October 10, 2006
Gentry Lee, Chief Engineer for the Planetary Flight Systems Directorate of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has been awarded the prestigious Harold Masursky Award, presented by the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences.
The Masursky Award recognizes individuals for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through engineering, managerial, programmatic, or public service activities. The award citation states, "Lee has set the standard for systems engineering in the complex world of robotic planetary missions, and moreover, possesses the desire to impart this knowledge to those around him, especially young engineers."
Lee was chief engineer for the Galileo project from 1977 to 1988 and, after working in a variety of positions on the Viking project from 1968 to 1976, was director of science analysis and mission planning during the Viking operations activities. In his current position, Lee is responsible for the engineering integrity of all the robotic planetary missions managed by JPL. His major recent work included not only the oversight of all engineering aspects of Spirit and Opportunity, the twin rover missions to Mars that landed in January 2004, but also the implementation of NASA's successful Deep Impact and Stardust missions.
"Gentry Lee is one of the true heroes of deep space exploration," said JPL director Dr. Charles Elachi. "His work has contributed to the success of JPL missions for more than 35 years."
In addition to his engineering work, Lee has been an active novelist, television producer, computer game designer, media columnist and lecturer. He was the late Carl Sagan's partner in the creation, design, development and implementation of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning public television series "Cosmos." Lee has also co-authored four bestsellers with Arthur C. Clarke and written three more successful solo novels.
Lee's previous awards include the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1976 and the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA's highest award, in 2005.
Gentry Lee received a Bachelor of Arts degree, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963 and a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964. He then attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland on a Marshall Fellowship for one year.
For more information on JPL visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov .
Media contact: DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.