Skip to main content

Richard B. Kershner Award

You are here

In 1986, the IEEE PLANS Executive Committee established an award for outstanding achievement. The purpose was to recognize individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the technology of navigation and position equipment, systems or practices.  The committee has established this as a PLANS tradition, thus permitting the IEEE to recognize those who have contributed most significantly to this modern era of electronic navigation.

It is appropriate that the award has been named for Dr. Richard B. Kershner (1913-1982).  Dr. Kershner participated in the initial conception and then led the development of Transit, the world's first navigation satellite system.  His technical contributions and his leadership of the Program at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory are examples of the highest standards of personal and professional performance which this award is intended to recognize.  The Transit Program was first funded in 1959, and the system become operational in 1964.  During this short interval Dr. Kershner directed the development and launch of some of the world's first satellites, developed user equipment for both submarines and surface ships, and founded the science of satellite Doppler geodesy to improve knowledge of the earth's gravity field.  The result was a navigation satellite system which served the U.S. Navy and tens of thousands of civil users worldwide.


  1. Nominations are publically solicited in the PLANS call for abstracts brochure and through email.  Nominations are due by January 19.

  2. Nominations must include: a) the name and contact information of the nominee; b) contact information from the nominator; c) a supporting letter explaining why the individual should be considered for the award; and d) any other relevant information.

  3. The PLANS Kershner Awards Committee vets the nominations and selects a winner when appropriate.

For a complete list of past Kershner Award winners please see:

The IEEE award is recognized on the PLANS conference website and is published in the AESS Magazine in conjunction with a summary report on the PLANS conference.

Past Recipients:

1986 Bradford W. Parkinson
1988 Fred Aronowitz
1990 Bahar J. Uttam
1992 John Alvin Pierce & Eric R. Swanson
1994 Joseph Kilpatrick
1996 Charles Trimble
1998 Charles C. Counselman III
2000 Thomas A. Stansell
2002 R. Grover Brown
2004 Itzhack Bar-Itzhack
2006 Myron C. Kayton
2008 A. J. Van Dierendonck
2010 James Huddle
2012 Richard Greenspan
2014 Charles Volk
2016 John Weyrauch
2018 Per Enge
2020 Y. Jade Morton


The IEEE Kershner winner is recognized with: 1. An engraved crystal obelisk award trophy. 2. A full complimentary PLANS conference registration. 3. Complimentary hotel accommodations at the PLANS hotel over the nights of the conference. 4. Reimbursement of coach/economy airfare to/from the conference if the winner does not have other sponsorship to attend the meeting
Individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the technology of navigation and position equipment, systems or practices.
The IEEE award is presented at one of the PLANS luncheons.
2014 - "For successfully fielding four generations of navigation systems and his pioneering work in the development of nuclear magnetic resonance gyroscopes; including the development of the ring laser gyro and the zero-lock gyro, the development of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers used in inertial measurement units, and precision gyros that enhances navigation performance in GPS-challenged environments."
2012 - "For his pioneering work in the integration of GPS receivers with inertial navigation systems and the development and perfection of carrier-phase GPS interferometry for the high precision measurement of fixed and moving baselines."
2010 - "For his work on inertial and multi-sensor navigation and referencing systems."

Field of Interest

“The field of interest shall be the organization, systems engineering, design, development, integration, and operation of complex systems for space, air, ocean, or ground environments. These systems include but are not limited to navigation, avionics, mobile electric power and electronics, radar, sonar, telemetry, military, law-enforcement, automatic test, simulators, and command and control."


Technology Navigator  Spectrum  

Email us at [email protected]