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 RELEASEJune 29, 1998
FORMER MARS PATHFINDER MANAGER TONY SPEAR RETIRES FROM JPL
Tony Spear, who oversaw NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission from
its conception through successful landing on July 4, 1997, has
retired from JPL.
Spear, a 36-year veteran of the Laboratory, was instrumental
in coordinating all facets of spacecraft development -- such as
flight hardware, computer systems and new technologies -- to
produce the innovative Pathfinder lander and the Sojourner rover
-- the first robotic rover ever to explore another planet.
Pathfinder was the first mission to land on Mars since the two
Viking landers came to rest on the red planet in 1976.
After Pathfinder successfully touched down in an ancient
outflow channel known as Ares Vallis, about 850 kilometers (525
miles) southeast of the location of the Viking Lander 1, Spear
stepped down as project manager and joined the Advanced Deep
Space System Development Program, called X2000, to develop
advanced technologies for future exploration of the outer planets
of the solar system. Brian Muirhead, who had served as the Mars
Pathfinder spaceflight systems engineer, was named to succeed
Before serving on the Pathfinder project, Spear led the
initial studies for NASA's Discovery program of faster, better,
cheaper missions. The Mars Pathfinder mission was the second in
that series of fast-track, low-cost missions with highly focused
Spear joined JPL in 1962 and worked on a variety of
engineering positions over the years. He served as manager of
the 1989 Magellan mission to map the surface of Venus, manager of
the synthetic aperture imaging radar instruments that flew aboard
several Space Shuttle missions in the early 1990s, and was an
engineer on the 1978 Seasat oceanographic satellite mission.
Prior to that, Spear worked from 1974-1975 as the Advanced
Projects Planning manager for the NASA/JPL Deep Space
Communications and Spacecraft Tracking Network. From 1962-1974,
he worked in the Deep Space Telecommunications System for the
1964 and 1969 Mariner missions to Mars and the 1973 Mariner
mission to Venus and Mercury. He also participated in the design
of the lander and orbiter relay communications link for the 1976
Viking mission to Mars.
Spear received his bachelor of science degree in electrical
engineering in 1962 from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,
PA and his master's degree in engineering from the University of
Southern California. He earned a second master's degree in
mechanical engineering in 1968 from UCLA.
A native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, Spear served in the U.S.
Air Force from 1954 to 1958, specializing in radio communications
for jet fighters.
Spear is a resident of Pasadena, CA and has two daughters.