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JPL Internal Memo: Personnel and Organizational Announcements

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Monday, September 30, 2019

TO: JPL Employees and Contractor Personnel

FROM: Michael Watkins

SUBJECT: Personnel and Organizational Announcements

Planetary exploration is at the heart of JPL's contributions to our nation's space program. JPL missions like Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and Curiosity have forever changed our view of the solar system and Earth's place within it.

Over the past several months, I have conducted a national search for the right leader to carry forward implementation of our present planetary exploration missions and, in concert with the external community, plan the future of this enterprise which is critical to the Lab, NASA and the nation.

I am very pleased to inform you that Bobby Braun will be joining the Laboratory Executive leadership team effective January 15, 2020 in this capacity.

Bobby has contributed to the formulation, development, and operation of JPL and NASA missions for more than 30 years. He has participated directly in several JPL flight projects starting with Mars Pathfinder, served on numerous flight project review boards, and served as a member of the JPL Advisory Council for more than a decade. In 2015, he served as the Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech.

Bobby has led multiple, large engineering organizations at NASA. In 2010-2011, he served as the NASA Chief Technologist, creating what is now the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate. After beginning his career at the NASA Langley Research Center, he has served as a member of the university community since 2003, as a member of the faculty at Georgia Tech and, more recently, the University of Colorado Boulder. Since January 2017, he has served as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Bobby is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the AIAA and AAS. He previously served as Vice Chair of the National Academies Space Studies Board, a member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board, and Editor-in-Chief of the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.

Due to the increasingly integrated nature of NASA’s Planetary program, and to Bobby’s long experience with the Mars Program, we will conduct a study this fall to merge significant portions of the existing Mars Exploration Directorate (6X) into the Solar System Exploration Directorate (4X).

During the interim period while we finalize the organization of the new directorate, Fuk Li will continue to serve in his current role as Director for Mars Exploration, and Keyur Patel will remain in his interim role as acting Director for and continuing role as Deputy Director for of the Solar System Exploration Directorate.

Please join me in welcoming Bobby to the Laboratory.


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