Student-Led Workshop Speakers

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September 12-16, 2011
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125



Charles Elachi, Director: NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Charles ElachiCharles Elachi was appointed Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in May, 2001. Dr. Elachi received his B.Sc. ('68) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. ('68) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. ('69) and Ph.D. ('71) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also has a M.Sc. ('83) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA ('79) from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Elachi joined JPL in 1970. Prior to becoming Director, Dr. Elachi was JPL's Director for Space and Earth Science Programs (beginning in 1982) where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics.

In 1989 Dr. Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of academy committees. Dr. Elachi has received numerous awards, including the "Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, France" (2011), Space Foundation J.E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award (2011), AIAA Carl Sagan Award (2011), Occidental College honorary Doctor of Science degree (2011), Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (2008), International von Kármán Wings Award (2007), the America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (2006), the Royal Society of London Massey Award (2006), the Lebanon Order of Cedars (2006), the Philip Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service (2006), the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award (2005), the Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award (2005), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), Takeda Award (2002), the Wernher von Braun Award (2002), UCLA Dept. of Earth and Science Distinguished Alumni Award (2002), Dryden Award (2000), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1999), the COSPAR Nordberg Medal (1996), the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1994), the IEEE Medal of Engineering Excellence (1992), the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1987) and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1982).

Donald K. Yeomans, JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist: Near-Earth Object Program Office, NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Donald YeomansAt the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Don Yeomans is a JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office and Supervisor of the Solar System Dynamics Group.

Dr. Yeomans was the Radio Science team chief for NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission. He is currently the NASA Project Scientist for the Japanese mission to land upon, and return a sample from, a near-Earth asteroid (Hayabusa) and he is a scientific investigator on NASA's Deep Impact mission that successfully impacted comet Tempel 1 in July 2005 and flew past comet Hartley 2 in November 2010. He provided the accurate predictions that led to the recovery of comet Halley at Palomar Observatory on October 16, 1982 and allowed the discovery of 164 BC Babylonian observations of comet Halley on clay tablets in the British Museum. His group at JPL is responsible for providing predictions for future close Earth approaches and impacts by comets and asteroids.

Gerhard Schwehm, Rosetta Mission Manager, Head of Planetary Science Division: European Space Agency

Gerhard SchwehmDr. Schwehm is currently the Rosetta Mission Manager in ESA's Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

He studied Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at the University des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, and the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, where he received a Ph.D. in Applied Physics (Extraterrestrial Physics) in 1979.

At the Bereich Extraterrestrische Physik at the Ruhr University he was Assistant Professor until 1983, when he joined ESA-ESOC to support the preparation of the Giotto Halley Flyby.

In 1985 he became staff scientist in ESA's Space Science Department and was nominated Deputy Project Scientist for ESA's Giotto Mission to comet Halley and later was Project Scientist for the Giotta Extended Mission that flew by comet Grigg-Skjellerup in July 1992.

In June 1985 he took on in parallel the responsibility as Study Scientist for ESA's first Planetary Cornerstone Mission, the Comet-Nucleus Sample-Return, which later became Rosetta. For this mission he became subsequently Project Scientist and after the launch in March 2004 he took over to lead the mission as Mission Manager.

In 2001 he was nominated Head of the Planetary Missions Division and in 2006 he moved to ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre close to Madrid, Spain, as Head of the Solar System Science Operations Division, being responsible for the management of all operational ESA solar system science missions. He retired from this position in March 2011 and returned to ESTEC.

During his career he has played a leading role in a number of mission studies in ESA leading international science teams. He has been Co-I for dust instruments on a number of missions, including Ulysses, Galileo and Cassini. He has been a member of Interagency Advisory Groups and International Advisory Panels, e.g. the NASA Planetary Protection Sub Group and the COSPAR Planetary Protection Panel.

He was elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics and asteroid 13724 was named Schwehm.

Andrew Cheng, Chief Scientist: Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University

Adrew ChengDr. Cheng is the chief scientist for the Space Department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. Dr. Cheng has served as an interdisciplinary scientist on the Galileo mission to Jupiter, a co-investigator on the Cassini mission to Saturn, and a scientist on the Japanese-led MUSES-C asteroid mission. He was Project Scientist for the historic Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, which was the first to orbit (and eventually land on) an asteroid. He is a member of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission team and principal investigator for the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Dr. Cheng was previously the assistant supervisor for the Science and Analysis Branch and supervisor of the Planetary Exploration Group in the APL Space Department. He recently completed a one-year assignment at NASA Headquarters in Washington, serving as deputy chief scientist for Space Science in NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

A resident of Potomac, Md., Dr. Cheng was named Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist in 1985 and has received five NASA Group Achievement awards since then. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has authored more than 160 scientific articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Princeton University and a Master's degree and doctorate in physics from Columbia University.

Paul A Abell, Lead Scientist: Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science, NASA - Johnson Space Center

Paul AbellDr. Paul Abell is the Lead Scientist for Planetary Small Bodies assigned to the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. His main areas of interest are physical characterization of near-Earth objects (NEOs) via ground-based and spacecraft observations, examination of NEOs for future robotic and human exploration, and identification of potential resources within the NEO population for future resource utilization. Paul has been studying potentially hazardous asteroids and near-Earth objects for over 15 years. He was a telemetry officer for the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft Near-Infrared Spectrometer team and is a science team member on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa near-Earth asteroid sample-return mission. Paul was also a member of the Hayabusa contingency recovery team and participated in the successful recovery of the spacecraft's sample return capsule, which returned to Woomera, Australia in June 2010.

Since 2006 Paul has been a member of an internal NASA team that is examining the possibility of sending astronauts to NEOs for long duration human missions circa 2025 and is currently the lead committee member of the Small Bodies Assessment Group chartered with identifying Human Exploration Opportunities for NEOs. In 2009 he became a science team member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Solar System Collaboration tasked with identifying NEOs for future robotic and human space missions, and is also the Science Lead for NEO analog activities and operations of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 15 project.

John D. Baker, Manager: Human and Robotic Mission Systems Office, NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

John BakerJohn Baker is currently the Manager for the Human and Robotic Mission Systems Architecture Office and leads both robotic and human mission concepts for exploring the Solar System. He has been at JPL for more than 25 years and has held a variety of technical and managerial positions from spaceflight avionics design to formulating new missions.

Damon Landau, Mission Design Engineer: Outer Planet Mission Analysis Group, NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Damon LandauDamon Landau is an outer planet mission analyst at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where his primary interests are mission design and trajectory optimization. Before beginning his career at JPL, he recieved a Ph.D. in 2006 from Purdue University where he examined various strategies for the sustained human exploration of Mars. In February 2007 Damon moved to sunny CA to pursue the glamorous life of robotic space exploration. Currently his work focuses on the application of solar electric propulsion for missions to comets and all kinds of asteroids. Damon also performs trajectory analyses in preparation of Juno's arrival at Jupiter in July 2016. As a diversion to robotic missions, he worked on NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study to survey exciting locations for astronauts to visit.

Takashi Kubota, Professor: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), JAXA

Takashi KubotaDr. Kubota is a professor at Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan.

He received Dr. degree in electrical engineering in 1991 from the University of Tokyo. He is also a professor of the graduate school of the University of Tokyo. He is currently a co-chair of Space Education and Awareness Working Group of APRSAF.

He was a visiting scientist in Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1997 and 1998. He was in charge of guidance, navigation, and control in asteroid exploration mission HAYABUSA. He was also a member of development team of MINERVA. His research interests include exploration robots, AI in space, Robotics, Image based navigation etc.

Ron Turner, Fellow: Analytic Services Inc.

Ron TurnerDr. Turner is a Fellow with Analytic Services Inc. He is an internationally recognized expert in radiation risk management for astronauts, particularly in response to solar storms. For nine years he was the ANSER point of contact to the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), an independent institute charged with creating a vision of future space opportunities to lead NASA into the twenty-first century, and he is currently the Senior Science Advisor to the new, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program. He was a Participating Scientist on the Mars Odyssey program. He is on the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Solar and Space Physics, is Co-Lead of the Research to Operations working group supporting the NRC Heliophysics Decadal Survey, and recently supported the NRC Committee for the Evaluation of Radiation Shielding for Space Exploration (May 2008). He is on the Advisory Council to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute Center for Acute Radiation Research. He served on an NRC Committee looking at precursor measurements necessary to support human operations on the surface of Mars (May 2002). He was chair of the NRC Human Health and Support Technologies panel of the NASA Capabilities Technology Roadmap Review in 2005. He supported an NRC report on Space Physics Support to NASA's Exploration Vision. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the Ohio State University.

Bret G. Drake, Exploration Architect: Exploration Mission and Systems Office, NASA - Johnson Space Center

Bret G. DrakeMr. Drake is currently leading the future Mission Planning and Analysis activities for the Exploration Missions and Systems Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center. For the past several years Mr. Drake has led the Agency in the design and analysis of human exploration mission approaches beyond low-Earth Orbit including missions to the Moon, Near-Earth Objects, and Mars. Mr. Drake has been involved in various agency strategic planning activities for NASA's exploration efforts for over twenty years including the NASA 90-day study and the White House Synthesis group, Integrated Space Plan, Exploration Systems Architecture Study, and the Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee (aka Augustine Committee).

Previously, Mr. Drake served as Chief of the Advanced Missions & System Design Office for the Constellation Program and Interim Program Manager for the Lunar Prospector mission at NASA Headquarters and has served as the project lead for many design efforts at the Johnson Space Center. Mr. Drake graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Josh B. Hopkins, Space Exploration Architect: Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Josh B. HopkinsHopkins leads a team of engineers who develop plans and concepts for a variety of future human exploration missions, including visits to asteroids, Lagrange points, and the moons of Mars. He is responsible for the Plymouth Rock mission study for human exploration of Near Earth Asteroids using the Orion crew exploration vehicle. In a similar capacity he previously led Lockheed Martin's technical team to determine mission capabilities for the Altair lunar lander.

During his 14 years with Lockheed Martin, Hopkins has focused most of his efforts developing space transportation systems and launch vehicles. He began as a trajectory analyst, first on the Athena commercial launch vehicle program, and then in a similar role for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Later, he became responsible for vehicle sizing and system design for a variety of reusable launch vehicle design projects for NASA and the United States Air Force. He has since helped design a variety of expendable and reusable launch vehicles, government and commercial crew transportation spacecraft, and robotic and human exploration vehicles such as lunar landers.

Hopkins received the AIAA Summerfied Book Award in 2003 for coauthoring two editions of the International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award in 2007, and a Lockheed Martin NOVA award in 2011.


For questions contact: Prakhar Mehrotra, Jon Mihaly, or Michele Judd