Inside GNSS Media & Research

NOV-DEC 2018

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14 InsideGNSS N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 education by doing construction as an iron worker. His mother contributed as well, working in the medical field. Due to his father's residency at the University of Vermont hospital, Christopher himself was not born in Beantown but in Burlington, Vermont. But the family returned to the ground from which it had sprung in time for him to grow up in the Boston suburb of Chelmsford. "Childhood was a good experience for me," Hegarty recalled. "ere were lots of kids in our neighborhood, lots of pickup football, baseball, basketball, hockey games, and general roaming around. And for some reason I remem- ber there were lots of dogs too, back before folks really paid attention to leash laws. ere was a general freedom we had back in the day, riding bikes around town, buying baseball cards at the corner store, playing with my three sisters and friends in the yard. "My parents always encouraged their kids to do activities growing up. I played sports in elementary and middle school – Little League baseball and soccer. And we downhill skied as a family in the winter. ey also made us take music lessons. I chose guitar." "When I was in high school, I most- ly worked aer school – paper route, custodian at Apollo Computers, then a number of years working at a carpet store, mostly in the shop, unloading carpet and pads off trucks, loading them on installers' vans, running mis- cellaneous errands." How He Made His Way in the World As their children grew up, Christo- pher's parents always remained sup- portive of their academic and profes- sional moves. "Worcester Polytechnic Institute was the only school I applied to, and I did early admission," he said. He earned his first degree, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, in 1990. Next step was graduate school. "I stayed on at Worcester Polytechnic to work on a Master's degree, and that was when I got my first real taste of GNSS." And quite a taste it was: "I was a Research Assistant for Professor Per Enge. I was one of his last M.S. thesis students before he le for Stanford University to work with Brad Par- kinson et alia on the AIAA GPS Blue Books, which were published in 1996." Hegarty worked on two projects for Enge – one looking at methods to com- press RTCM SC-104 data for the USCG and one to simulate the GPS Integrity Channel (GIC), which was the precur- sor name for what later become known as the Wide Area Augmentation Sys- tem (WAAS) and similar international Satellite-based Augmentation Systems (SBAS). e GIC development project was funded by Inmarsat, and the Enge group worked with Alison Brown and her staff at Navsys. e RTCM SC-104 compression work was motivated by a desire to improve differential position- ing performance over slow data links. It was never implemented. "With the GIC work, we wanted to increase GPS performance to the levels required to safely navigate aircra in instru- ment meteorological conditions," said Hegarty. "Some of the lessons learned during my research influenced the later algorithms used for WAAS." For his superb work with Enge, Hegarty received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1992. "And Per had a lot to do with me getting my first job at MITRE," Hegarty said. "He had been working with Ron Braff on the ION's (Institute of Navigation) quar- terly journal, and Ron arranged an interview that led to my being hired by MITRE in June 1992." e MITRE Corporation is a U.S. not-for-profit organization based in Bedford, Massachusetts, and McLean, Virginia. It manages federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) that support several U.S. government agencies. Hegarty's first position, which he held from 1992-1995, was Senior Sys- tems Engineer: Navigation and Surveil- lance Department, at MITRE's Center for Advanced System Development, based in McLean. en, from 1995- 1997, still in the same department, he worked as Lead Engineer. During these early years at MITRE, Hegarty continued to expand his aca- demic horizons as a doctoral student at George Washington University, in nearby Washington, D.C., specializing in Spread Spectrum Communications. But all work and no play make Chris a dull boy, so... How His Call was Answered With two serious items already on his plate, that is a big-time job and a doctoral degree in progress, Hegarty pulled off the grand trifecta, the "heck- yeah hat trick", if you will, by going out and winning the heart of his future wife. Talk about multi-tasking. Or maybe it was the other way around. No matter. "I met Patti when we were both working at MITRE," Hegarty said. "She was working as an engineer." is we can all agree on: when two high-flying engineers come together there can be very little room for mis- interpretation. e meaning was clear and the way to proceed was obvious. Hegarty quickly completed his D. Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1997, becoming the second Dr. Hegarty in his family, and then he completed the heck-yeah hat trick by marrying Patti in 1998. "Patti had been married previously and had a daughter, my step-daughter Chris Hegarty in 1986. HUMAN ENGINEERING

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