Keyur Patel
Keyur Patel has held the position of the Deputy Director for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2017, and represents the Directorate as a member of JPL’s Executive Council. He is responsible for all aspects of research, technology, development and operations, program planning, formulation and development, and execution of the Directorate’s missions. He has held positions as the Director for the Interplanetary Directorate, Deputy Director for JPL’s Solar System Exploration Directorate and JPL’s Office of Safety and Mission Success. As Project Manager for Dawn, he shepherded the mission through its launch to orbit and study the protoplanets Vesta and Ceres. He served as Deputy Project Manager and Chief Engineer for the Deep Impact mission, helping to ensure the spacecraft’s successful encounter with comet Tempel 1.

Joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1985, Mr. Patel spent more than 15 years in a variety of flight systems, technical management, and engineering roles, contributing to missions that included Spitzer Space Telescope, Mars Observer, Topex/Poseidon, and the Voyager mission to the outer planets. He has presented a number of papers on technical and managerial aspects of these and other missions. He has been awarded NASA medals for outstanding leadership (Dawn), exceptional engineering accomplishment (Deep Impact), and exceptional service (Spitzer Space Telescope). He has also received, with teammates, a number of NASA group achievement medals. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering–Control Theory from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.