Lars Blackmore (1999)

Lars Blackmore

Lars Blackmore (1999) is currently working at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is responsible for Entry, Descent and Landing of the Falcon 9 rocket, as part of the reusable launch vehicle program. Lars read Electrical and Information Sciences at Trinity.

His team developed the precision landing technology for theGrasshopper rocket, the F9R-Dev rocket, and the F9R reusable booster stage. F9R recently completed the world’s first precision landing of a booster stage, landing within ten meters of its target.

Previously, Lars was in the Guidance and Control Analysis Group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, part of the California Institute of Technology, where he developed control and estimation algorithms for NASA’s future space missions. He co-invented the G-FOLD algorithm for precision landing on Mars, and was part of the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) mission, which launched in January 2015.

In 2007 he finished his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Model-based Embedded and Robotics Systems group, under the supervision of Brian C. Williams. His thesis was on control and estimation of stochastic systems, especially hybrid discrete-continuous systems, and he is currently continuing research in this area. Lars is particularly interested in chance-constrained optimal planning, that is, finding the best plans such that the probability of failure is below a given threshold. He is similarly interested in applications in autonomous air and space systems.

Previous research has been in control and estimation for Formula One racing. His MEng thesis was with the McLaren team, and in his first year at MIT he carried out a project with the Jaguar team (now Red Bull Racing).