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Oral-History:Myron Kayton

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== About Myron Kayton<br> ==
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== About Myron Kayton  ==
  
Kayton spent much of his career working for TRW, NASA, and Litton, followed by running his own practice for 18 years. In his career he is most proud of his work on lunar modular electronics, shuttle electronics, and military cruise missiles. In the 1970s he had significant involvement in the Aeroespace Society of the IEEE. He found the IEEE useful in his career as a way of meeting colleagues worldwide, and as a convenient place to publish research and reduce duplicated effort. He discusses what he thinks will be the future of guidance and navigation systems, predicting the spread of for-profit GPS systems, the spread of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and the replacement of Very High-Frequency Omni-Ranges (VOHR), which currently control the airways, by GPS systems.  
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<p>Kayton spent much of his career working for TRW, NASA, and Litton, followed by running his own practice for 18 years. In his career he is most proud of his work on lunar modular electronics, shuttle electronics, and military cruise missiles. In the 1970s he had significant involvement in the [[IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society History|Aerospace Society of the IEEE]]. He found the IEEE useful in his career as a way of meeting colleagues worldwide, and as a convenient place to publish research and reduce duplicated effort. He discusses what he thinks will be the future of guidance and navigation systems, predicting the spread of for-profit [[Global Positioning System|GPS systems]], the spread of [[MEMS|Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)]], and the replacement of Very High-Frequency Omni-Ranges (VOHR), which currently control the airways, by [[Global Positioning System|GPS systems]]. </p>
  
== About the Interview<br> ==
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== About the Interview  ==
  
MYRON KAYTON: An Interview Conducted by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, 19 December 1999  
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<p>MYRON KAYTON: An Interview Conducted by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, 19 December 1999 </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>Interview # 387 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Inc. </p>
  
Interview # 387 for the IEEE History Center,&nbsp;The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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== Copyright Statement  ==
  
<br>  
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<p>This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. </p>
  
== Copyright Statement<br> ==
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<p>Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. </p>
  
This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.<br><br>  
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<p>It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>Myron Kayton, an oral history conducted in 1999 by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. </p>
  
Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. <br><br>
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== Interview  ==
  
<br>  
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<p>Interview: Myron Kayton </p>
  
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:<br>Myron Kayton, an oral history conducted in 1999 by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. <br>  
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<p>Interviewer: David Hochfelder </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>Date: 19 December 1999 </p>
  
== Interview<br>  ==
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<p>Place: Santa Monica, California </p>
 
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Interview: Myron Kayton <br>Interviewer: David Hochfelder <br>Date: 19 December 1999 <br>Place: Santa Monica, California<br><br>  
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=== Comparison of independent consulting and corporate employment  ===
 
=== Comparison of independent consulting and corporate employment  ===
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
Had you been running your own practice for eighteen years? <br>  
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<p>Had you been running your own practice for eighteen years? </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''
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<p>Yes. </p>
  
Yes. <br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>And how do you think it compares to working for TRW or Litton or NASA? </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
And how do you think it compares to working for TRW or Litton or NASA? <br>  
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<p>Well, there are good and bad features. The good part is that I can take on the kinds of projects I want and thereby learn new skills and technologies. At my age, I can adjust my schedule to play tennis three days a week or go away for a month or two if I wish (for example, to give IEEE Distinguished Lectures). When I worked for big companies, it was always hard to take even two consecutive weeks off. The bad part is that I don't see projects end-to-end as I did when I worked for TRW or NASA or Litton. At TRW, when I worked on a preliminary design, I could always visit the mid-phase Project Manager a year or two later and find out how the project was going. Did we make the right decisions during preliminary design? Should we have done it differently? As a Consulting Engineer, I can't do that anymore; I often do little pieces of projects and don't have the kind of visibility I would like. Whether you work for yourself or a big company, you can't have everything. </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''
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<p>What technical achievement in the course of your career are you most proud of? </p>
 
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Well, there are good and bad features. The good part is that I can take on the kinds of projects I want and thereby learn new skills and technologies. At my age, I can adjust my schedule to play tennis three days a week or go away for a month or two if I wish (for example, to give IEEE Distinguished Lectures). When I worked for big companies, it was always hard to take even two consecutive weeks off. The bad part is that I don't see projects end-to-end as I did when I worked for TRW or NASA or Litton. At TRW, when I worked on a preliminary design, I could always visit the mid-phase Project Manager a year or two later and find out how the project was going. Did we make the right decisions during preliminary design? Should we have done it differently? As a Consulting Engineer, I can't do that anymore; I often do little pieces of projects and don't have the kind of visibility I would like. Whether you work for yourself or a big company, you can't have everything. <br>
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<br>  
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'''Hochfelder:'''
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What technical achievement in the course of your career are you most proud of? <br>
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<br>  
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=== Lunar Module electronics for NASA; Space Shuttle electronics at TRW  ===
 
=== Lunar Module electronics for NASA; Space Shuttle electronics at TRW  ===
  
'''Kayton:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
The Lunar Module (LM) electronics. I think that the LM electronics was built the way I wanted it and I was pleased with that. The Space Shuttle electronics would probably be my second best achievement. I've done many others that I've been proud of. For example, the SRAM electronics was for a cruise missile; I did the initial design at Litton as my last project before I went to NASA. I climbed all over B-52s to see where to mount the stellar- inertial platform and worked out the error models including the deflection of the fuselage where the missiles were located. Litton got the contract and produced the guidance systems for twenty years. <br>  
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<p>The Lunar Module (LM) electronics. I think that the LM electronics was built the way I wanted it and I was pleased with that. The Space Shuttle electronics would probably be my second best achievement. I've done many others that I've been proud of. For example, the SRAM electronics was for a cruise missile; I did the initial design at Litton as my last project before I went to NASA. I climbed all over B-52s to see where to mount the stellar- inertial platform and worked out the error models including the deflection of the fuselage where the missiles were located. Litton got the contract and produced the guidance systems for twenty years. </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''
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<p>What was it in particular when you worked with NASA that you liked and that you were proud of? </p>
  
What was it in particular when you worked with NASA that you liked and that you were proud of? <br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<flashmp3>387 - kayton - clip 1.mp3</flashmp3>
  
'''Kayton:'''
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<p>Creating a design at the very top of the feeding chain and seeing it work. When I arrived, the LM avionics had just finished preliminary design so the sheet of paper wasn't clean. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous had already been chosen, MIT had worked out a direct ascent orbit (that was not used) and the descent guidance law. The Block-I Command Module was in detailed design (before the fire). I and many other engineers at NASA and its contractors made all the decisions about how the LM's electronics would be built and operated. I spent countless hours working on performance, interfaces, vendor problems, and projected flight procedures. Grumman and its contractors did the circuit design, integrated much of the equipment at their factory, and did many of the simulations. Those of us at NASA were doing simulations to determine fuel consumption and the configuration of the displays and controls for a manned lunar lander that no one had ever built before. We at NASA made sure everything worked together when it was finally assembled and tested. Attention to tiny details made it all work right the first time. I sometimes wonder, in the days of "cheaper, faster" whether my successors have the budgets and time to be as fanatical as we were. I remember the amount of time I spent on the design and testing of a box full of relays that substituted for astronauts on the only unmanned flight. </p>
  
Creating a design at the very top of the feeding chain and seeing it work. When I arrived, the LM avionics had just finished preliminary design so the sheet of paper wasn't clean. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous had already been chosen, MIT had worked out a direct ascent orbit (that was not used) and the descent guidance law. The Block-I Command Module was in detailed design (before the fire). I and many other engineers at NASA and its contractors made all the decisions about how the LM's electronics would be built and operated. I spent countless hours working on performance, interfaces, vendor problems, and projected flight procedures. Grumman and its contractors did the circuit design, integrated much of the equipment at their factory, and did many of the simulations. Those of us at NASA were doing simulations to determine fuel consumption and the configuration of the displays and controls for a manned lunar lander that no one had ever built before. We at NASA made sure everything worked together when it was finally assembled and tested. Attention to tiny details made it all work right the first time. I sometimes wonder, in the days of "cheaper, faster" whether my successors have the budgets and time to be as fanatical as we were. I remember the amount of time I spent on the design and testing of a box full of relays that substituted for astronauts on the only unmanned flight. <br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>So no chimpanzees or dogs? </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
So no chimpanzees or dogs? <br>
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<p>Right. The LM had lots of switches that could only be operated by the crew. For an unmanned flight, every one of those switches and hand controllers had to be wired into the relay box that could be operated either by a ground-selected sequencer or by the on-board computers. The switches had to operate in the right order and do whatever the astronauts would have done. Only one unmanned flight was needed, LM-1. I remember the scary feeling, to an engineer, of putting a crew in the second LM though I knew that all the unmanned test objectives had been met. At TRW, I brought my NASA LM experience and airplane experience to bear on the electronics for Space Shuttle, another vehicle no one had ever previously designed. Again, I spent countless hours with TRW and NASA experts on the design details. Because of the high cost and low reliability of digital computers at the time, I created a complex of (then) four redundant computers that did all the tasks needed to operate the Shuttle. At the beginning, we thought the computer complex would have to fly at least one unmanned flight. I did a side-study for the U.S. Air Force defining the modifications needed to land with a disabled crew, remembering my LM experiences. Happily, no unmanned Shuttle flights were needed. </p>
 
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<br>  
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'''Kayton:'''
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Right. The LM had lots of switches that could only be operated by the crew. For an unmanned flight, every one of those switches and hand controllers had to be wired into the relay box that could be operated either by a ground-selected sequencer or by the on-board computers. The switches had to operate in the right order and do whatever the astronauts would have done. Only one unmanned flight was needed, LM-1. I remember the scary feeling, to an engineer, of putting a crew in the second LM though I knew that all the unmanned test objectives had been met. At TRW, I brought my NASA LM experience and airplane experience to bear on the electronics for Space Shuttle, another vehicle no one had ever previously designed. Again, I spent countless hours with TRW and NASA experts on the design details. Because of the high cost and low reliability of digital computers at the time, I created a complex of (then) four redundant computers that did all the tasks needed to operate the Shuttle. At the beginning, we thought the computer complex would have to fly at least one unmanned flight. I did a side-study for the U.S. Air Force defining the modifications needed to land with a disabled crew, remembering my LM experiences. Happily, no unmanned Shuttle flights were needed. <br>
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<br>  
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=== IEEE and Aerospace Electronics Society  ===
 
=== IEEE and Aerospace Electronics Society  ===
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
Would you talk about your involvement with the IEEE and with the Aerospace Electronics Society? <br>  
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<p>Would you talk about your involvement with the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] and with the [[IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society History|Aerospace Electronics Society]]? </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''  
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<p>I joined [[IEEE History|IEEE]] as a student member when I was at MIT. I didn't really get involved much. I read the aerospace literature a lot while I was at MIT. When I was at Litton, I chaired a session on Inertial Navigation at the IEEE WESCON Conference. It was a hot new subject but that isn't involvement. I didn't really get involved in IEEE until the early '70s when, at an IEEE meeting, I volunteered to help the local Aerospace Society Chapter. I became membership chairman, then chapter head. Later, I served on the Board of Governors of the parent Society and became Membership Chairman, Technical Vice President, Executive Vice President and President. When my term ended, I was elected as Division Director so I got involved in IEEE corporate activities. On the Board, I had to look at IEEE as a two-hundred-million-dollar-a-year nonprofit business. Where was it going? How would it adapt to electronic publishing? How would it react to a shortage of volunteers caused by budget cuts in companies and universities? I served on the Transnational Committee to help accommodate the rapidly increasing number of members outside North America. </p>
  
I joined IEEE as a student member when I was at MIT. I didn't really get involved much. I read the aerospace literature a lot while I was at MIT. When I was at Litton, I chaired a session on Inertial Navigation at the IEEE WESCON Conference. It was a hot new subject but that isn't involvement. I didn't really get involved in IEEE until the early '70s when, at an IEEE meeting, I volunteered to help the local Aerospace Society Chapter. I became membership chairman, then chapter head. Later, I served on the Board of Governors of the parent Society and became Membership Chairman, Technical Vice President, Executive Vice President and President. When my term ended, I was elected as Division Director so I got involved in IEEE corporate activities. On the Board, I had to look at IEEE as a two-hundred-million-dollar-a-year nonprofit business. Where was it going? How would it adapt to electronic publishing? How would it react to a shortage of volunteers caused by budget cuts in companies and universities? I served on the Transnational Committee to help accommodate the rapidly increasing number of members outside North America. <br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>Talk about why the IEEE has been important for your career-why you felt it important to be involved in running its affairs. </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
Talk about why the IEEE has been important for your career-why you felt it important to be involved in running its affairs. <br>  
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<p>I think meeting my peers in other organizations and in other countries has been the most interesting. I have had the satisfaction of running conferences, writing articles, and lecturing for benefit of IEEE members. I'm on the Distinguished Lecture Panel for AES, I've lectured in South America, Russia, Finland, Spain, all over the U.S. and Canada, Hong Kong, and India. I've met my counterparts there and listened to their concerns, goals and desires. People in each country have their own viewpoint that I would not have understood unless I went there and met them. As to why I participate in IEEE affairs, I do it as a service to the profession. </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''
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<p>How do you think IEEE has influenced the state of the art in your field? </p>
  
I think meeting my peers in other organizations and in other countries has been the most interesting. I have had the satisfaction of running conferences, writing articles, and lecturing for benefit of IEEE members. I'm on the Distinguished Lecture Panel for AES, I've lectured in South America, Russia, Finland, Spain, all over the U.S. and Canada, Hong Kong, and India. I've met my counterparts there and listened to their concerns, goals and desires. People in each country have their own viewpoint that I would not have understood unless I went there and met them. As to why I participate in IEEE affairs, I do it as a service to the profession. <br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<flashmp3>387 - kayton - clip 2.mp3</flashmp3>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>In the 1950s to 1970s, the U.S. government was funding most high technology and IEEE was an important vehicle for publishing. There wasn't a lot of duplicate work: Honeywell did not have to repeat what Litton did, and Litton didn't have to repeat the laser gyroscope work that Sperry was doing. Everything was published openly because the government owned everything. For instance, I submitted several patent disclosures at Litton which the company did not pursue because the government owned the rights and commercial use of our expensive gadgets was unlikely. Today that has all changed. Everybody wants to patent stuff; everybody wants to keep their work secret. Thus, IEEE's publications are becoming much more academic and companies are duplicating their research as did non-government companies in the 1950s-1970s. IEEE's role is clearly changing. When I was at MIT in my doctoral program, Russian was a mandatory language. We read the Russian papers and found them to be math treatises, totally unrelated to the real world. It took an hour per page to read a paper that didn't say anything. We used to speculate that the people doing the real work weren't allowed to publish in Russia. In the year 2000, the United States is getting to the same point. The people doing the real work are being silenced for patent reasons or are working too hard and don't have spare time to write. In those days, at least when I worked at Litton, NASA, and TRW, you were able to go to conferences and write papers, at least partly on company time. Today, everything is under-budgeted and the kids are working day and night. Besides, lawyers in the company tell them they can't publish anything. So we're back to where the Russians were in the 1950s - publishing theoretical academic papers. </p>
  
How do you think IEEE has influenced the state of the art in your field? <br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>So for fear of letting proprietary information leak out? </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
In the 1950s to 1970s, the U.S. government was funding most high technology and IEEE was an important vehicle for publishing. There wasn't a lot of duplicate work: Honeywell did not have to repeat what Litton did, and Litton didn't have to repeat the laser gyroscope work that Sperry was doing. Everything was published openly because the government owned everything. For instance, I submitted several patent disclosures at Litton which the company did not pursue because the government owned the rights and commercial use of our expensive gadgets was unlikely. Today that has all changed. Everybody wants to patent stuff; everybody wants to keep their work secret. Thus, IEEE's publications are becoming much more academic and companies are duplicating their research as did non-government companies in the 1950s-1970s. IEEE's role is clearly changing. When I was at MIT in my doctoral program, Russian was a mandatory language. We read the Russian papers and found them to be math treatises, totally unrelated to the real world. It took an hour per page to read a paper that didn't say anything. We used to speculate that the people doing the real work weren't allowed to publish in Russia. In the year 2000, the United States is getting to the same point. The people doing the real work are being silenced for patent reasons or are working too hard and don't have spare time to write. In those days, at least when I worked at Litton, NASA, and TRW, you were able to go to conferences and write papers, at least partly on company time. Today, everything is under-budgeted and the kids are working day and night. Besides, lawyers in the company tell them they can't publish anything. So we're back to where the Russians were in the 1950s - publishing theoretical academic papers. <br>  
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<p>Yes, I think that's exactly what's happening. I finished a survey paper for an IEEE 50th anniversary publication. While trying to get photographs and data, I sensed people telling me "There are things we can't tell you." </p>
 
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<br>
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'''Hochfelder:'''
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So for fear of letting proprietary information leak out? <br>
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<br>
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'''Kayton:'''
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Yes, I think that's exactly what's happening. I finished a survey paper for an IEEE 50th anniversary publication. While trying to get photographs and data, I sensed people telling me "There are things we can't tell you." <br>  
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=== Predictions on the future of aerospace electronics, GPS navigation satellites  ===
 
=== Predictions on the future of aerospace electronics, GPS navigation satellites  ===
  
'''Hochfelder:'''
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
 
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Yes, interesting. We can move towards wrapping up by talking about what you see as the future of aerospace electronics with the future of guidance and navigation systems maybe in the next ten to twenty years qualitatively, and also what some of the technologies might be to implement the qualitative advancements.<br>  
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<br>
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'''Kayton:'''
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One big change is the pervasive presence of the GPS navigation satellites. One consequence is that the accuracy of inertial systems that support GPS (for smoothing and failure detection) doesn't have to be so high. Thus, micro-machined instruments called Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS). MEMS are perfectly adequate for GPS (Global Positioning System)-inertial systems but are not accurate enough today for stand-alone inertial use. <br>
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<br>
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'''Hochfelder:'''  
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Now, by MEMS you mean? <br>
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<br>  
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'''Kayton:'''
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<p>Yes, interesting. We can move towards wrapping up by talking about what you see as the future of aerospace electronics with the future of guidance and navigation systems maybe in the next ten to twenty years qualitatively, and also what some of the technologies might be to implement the qualitative advancements. </p>
  
Accelerometers and vibrating rate sensors etched into silicon chips with integral buffer electronics. We are already seeing them in airbag sensors in the passenger compartment, although not yet under the hood where they can't tolerate the high temperature. Eventually MEMS will be there, too; these limitations are transitory. One of the key changes in the next ten years is going to be the widespread use of inertial MEMS sensors in the cockpit (for flight control and navigation) and in the automobile (for ride control and suspension). Looking further out, GPS is going to die because the US taxpayers can't get reimbursed for maintaining it. GPS sends one-way navigation signals so anyone can receive them. Japanese, Europeans and everybody else use it free of charge and the U.S. taxpayers foot all the bills. In ten years, financially-solvent, low- altitude com-nav satellites will offer navigation services for a fee. When you dial-up for a communication report, you'll also get ranging tones. Once that's possible, the taxpayers are going to ask why they are paying for a GPS navigation system when those who need it can buy navigation services privately. The military will insist on its own navigation aid but Congress should remind them that they use commercial off-the-shelf parts and that private com- nav is just another commercial part. GPS' demise is unlikely before 2020. Then, precise inertial navigation will again be needed to extrapolate between position fixes half-an-hour apart. <br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>One big change is the pervasive presence of the [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] navigation satellites. One consequence is that the accuracy of inertial systems that support [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] (for smoothing and failure detection) doesn't have to be so high. Thus, micro-machined instruments called [[MEMS|Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)]]. [[MEMS|MEMS]] are perfectly adequate for [[Global Positioning System|GPS (Global Positioning System)]]-inertial systems but are not accurate enough today for stand-alone inertial use. </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
So it won't be continuous. <br>  
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<p>Now, by [[MEMS|MEMS]] you mean? </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''  
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<p>Accelerometers and vibrating rate sensors etched into silicon chips with integral buffer electronics. We are already seeing them in airbag sensors in the passenger compartment, although not yet under the hood where they can't tolerate the high temperature. Eventually [[MEMS|MEMS]] will be there, too; these limitations are transitory. One of the key changes in the next ten years is going to be the widespread use of inertial [[MEMS|MEMS]] sensors in the cockpit (for flight control and navigation) and in the automobile (for ride control and suspension). Looking further out, [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] is going to die because the US taxpayers can't get reimbursed for maintaining it. [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] sends one-way navigation signals so anyone can receive them. Japanese, Europeans and everybody else use it free of charge and the U.S. taxpayers foot all the bills. In ten years, financially-solvent, low- altitude com-nav satellites will offer navigation services for a fee. When you dial-up for a communication report, you'll also get ranging tones. Once that's possible, the taxpayers are going to ask why they are paying for a [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] navigation system when those who need it can buy navigation services privately. The military will insist on its own navigation aid but Congress should remind them that they use commercial off-the-shelf parts and that private com- nav is just another commercial part. [[Global Positioning System|GPS]]' demise is unlikely before 2020. Then, precise inertial navigation will again be needed to extrapolate between position fixes half-an-hour apart. </p>
  
It will be discontinuous. You'll need an inertial navigator to fill in the gaps as in the day of the Transit satellite. By 2020, precise, cheap MEMS will exist, perhaps optical MEMS. We don't know what is going to happen next. MEMS is one of the important trends in guidance and navigation. Another important trend will be replacing the entire western world's navigation aids - the VORs that define airways throughout Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada, and South America - with GPS and associated ground stations. <br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>So it won't be continuous. </p>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
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<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
The VOR? <br>  
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<p>It will be discontinuous. You'll need an inertial navigator to fill in the gaps as in the day of the Transit satellite. By 2020, precise, cheap [[MEMS|MEMS]] will exist, perhaps optical [[MEMS|MEMS]]. We don't know what is going to happen next. [[MEMS|MEMS]] is one of the important trends in guidance and navigation. Another important trend will be replacing the entire western world's navigation aids - the VORs that define airways throughout Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada, and South America - with [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] and associated ground stations. </p>
  
<br>  
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<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
'''Kayton:'''
+
<p>The VOR? </p>
  
The Very High Frequency Omni-ranges. They were installed just after World War II and are the basis of the airways of the western world. The Russians and Chinese once refused to put them in but are now installing VORs just as they are about to become obsolete. VOR won't suddenly vanish; major airways will be defined by VOR and GPS will be used off-airways but eventually all the VORs will have to go. They are expensive to maintain and there are an awful lot of them. Twenty-four GPS satellites and a few ground stations can replace them all. I think the U.S. alone has a thousand VOR stations; Europe has probably about half as many. Including Japan and Australia, there are probably a couple of thousand installations. They have to be repaired and communication links must be maintained via leased phone lines. Many are at inaccessible locations (on mountain tops). So that's a next step in aircraft guidance and control. The VOR network will have lasted from 1945 to 2010 or so; sixty or seventy years. There's a discussion, much of it at the IEEE Position Location and Navigation Conference, of whether the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) will be replaced by GPS or whether some airports will keep ILS and others will add Microwave Landing Systems. Today, the outcome is hard to predict; ILSs do the job but many are needed. They have to be calibrated periodically but so do the GPS landing aids. There is going to be a big change in landing aids in the next ten years. In space, flight control will focus on distributed sensors and actuators for large flexible structures and on rotation around non-principal axes. Past spacecraft were rigid and symmetrical. Thus, when you fire a couple of opposed rocket motors, the spacecraft turns around one axis. When you deal with flexible asymmetric spacecraft, you apply a torque and the vehicle responds in all three axes; it starts to wobble. You've got to learn how to apply torques so the rotation occurs around the desired axis without wobbling. In principle, that's easy; my classical mechanics course at Harvard taught me how to do that. Implementing it is very difficult. Another trend is in aircraft collision avoidance. On one hand, aircraft interrogate each other by measuring spacing and azimuth. On the other hand, ground controllers see many aircraft on their radars and issue clearances to each one to keep them apart. Suppose an aircraft detects an impending collision with another aircraft or the ground using on-board sensors. It does not have the right to deviate laterally or up-down without an amended clearance. The modern trend is to rely more on on-board electronics and less on the ground controller but the procedures and regulations need to be sorted out in a multi-aircraft environment. Terrain maps are still another issue for the future. As digital maps of world-wide terrain become available, they are being put into airplanes and automobiles. In airplanes, descent limits are already being set based on calculated height above the terrain. If an aircraft descends too low or too quickly, the electronics can warn the crew long before the radar altimeter would have picked up the ground. Automobile street and road maps are already in use for navigating in strange cities, for deliveries, and for emergency vehicles. Digital maps are a new field that's just beginning. Twenty years ago, I invented a map-based navigation system for the B-2, which was interested in avoiding radars. The project was not interested in terrain avoidance by calculation. Today, terrain and the locations of hostile radars are stored in military mission- planning data bases. Still another issue for the future is the collection of a tremendous amount of data on a vehicle that can be analyzed for diagnostics. When an airplane lands, there will be equipment and people ready to fix the problems. Maintenance crews will be able to turn planes around more quickly, and have parts ready. The radio links already exist; they are being used for dispatch discussions and clearance data, they can certainly be used to send diagnostic data. Flight recorders already measure two or three hundred points whereas they used to measure only eight analog points. From the radio transmission of two hundred variables, the ground maintenance department can figure out what problems the aircraft has and get ready to fix them. As automobiles become more complex, services will be created that collect radioed data and do the same thing. Poor people will do their own diagnosis.<br>  
+
<p>'''Kayton:''' </p>
  
<br>  
+
<flashmp3>387 - kayton - clip 3.mp3</flashmp3>
  
'''Hochfelder:'''  
+
<p>The Very High Frequency Omni-ranges. They were installed just after World War II and are the basis of the airways of the western world. The Russians and Chinese once refused to put them in but are now installing VORs just as they are about to become obsolete. VOR won't suddenly vanish; major airways will be defined by VOR and [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] will be used off-airways but eventually all the VORs will have to go. They are expensive to maintain and there are an awful lot of them. Twenty-four [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] satellites and a few ground stations can replace them all. I think the U.S. alone has a thousand VOR stations; Europe has probably about half as many. Including Japan and Australia, there are probably a couple of thousand installations. They have to be repaired and communication links must be maintained via leased phone lines. Many are at inaccessible locations (on mountain tops). So that's a next step in aircraft guidance and control. The VOR network will have lasted from 1945 to 2010 or so; sixty or seventy years. There's a discussion, much of it at the IEEE Position Location and Navigation Conference, of whether the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) will be replaced by [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] or whether some airports will keep ILS and others will add Microwave Landing Systems. Today, the outcome is hard to predict; ILSs do the job but many are needed. They have to be calibrated periodically but so do the [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] landing aids. There is going to be a big change in landing aids in the next ten years. In space, flight control will focus on distributed sensors and actuators for large flexible structures and on rotation around non-principal axes. Past spacecraft were rigid and symmetrical. Thus, when you fire a couple of opposed rocket motors, the spacecraft turns around one axis. When you deal with flexible asymmetric spacecraft, you apply a torque and the vehicle responds in all three axes; it starts to wobble. You've got to learn how to apply torques so the rotation occurs around the desired axis without wobbling. In principle, that's easy; my classical mechanics course at Harvard taught me how to do that. Implementing it is very difficult. Another trend is in aircraft collision avoidance. On one hand, aircraft interrogate each other by measuring spacing and azimuth. On the other hand, ground controllers see many aircraft on their radars and issue clearances to each one to keep them apart. Suppose an aircraft detects an impending collision with another aircraft or the ground using on-board sensors. It does not have the right to deviate laterally or up-down without an amended clearance. The modern trend is to rely more on on-board electronics and less on the ground controller but the procedures and regulations need to be sorted out in a multi-aircraft environment. Terrain maps are still another issue for the future. As digital maps of world-wide terrain become available, they are being put into airplanes and automobiles. In airplanes, descent limits are already being set based on calculated height above the terrain. If an aircraft descends too low or too quickly, the electronics can warn the crew long before the radar altimeter would have picked up the ground. Automobile street and road maps are already in use for navigating in strange cities, for deliveries, and for emergency vehicles. Digital maps are a new field that's just beginning. Twenty years ago, I invented a map-based navigation system for the B-2, which was interested in avoiding radars. The project was not interested in terrain avoidance by calculation. Today, terrain and the locations of hostile radars are stored in military mission- planning data bases. Still another issue for the future is the collection of a tremendous amount of data on a vehicle that can be analyzed for diagnostics. When an airplane lands, there will be equipment and people ready to fix the problems. Maintenance crews will be able to turn planes around more quickly, and have parts ready. The radio links already exist; they are being used for dispatch discussions and clearance data, they can certainly be used to send diagnostic data. Flight recorders already measure two or three hundred points whereas they used to measure only eight analog points. From the radio transmission of two hundred variables, the ground maintenance department can figure out what problems the aircraft has and get ready to fix them. As automobiles become more complex, services will be created that collect radioed data and do the same thing. Poor people will do their own diagnosis. </p>
  
Thank you for the interview.<br><br>  
+
<p>'''Hochfelder:''' </p>
  
[[Category:People_and_organizations]] [[Category:Scientists]] [[Category:Government]] [[Category:Transportation]] [[Category:Aerospace_and_electronic_systems]] [[Category:Navigation]] [[Category:Satellite_navigation_systems]]
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<p>Thank you for the interview. </p>
  
[[Category:IEEE]]
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[[Category:People and organizations|Kayton]] [[Category:Scientists|Kayton]] [[Category:Government|Kayton]] [[Category:Transportation|Kayton]] [[Category:Aerospace and electronic systems|Kayton]] [[Category:Navigation|Kayton]] [[Category:Satellite navigation systems|Kayton]] [[Category:IEEE|Kayton]] [[Category:Technical units|Kayton]] [[Category:Societies|Kayton]] [[Category:News|Kayton]]

Revision as of 18:33, 29 March 2012

Contents

About Myron Kayton

Kayton spent much of his career working for TRW, NASA, and Litton, followed by running his own practice for 18 years. In his career he is most proud of his work on lunar modular electronics, shuttle electronics, and military cruise missiles. In the 1970s he had significant involvement in the Aerospace Society of the IEEE. He found the IEEE useful in his career as a way of meeting colleagues worldwide, and as a convenient place to publish research and reduce duplicated effort. He discusses what he thinks will be the future of guidance and navigation systems, predicting the spread of for-profit GPS systems, the spread of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and the replacement of Very High-Frequency Omni-Ranges (VOHR), which currently control the airways, by GPS systems.

About the Interview

MYRON KAYTON: An Interview Conducted by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, 19 December 1999

Interview # 387 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Myron Kayton, an oral history conducted in 1999 by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: Myron Kayton

Interviewer: David Hochfelder

Date: 19 December 1999

Place: Santa Monica, California

Comparison of independent consulting and corporate employment

Hochfelder:

Had you been running your own practice for eighteen years?

Kayton:

Yes.

Hochfelder:

And how do you think it compares to working for TRW or Litton or NASA?

Kayton:

Well, there are good and bad features. The good part is that I can take on the kinds of projects I want and thereby learn new skills and technologies. At my age, I can adjust my schedule to play tennis three days a week or go away for a month or two if I wish (for example, to give IEEE Distinguished Lectures). When I worked for big companies, it was always hard to take even two consecutive weeks off. The bad part is that I don't see projects end-to-end as I did when I worked for TRW or NASA or Litton. At TRW, when I worked on a preliminary design, I could always visit the mid-phase Project Manager a year or two later and find out how the project was going. Did we make the right decisions during preliminary design? Should we have done it differently? As a Consulting Engineer, I can't do that anymore; I often do little pieces of projects and don't have the kind of visibility I would like. Whether you work for yourself or a big company, you can't have everything.

Hochfelder:

What technical achievement in the course of your career are you most proud of?

Lunar Module electronics for NASA; Space Shuttle electronics at TRW

Kayton:

The Lunar Module (LM) electronics. I think that the LM electronics was built the way I wanted it and I was pleased with that. The Space Shuttle electronics would probably be my second best achievement. I've done many others that I've been proud of. For example, the SRAM electronics was for a cruise missile; I did the initial design at Litton as my last project before I went to NASA. I climbed all over B-52s to see where to mount the stellar- inertial platform and worked out the error models including the deflection of the fuselage where the missiles were located. Litton got the contract and produced the guidance systems for twenty years.

Hochfelder:

What was it in particular when you worked with NASA that you liked and that you were proud of?

Kayton:

Creating a design at the very top of the feeding chain and seeing it work. When I arrived, the LM avionics had just finished preliminary design so the sheet of paper wasn't clean. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous had already been chosen, MIT had worked out a direct ascent orbit (that was not used) and the descent guidance law. The Block-I Command Module was in detailed design (before the fire). I and many other engineers at NASA and its contractors made all the decisions about how the LM's electronics would be built and operated. I spent countless hours working on performance, interfaces, vendor problems, and projected flight procedures. Grumman and its contractors did the circuit design, integrated much of the equipment at their factory, and did many of the simulations. Those of us at NASA were doing simulations to determine fuel consumption and the configuration of the displays and controls for a manned lunar lander that no one had ever built before. We at NASA made sure everything worked together when it was finally assembled and tested. Attention to tiny details made it all work right the first time. I sometimes wonder, in the days of "cheaper, faster" whether my successors have the budgets and time to be as fanatical as we were. I remember the amount of time I spent on the design and testing of a box full of relays that substituted for astronauts on the only unmanned flight.

Hochfelder:

So no chimpanzees or dogs?

Kayton:

Right. The LM had lots of switches that could only be operated by the crew. For an unmanned flight, every one of those switches and hand controllers had to be wired into the relay box that could be operated either by a ground-selected sequencer or by the on-board computers. The switches had to operate in the right order and do whatever the astronauts would have done. Only one unmanned flight was needed, LM-1. I remember the scary feeling, to an engineer, of putting a crew in the second LM though I knew that all the unmanned test objectives had been met. At TRW, I brought my NASA LM experience and airplane experience to bear on the electronics for Space Shuttle, another vehicle no one had ever previously designed. Again, I spent countless hours with TRW and NASA experts on the design details. Because of the high cost and low reliability of digital computers at the time, I created a complex of (then) four redundant computers that did all the tasks needed to operate the Shuttle. At the beginning, we thought the computer complex would have to fly at least one unmanned flight. I did a side-study for the U.S. Air Force defining the modifications needed to land with a disabled crew, remembering my LM experiences. Happily, no unmanned Shuttle flights were needed.

IEEE and Aerospace Electronics Society

Hochfelder:

Would you talk about your involvement with the IEEE and with the Aerospace Electronics Society?

Kayton:

I joined IEEE as a student member when I was at MIT. I didn't really get involved much. I read the aerospace literature a lot while I was at MIT. When I was at Litton, I chaired a session on Inertial Navigation at the IEEE WESCON Conference. It was a hot new subject but that isn't involvement. I didn't really get involved in IEEE until the early '70s when, at an IEEE meeting, I volunteered to help the local Aerospace Society Chapter. I became membership chairman, then chapter head. Later, I served on the Board of Governors of the parent Society and became Membership Chairman, Technical Vice President, Executive Vice President and President. When my term ended, I was elected as Division Director so I got involved in IEEE corporate activities. On the Board, I had to look at IEEE as a two-hundred-million-dollar-a-year nonprofit business. Where was it going? How would it adapt to electronic publishing? How would it react to a shortage of volunteers caused by budget cuts in companies and universities? I served on the Transnational Committee to help accommodate the rapidly increasing number of members outside North America.

Hochfelder:

Talk about why the IEEE has been important for your career-why you felt it important to be involved in running its affairs.

Kayton:

I think meeting my peers in other organizations and in other countries has been the most interesting. I have had the satisfaction of running conferences, writing articles, and lecturing for benefit of IEEE members. I'm on the Distinguished Lecture Panel for AES, I've lectured in South America, Russia, Finland, Spain, all over the U.S. and Canada, Hong Kong, and India. I've met my counterparts there and listened to their concerns, goals and desires. People in each country have their own viewpoint that I would not have understood unless I went there and met them. As to why I participate in IEEE affairs, I do it as a service to the profession.

Hochfelder:

How do you think IEEE has influenced the state of the art in your field?

Kayton:

In the 1950s to 1970s, the U.S. government was funding most high technology and IEEE was an important vehicle for publishing. There wasn't a lot of duplicate work: Honeywell did not have to repeat what Litton did, and Litton didn't have to repeat the laser gyroscope work that Sperry was doing. Everything was published openly because the government owned everything. For instance, I submitted several patent disclosures at Litton which the company did not pursue because the government owned the rights and commercial use of our expensive gadgets was unlikely. Today that has all changed. Everybody wants to patent stuff; everybody wants to keep their work secret. Thus, IEEE's publications are becoming much more academic and companies are duplicating their research as did non-government companies in the 1950s-1970s. IEEE's role is clearly changing. When I was at MIT in my doctoral program, Russian was a mandatory language. We read the Russian papers and found them to be math treatises, totally unrelated to the real world. It took an hour per page to read a paper that didn't say anything. We used to speculate that the people doing the real work weren't allowed to publish in Russia. In the year 2000, the United States is getting to the same point. The people doing the real work are being silenced for patent reasons or are working too hard and don't have spare time to write. In those days, at least when I worked at Litton, NASA, and TRW, you were able to go to conferences and write papers, at least partly on company time. Today, everything is under-budgeted and the kids are working day and night. Besides, lawyers in the company tell them they can't publish anything. So we're back to where the Russians were in the 1950s - publishing theoretical academic papers.

Hochfelder:

So for fear of letting proprietary information leak out?

Kayton:

Yes, I think that's exactly what's happening. I finished a survey paper for an IEEE 50th anniversary publication. While trying to get photographs and data, I sensed people telling me "There are things we can't tell you."

Predictions on the future of aerospace electronics, GPS navigation satellites

Hochfelder:

Yes, interesting. We can move towards wrapping up by talking about what you see as the future of aerospace electronics with the future of guidance and navigation systems maybe in the next ten to twenty years qualitatively, and also what some of the technologies might be to implement the qualitative advancements.

Kayton:

One big change is the pervasive presence of the GPS navigation satellites. One consequence is that the accuracy of inertial systems that support GPS (for smoothing and failure detection) doesn't have to be so high. Thus, micro-machined instruments called Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS). MEMS are perfectly adequate for GPS (Global Positioning System)-inertial systems but are not accurate enough today for stand-alone inertial use.

Hochfelder:

Now, by MEMS you mean?

Kayton:

Accelerometers and vibrating rate sensors etched into silicon chips with integral buffer electronics. We are already seeing them in airbag sensors in the passenger compartment, although not yet under the hood where they can't tolerate the high temperature. Eventually MEMS will be there, too; these limitations are transitory. One of the key changes in the next ten years is going to be the widespread use of inertial MEMS sensors in the cockpit (for flight control and navigation) and in the automobile (for ride control and suspension). Looking further out, GPS is going to die because the US taxpayers can't get reimbursed for maintaining it. GPS sends one-way navigation signals so anyone can receive them. Japanese, Europeans and everybody else use it free of charge and the U.S. taxpayers foot all the bills. In ten years, financially-solvent, low- altitude com-nav satellites will offer navigation services for a fee. When you dial-up for a communication report, you'll also get ranging tones. Once that's possible, the taxpayers are going to ask why they are paying for a GPS navigation system when those who need it can buy navigation services privately. The military will insist on its own navigation aid but Congress should remind them that they use commercial off-the-shelf parts and that private com- nav is just another commercial part. GPS' demise is unlikely before 2020. Then, precise inertial navigation will again be needed to extrapolate between position fixes half-an-hour apart.

Hochfelder:

So it won't be continuous.

Kayton:

It will be discontinuous. You'll need an inertial navigator to fill in the gaps as in the day of the Transit satellite. By 2020, precise, cheap MEMS will exist, perhaps optical MEMS. We don't know what is going to happen next. MEMS is one of the important trends in guidance and navigation. Another important trend will be replacing the entire western world's navigation aids - the VORs that define airways throughout Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada, and South America - with GPS and associated ground stations.

Hochfelder:

The VOR?

Kayton:

The Very High Frequency Omni-ranges. They were installed just after World War II and are the basis of the airways of the western world. The Russians and Chinese once refused to put them in but are now installing VORs just as they are about to become obsolete. VOR won't suddenly vanish; major airways will be defined by VOR and GPS will be used off-airways but eventually all the VORs will have to go. They are expensive to maintain and there are an awful lot of them. Twenty-four GPS satellites and a few ground stations can replace them all. I think the U.S. alone has a thousand VOR stations; Europe has probably about half as many. Including Japan and Australia, there are probably a couple of thousand installations. They have to be repaired and communication links must be maintained via leased phone lines. Many are at inaccessible locations (on mountain tops). So that's a next step in aircraft guidance and control. The VOR network will have lasted from 1945 to 2010 or so; sixty or seventy years. There's a discussion, much of it at the IEEE Position Location and Navigation Conference, of whether the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) will be replaced by GPS or whether some airports will keep ILS and others will add Microwave Landing Systems. Today, the outcome is hard to predict; ILSs do the job but many are needed. They have to be calibrated periodically but so do the GPS landing aids. There is going to be a big change in landing aids in the next ten years. In space, flight control will focus on distributed sensors and actuators for large flexible structures and on rotation around non-principal axes. Past spacecraft were rigid and symmetrical. Thus, when you fire a couple of opposed rocket motors, the spacecraft turns around one axis. When you deal with flexible asymmetric spacecraft, you apply a torque and the vehicle responds in all three axes; it starts to wobble. You've got to learn how to apply torques so the rotation occurs around the desired axis without wobbling. In principle, that's easy; my classical mechanics course at Harvard taught me how to do that. Implementing it is very difficult. Another trend is in aircraft collision avoidance. On one hand, aircraft interrogate each other by measuring spacing and azimuth. On the other hand, ground controllers see many aircraft on their radars and issue clearances to each one to keep them apart. Suppose an aircraft detects an impending collision with another aircraft or the ground using on-board sensors. It does not have the right to deviate laterally or up-down without an amended clearance. The modern trend is to rely more on on-board electronics and less on the ground controller but the procedures and regulations need to be sorted out in a multi-aircraft environment. Terrain maps are still another issue for the future. As digital maps of world-wide terrain become available, they are being put into airplanes and automobiles. In airplanes, descent limits are already being set based on calculated height above the terrain. If an aircraft descends too low or too quickly, the electronics can warn the crew long before the radar altimeter would have picked up the ground. Automobile street and road maps are already in use for navigating in strange cities, for deliveries, and for emergency vehicles. Digital maps are a new field that's just beginning. Twenty years ago, I invented a map-based navigation system for the B-2, which was interested in avoiding radars. The project was not interested in terrain avoidance by calculation. Today, terrain and the locations of hostile radars are stored in military mission- planning data bases. Still another issue for the future is the collection of a tremendous amount of data on a vehicle that can be analyzed for diagnostics. When an airplane lands, there will be equipment and people ready to fix the problems. Maintenance crews will be able to turn planes around more quickly, and have parts ready. The radio links already exist; they are being used for dispatch discussions and clearance data, they can certainly be used to send diagnostic data. Flight recorders already measure two or three hundred points whereas they used to measure only eight analog points. From the radio transmission of two hundred variables, the ground maintenance department can figure out what problems the aircraft has and get ready to fix them. As automobiles become more complex, services will be created that collect radioed data and do the same thing. Poor people will do their own diagnosis.

Hochfelder:

Thank you for the interview.