JPL's New Associate Director Led Successful Mars Exploration
Dr. Firouz M. Naderi, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration
Program since April 2000, will broaden his oversight of
endeavors to study other parts of the universe, from Earth to
distant galaxies, in a new leadership position at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Image right: JPL's Dr. Firouz Naderi will become the laboratory's Associate Director for Programs, Project Formulation and Strategy, effective March 7. Image credit: NASA/JPL. + High resolution image
JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi has announced that Naderi
will become JPL's laboratory's Associate Director for
Programs, Project Formulation and Strategy, effective March
Elachi said, "Firouz was called on to lead the Mars Program
at JPL five years ago when the program had experienced some
setbacks. He helped restructure the program and has led it to
some spectacular successes. Now we are putting to a wider
purpose the strength that Firouz has shown in strategic
planning of the Mars program. In his new role, he will help
position JPL to work with the rest of NASA in accomplishing
the nation's full vision for space exploration."
In the new position, besides overseeing JPL's broad existing
programs, Naderi will be in charge of long-term strategic
planning for JPL and will coordinate advance studies,
acquisition of new missions, and development of projects
early in their life cycle.
The current deputy manager for Mars exploration, Dr. Fuk K.
Li, will become manager of that program. Peter C. Theisinger,
project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory mission in
development, will succeed Li as deputy manager of the Mars
Exploration Program. Richard A. Cook, now Theisinger's
deputy, will become project manager of the Mars Science
Two weeks ago, NASA honored Naderi with its highest award,
the Distinguished Service Medal, citing his "distinguished
contribution to space science and exploration."
Naderi joined JPL in 1979 and has held a number of program
and project management positions. For four years prior to
managing the recent successes of NASA's Mars program, he
managed the NASA's Origins Program, an ambitious plan to
search for other Earths around other suns. Earlier positions
included program manager for space science flight experiments
and project manager for the NASA Scatterometer, which
monitored winds from Earth orbit. Naderi, who was born in
Shiraz, Iran, and moved to the United States 40 years ago,
holds three degrees in electrical engineering: a bachelor's
from Iowa State University in Ames, and a master's and
doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los
Angeles. He lives in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Li has been Deputy Director of the Mars Exploration
Directorate since 2004. JPL coordinates the Mars Exploration
Program for all of NASA, which currently has two spacecraft
studying Mars from orbit, two rovers active on the surface
and four spacecraft in development.
From 2001 to 2004, Li was the Deputy Director of the Solar
System Exploration Directorate, and from 1997 to 2001, he
managed NASA's New Millennium Program, which develops and
tests new technologies in space flight for use in later
science missions. Previously, he managed the Earth Science
Program, was project engineer for the NASA Scatterometer and
was involved in various radar remote-sensing activities. He
earned his bachelor's and doctorate degrees in physics from
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, before
joining JPL in 1979. He lives in Arcadia, Calif.
Theisinger has managed the Mars Science Laboratory Project
since February 2004. The project is developing a rover with a
science payload more than 10 times as massive as those on the
current Mars Exploration Rovers. The project's advanced
landing techniques will make many of Mars' most intriguing
regions viable destinations for the first time.
Theisinger managed the Mars Exploration Rover Project from
its inception in mid-2000 until after the successful landings
and initial surface operations of the rovers Spirit and
Opportunity. Prior JPL positions included deputy manager for
the Mars Sample Return Project, mission support and
development manager for the Mars Surveyor Operations Project
and project engineer for the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft
development project. He first joined JPL in 1967, the year
he received a bachelor's degree in physics from the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He lives in
La Crescenta, Calif.
Cook became deputy project manager for Mars Science
Laboratory in June 2004 after four months as project manager
for the Mars Exploration Rovers. He had earlier helped lead
the development and operation of Spirit and Opportunity as
flight systems manager and deputy project manager.
Previously, Cook was flight operations manager for the Mars
Pathfinder Project, which put a lander and small rover on
Mars in 1997. He joined JPL in 1989 and worked on the
Magellan mission to Venus prior to Pathfinder. He earned a
bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University
of Colorado, Boulder, and a master's in aerospace engineering
from the University of Texas, Austin. He lives in Santa
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.
Guy Webster (818) 354-6278
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory