. On the Mars 2020 mission, he was systems engineer for the Perseverance rover's new autonomous navigation system and also worked surface operations as mobility downlink chair. On the Europa Lander Pre-Project, he was Task Manager and Autonomy Architect for Surface Mission Autonomy where he led multi-disciplinary teams in concept formulation, system architecting, system modeling, software prototyping, integration and test, and knowledge capture documentation. Currently he works on the Psyche mission as the GN&C V&V Lead and L3 GN&C Deputy Lead.


  • Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012
  • M.S. in Space Systems Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2018
  • M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, 2008
  • B.S. in Computer Science, University of Maryland, 2008

Professional Experience

  • 2017-Present: Robotics System Engineer and Technical Group Supervisor, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    • Line Management
      • 2022-Present: Technical Group Supervisor for 347R (Robot Ops and V&V)
      • 2020-2022: Group Lead for 347P (Aerial and Orbital Image Analysis)
    • Project
      • 2022-Present: Psyche L3 GN&C Deputy Lead and GN&C V&V Lead
      • 2021-2022: Europa Lander Pre-Project Surface Mission Autonomy Task Manager and Autonomy Architect
      • 2020-2021: Mars 2020 Mobility Downlink Chair
      • 2017-2021: Mars 2020 Autonomous Navigation System Engineer
    • Community
      • 2020-2022: Asian American Council Vice-Chair
  • 2012-2017: Senior Professional Staff, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
    • 2015-2017: Vehicle Autonomy Engineer
    • 2012-2015: Network Tracking and Data Fusion Engineer
  • 2010-2011: Technical Summer Multiple Discipline Systems Engineer, MITRE Corporation
  • 2008-2012: Graduate Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology
    • 2009-2012: Graduate Research Assistant
    • 2008-2009: Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • 2007-2008: Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Maryland
  • 2007: Summer Intern, Intelligent Automation, Inc.
  • 2006-2007: Software Engineer, TRX Systems

Research Interests

  • Ocean Worlds Exploration
  • Solar System Exploration
  • Robotics Systems Engineering
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Space Systems Engineering
  • Education and Public Outreach


  • JPL Voyager Award (Inspiring Individuals and Fostering Collective Excellence Within the Mobility & Robotic Systems Group), 2023
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (GAA) (Perseverance Mobility Team), 2022
  • JPL Team Award (Psyche GNC Recovery and Replan), 2022
  • JPL Voyager Award (M2020 Anomaly Investigation), 2022
  • JPL Individual Award (Europa Lander Surface Mission Autonomy Team Leadership and Knowledge Capture), 2022
  • NASA Early Career Achievement Medal (ECAM) (M2020 Mobility Systems Engineering), 2021
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (GAA) (M2020 Flight Systems Engineering Team), 2021
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (GAA) (M2020 Guidance, Navigation, and Control Team), 2021
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (GAA) (M2020 Surface Phase Systems Engineering Team), 2021
  • JPL Individual Award (M2020 Commissioning and First Time Activities), 2021
  • JPL Team Award (M2020 SOX Phase Development and Execution), 2021
  • JPL Discovery Award (M2020 RNAV Systems Engineering), 2019
  • JPL Team Award (M2020 Heritage GNC/TRN/Surface GNC), 2018
  • JPL Team Award (Multi-Mission, Multi-Agent Autonomy Architecture), 2017
  • JHU/APL Space Swifties (Lightning Talks) First Place, 2016
  • JHU/APL Special Achievement Award, 2014
  • JHU/APL Special Achievement Award, 2013
  • JHU/APL Recognition Award, 2012
  • 29th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC) Best Graduate Student Paper, 2010
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, 2009
  • Georgia Institute of Technology President’s Fellowship, 2008 to 2012
  • A. James Clark School of Engineering Nariman Farvardin Scholarship, 2007 to 2008
  • A. James Clark School of Engineering Yurie Scholarship, 2006 to 2007
  • A. James Clark School of Engineering Merit Scholarship, 2006
  • Tau Beta Pi Electee Scholarship, 2006

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Flight Projects
Robot Operations


  1. S. Chien, J. P. de la Croix, J. Russino, C. Wagner, G. Rabideau, D. Wang, F. Mirza, C. Basich, G. Lim, D. Aguilar, Y. Marchetti, S. Tepsuporn, P. Twu, C. Mauceri, G. Tan-Wang, G. Reeves, "Onboard Scheduling and Execution to Address Uncertainty for a Planetary Lander," IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 23 October 2023.
  2. C. Wagner, C. Mauceri, P. Twu, Y. Marchetti, J. Russino, D. Aguilar, G. Rabideau, S. Tepsuporn, S. Chien, G. Reeves, "Demonstrating Autonomy for Complex Space Missions: A Europa Lander Mission Autonomy Prototype," Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (JAIS), 08 September 2023.
  1. Kerianne Hobbs, contributors Mohammad Ayoubi, John Bird, Joseph Bowkett, Mark Maimone, Philip Twu, Isaac Weintraub, "Year of autonomy in Alaskan glaciers, flight, Earth orbit, cislunar space and Mars," Aerospace America, December 2022, 01 December 2022.
  2. S. Chien, J. de la Croix, J. Russino, C. Wagner, G. Rabideau, D. Wang, G. Lim, D. Aguilar, Y. Marchetti, S. Tepsuporn, P. Twu, C. Mauceri, G. Tan-Wang, and G. Reeves, "Onboard Scheduling and Execution for Addressing Uncertainty in a Planetary Lander," 16th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation, 01 June 2022.
  3. Y. Marchetti, C. Wagner, P. Twu, M. Cameron, G. Reeves, G. Tan-Wang, S. Chien, R. Castano, K. Wagstaff, "In-situ science data analysis and curation for the Europa Lander autonomous mission prototype," Planetary Science Informatics and Data Analytics (PSIDA) 2022 Conference, 01 June 2022.
  4. R. Rieber, M. Stragier, P. Twu, M. McHenry, "Planning for a Martian Road Trip – the Mars2020 Mobility Systems Design," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2022.
  5. S. Brooks, T. Litwin, J. Biesiadecki, N. Abcouwer, T. Del Sesto, M. McHenry, S. Myint, P. Twu, D. Wai, "Testing Mars 2020 Flight Software and Hardware in the Surface System Development Environment," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2022.
  1. Michael McHenry, Neil Abcouwer, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Johnny Chang, Tyler Del Sesto, Andrew Johnson, Todd Litwin, Mark Maimone, Jack Morrison, Richard Rieber, Olivier Toupet, Philip Twu, "Mars 2020 Autonomous Rover Navigation," Proceedings of the 43rd AAS Rocky Mountain Section guidance, Navigation and Control Conference, Breckenridge, Colorado, 30 January 2020.