A new office devoted to management of future Mars missions is being formed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, along with another new office that will oversee the implementation of space science flight projects, JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone announced today.

Stone said the changes are being made to provide strengthened institutional support for implementing JPL's space science missions, and to bring added focus to the Laboratory's management of exploratory missions to Mars planned for coming years.

"The formation of these offices is directly responsive to the recommendations of the Young investigation report," said Stone, referring to the newly released findings of the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team, led by Thomas Young. The heads of both new offices will report directly to the director of JPL.

A new manager for the Mars Program Office is expected to be named in about a week, Stone said.

A new JPL Space Science Flight Projects Directorate, to be headed by Thomas R. Gavin, will manage the implementation of space science projects, including those of the Mars Program. Gavin, currently deputy director of JPL's Space and Earth Sciences Programs Directorate, was previously spacecraft system manager for the Cassini mission, now en route to Saturn. Gavin's other experience at JPL includes management responsibility for the quality assurance and mission reliability of the Galileo mission, currently orbiting Jupiter. His newly formed directorate will be responsible for all non-Earth orbiting flight missions. Under the Laboratory's previous management structure, these projects were carried out under the Space and Earth Sciences Program Directorate.

Mission operations management for space science missions will be the responsibility of JPL's Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate, headed by Gael Squibb. Previously, operations for Mars missions and a few others were managed by the Space and Earth Sciences Directorate. Now, the Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate, which also manages NASA's Deep Space Network, will be responsible for all deep space missions in flight, Stone said.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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