Boeing Frontiers
October 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 06 
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Stellar curiosity

The work of BSS’ Andy Wu has led to 21 issued patents


If patented inventions are the “currency” of scientific innovation, then Yeong-Wei Wu is a wealthy man.

Wu, a Boeing Technical Fellow who is best known by his nickname “Andy,” is a chief scientist in System Engineering and Verification for Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, Calif. As of this writing, his work has led to 21 issued patents and 14 pending patents. That may not be the highest number of patents for any individual BSS scientist, but it certainly puts him in some stellar company.

Wu holds 12 patents for stellar inertial attitude determination (SIAD), a technology that uses star trackers to help keep satellites pointed accurately at the Earth. He also has one patent for precision antenna pointing, two patents for attitude determination and control, four patents for cryogenic cooler vibration control and cold tip temperature control, one patent for transfer alignment techniques, and one patent for gimbal pointing and stabilization systems.

Nine of his patents were nominated and two have been selected for Boeing’s 2002 Special Invention Awards. Each of Wu’s inventions represents a major breakthrough, said Andy Kopito, deputy director of System Engineering and Verification at BSS.

The advances in SIAD technology made possible by his work “have played crucial roles” in BSS’ winning government business such as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites program, Kopito said. “Andy has come to be recognized as an expert and leader in this technology development.”

For the Spaceway program, Wu has served as Attitude Control System Design and Analysis lead since 1998. His team has created a series of innovations to meet Spaceway’s tight pointing accuracy requirements, maximize service availability, simplify spacecraft operations, and reduce overall costs. The resultant ACS design has become a company product line for all Boeing 702 programs, including the Wideband Gapfiller system.

“Andy Wu has created many innovative techniques that resulted in enhanced spacecraft capabilities,” said Loren Slafer, a BSS chief technologist. “His patents have helped to establish a solid foundation for SIAD, a key technology in the BSS technology roadmap, and they support the BSS intellectual property ownership to protect our technology edge in a highly competitive satellite manufacturing industry.”

That competition is part of what motivates Wu, who said his goal is to help the company “see if we can do things better than others can.”

“I’m always looking for technical excellence,” Wu said. “The ideas for my patents all come from curiosity about what others are doing and if I can do it better. Is there a new idea there, or something we’ve never done before? Curiosity is the key.”

Yeong-Wei Wu




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