Gen. Eugene L. Tattini, Deputy Director

Eugene L. Tattini was appointed deputy director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July 2001. He is the Laboratory's chief operating officer responsible to the director for the day-to-day management of JPL's resources and activities, including management of the Laboratory's solar system exploration, Mars, astronomy, physics, Earth science and interplanetary network programs, as well as all business operations. These activities employ 5,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and business support personnel, and generate $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

Before his retirement from the Air Force as a lieutenant general and his appointment as JPL deputy director, Tattini was commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He was responsible for managing the research, design, development and acquisition of space launch, command and control, and satellite systems. The center employed more than 3,200 people nationwide and had an annual total obligation authority in excess of $5 billion.

Born in Madison, Wis., Tattini graduated from Hampton (Virginia) High School in 1961. A distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Illinois, he entered the Air Force as a second lieutenant in 1965. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University, and certificates from both the Air War College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was selected to attend the executive development programs at both Cornell University and Harvard University.

His 36-year military career included 20 separate assignments ranging from serving as a Minuteman II missile combat crew member at Grand Forks Base, N.D. to an air staff acquisition policy staff officer in the Pentagon. His oversea assignments were in Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya and Kwang Ju Air Base, Korea. During his career he was the program manager for more than $700 million in structural and avionics modifications to the B-52. He was a member of the development team that launched the first U.S. anti-satellite weapon against a cooperating space target.

1965 Bachelor of Science in industrial management, University of Illinois
1971 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1977 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1978 Master of Business Administration, Oklahoma City University
1979 Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1985 Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1990 Executive Development Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
1995 Program for Senior Managers in Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Major Awards and Decorations:
Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal


  • Earth

    A look at our home planet

    Three Earth missions launching in 2014 will take a closer look at our home planet to study various processes and their link to climate change. The Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, spacecraft will measure soil moisture from space. ISS-RapidScat will measure ocean winds from its perch aboard the International Space Station and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, will study carbon dioxide from space.

  • Dawn  mission to Vesta and Ceres

    Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres

    Having finished its exploration of Vesta in September 2012, capturing stunning views of the giant asteroid’s surface, Dawn is currently on its way to its second destination, Ceres. Dawn is the first spacecraft designed to orbit two different bodies after leaving Earth, a feat enabled by its ion thrusters, which are much more efficient than a typical spacecraft engine.

  • Juno mission to Jupiter

    Juno mission to Jupiter

    The Juno spacecraft, on target for a 2016 arrival at Jupiter, is designed to study the gas giant to better understand its origins and evolution, . Because of its mass, Jupiter still holds much of its original composition. By peering beneath Jupiter’s thick cloud cover and investigating its core, intense magnetic field, auroras and atmospheric composition, scientists hope to collect important clues about the formation of the solar system.

  • Voyager 1 in interstellar space

    Voyager 1 in interstellar space

    Launched in 1977 – shortly after its twin, Voyager 2 – the Voyager 1 spacecraft has spent more than 35 years journeying through the solar system. It surpassed Pioneer 10 in 1998 to become the most distant human-made object. And in August 2012 it became the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space, a newly defined region of the solar system described as “the space between stars.”

  • Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover

    Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover

    After a nail-biting landing on Mars in August 2012, Curiosity, the largest and most technologically advanced rover yet, got straight to the goal at hand: searching for signs that the Red Planet could have once supported life. Not even a year later, an analysis of a rock sample collected by the rover showed that ancient Mars could have, in fact, supported living microbes. The mission, which is designed to operate until the summer of 2014, is currently continuing its exploration of Mars.

  • NuSTAR x-ray telescope

    NuSTAR x-ray telescope

    Since the mission’s first light in June 2012, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has begun sussing out black holes, supernova explosions and active galaxies using a first-of-its-kind telescope capable of focusing the highest-energy X-ray light into detailed pictures. The observations could help astronomers crack unsolved mysteries about black holes.

  • Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif.

    Deep Space Network

    Serving as the world’s premier spacecraft communications and navigation system for more than 50 years, the Deep Space Network, or DSN, consists of giant antennas stationed at 120-degree intervals around the world – in Goldstone, Calif., Madrid and Canberra, Australia. The network’s 230-foot (70-meter) antennas are capable of interpreting even the tiniest spacecraft signals from billions of miles away. The network also works as a science instrument in its own right by using radio signals to study the composition of planets and track the trajectories of near-Earth objects like asteroids and comets.

  • Nanotechnology research to help diagnose and treat brain tumors

    Nanotechnology research to help diagnose and treat brain tumors

    Technologies originally developed for space missions often find their way to Earth to improve the quality of day-to-day life. As one example, JPL researchers have partnered with the City of Hope to explore the potential of carbon nanotubes -- used in various space applications to help produce electrons -- to diagnose and treat brain tumors. Initial studies on mice have shown that the tubes are an effective and non-toxic means of transporting cancer-fighting agents to the brain.

  • Aerial view of JPL's main facility near Los Angeles

    Aerial view of JPL's main facility near Los Angeles

    About twice the size of California's Disneyland, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a 177-building campus situated in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. In addition to a mission control center and 9,600 square-foot clean room, the lab is home to a simulated Mars landscape called the Mars Yard, as well as a 25-foot space simulator.