- Ph.D. – Aerospace Engineering, The University of Michigan (1972)
- M.S.E. – Aerospace Engineering, The University of Michigan (1967)
- B.S. – Aeronautical Engineering, Purdue University (1966)
- Planetary and satellite ephemerides
- Planetary and satellite gravity fields
- Astrodynamics/Celestial Mechanics
- Spacecraft navigation
- Task leader for the JPL institutional natural satellite ephemerides and ephemeris development software
- Member of the Cassini Navigation Team
- Member of the Voyager Navigation team for the Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune encounters
- Ephemeris and radio science support for the Galileo Mission
- Orbit determination team lead for the Pioneer Venus Orbiter Mission
- Navigation analyst for miscellaneous mission studies including early proposed solar electric and solar sail missions
- NASA Exceptional Service Medals (1990 and 2010)
- Numerous Voyager Group Achievement Awards (1981-1990)
- Numerous Galileo Group Achievement Awards (1991-1998)
- JPL Honoree to the NASA Manned Flight Awareness Program (1992)
- Asteroid no. 5636 given the name Jacobson (1994)
- Cassini Certificate of Appreciation (2006)
- R. A. Jacobson, J. P. McDanell, G.C. Rinker. Use of ballistic arcs for low thrust navigation enhancement in the 1980 Encke slow flyby. J. of Spacecraft and Rockets, 12:138-145, 1975.
- R. A. Jacobson and C. L. Thornton. The elements of solar sail navigation with application to a 1986 Halley’s comet rendezvous mission. J. of Guidance and Control, 1:365-371, 1978.
- R. A. Jacobson, S. P. Synnott, and J. K. Campbell. The orbits of the satellites of Mars from spacecraft and Earthbased observations. A&A, 225:548-554, 1989.
- R. A. Jacobson, J. E. Riedel, and A. H. Taylor. The orbits of Triton and Nereid from spacecraft and Earthbased observations. A&A, 247:565-575, 1991.
- R. A. Jacobson, et al. The masses of Uranus and its major satellites from Voyager tracking data and Earthbased Uranian satellite data. AJ, 103:2068-2078, 1992.
- R. A. Jacobson. The orbits of the inner Uranian satellites from Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager 2 observations. AJ, 115:1195-1199, 1998.
- R. A. Jacobson. The,orbits of the outer Jovian satellites. AJ, 120:2679-2686, 2000.
- R. A. Jacobson, et al. A comprehensive orbit reconstruction for the Galileo prime mission in the J2000 system. J. of the Astronautical Sciences, 48:495-516, 2000.
- R. A. Jacobson and W. M. Owen, Jr. The orbits of the inner Neptunian satellites from Voyager, Earthbased, and Hubble Space Telescope observations. AJ, 128:1412-1417, 2004.
- R. A. Jacobson, et al. The gravity field of the Saturnian system from satellite observations and spacecraft tracking data. AJ, 132:2520-2526, 2006.
- R. A. Jacobson, et al. Revised orbits of Saturn’s small inner satellites. AJ, 135:261-263, 2008.
- R. A. Jacobson. The orbits of the Neptunian satellites and the orientation of the pole of Neptune. AJ, 137:4322-4329, 2009.
- R. A. Jacobson, et al. Irregular satellites of the outer planets: orbital uncertainties and astrometric recoveries in 2009-2011. AJ, 144:132, 2012.
- R. A. Jacobson and V. Lainey, Martian Satellite Orbits and Ephemerides. Planet. Space Sci. 102:35-44, 2014.
- R. A. Jacobson. The Orbits of the Uranian Satellites and Rings, the Gravity Field of the Uranian System, and the Orientation of the Pole of Uranus. AJ, 148:76-88, 2014.