MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 17, 1998
MANNING NAMED CHIEF ENGINEER OF MARS SURVEYOR PROGRAM
Rob Manning, chief engineer of NASA's Mars Pathfinder
mission, has been named chief engineer of the agency's long-term
program of robotic exploration of Mars, managed by the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
Manning's newly created position is effective immediately
and involves coordinating the engineering efforts of all robotic
spacecraft and instruments currently in development or planned
for future missions to Mars. In this capacity, Manning will
serve on the JPL engineering council, lead study teams, sit on
review boards and solve engineering problems that cut across all
"We are delighted to have someone of Rob's caliber in this
newly created position," said Donna Shirley, manager of the Mars
Exploration Program Office at JPL, which oversees the Mars
Surveyor Program for NASA. "By establishing a chief engineer at
the program level, Rob will coordinate the technical aspects of
all of the Mars missions, allowing us to save money and avoid
duplication of effort."
Manning has served as flight system chief engineer on the
Mars Pathfinder mission since 1993, overseeing all technical
aspects of the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft. Pathfinder landed on
Mars on July 4, 1997, using a unique engineering method of
parachuting through the Martian atmosphere and coming to a safe
halt on the Martian surface with the aid of giant airbags and
small retro-rockets. In addition to managing the technical
aspects of this novel entry and landing approach, Manning led the
team which designed, developed, tested and operated the
spacecraft's entry, descent and landing system.
With an expertise in spacecraft computing and fault-tolerant
computer systems, Manning has held key positions in the
development of a variety of interplanetary spacecraft, including
the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Magellan mission to Venus.
More recently, he served as the cognizant engineer for all
onboard computers on the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft.
Manning graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1980 from Whitman
College, Walla Walla, Washington, with a combined bachelor of
science degree in mathematics and physics. After joining JPL in
1981, he completed a second bachelor's degree in engineering and
applied science in 1982 at the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, CA. Currently he is pursuing graduate
work in computer engineering and control systems at the
University of Southern California.
He and his wife, Dominique, make their home in Pasadena, CA,
along with their young daughter, Caline.