NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has formed a new high-level organization -- the Mars Exploration Directorate -- to strengthen the management structure for the program, which includes a multitude of planning, implementation and international collaborative activities for the exploration of Mars.

JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone has appointed Norman R. Haynes to lead the Mars Exploration Directorate, with Donna Shirley continuing to serve as manager of the Mars Exploration Program Office within the newly created directorate.

"The exploration of Mars is becoming increasingly central to NASA's mission for the 21st century," Stone said. "Planning for a cohesive and effective Mars exploration program, which includes important participation by the European, Japanese and Russian space agencies, is a major initiative with significant impact on JPL resources."

Present plans for Mars exploration under the JPL-based Mars Surveyor program call for launch of two spacecraft to Mars every 26 months through 2005. Currently in development for the first launch opportunity in November and December 1996 are two spacecraft: the Mars Pathfinder lander and rover and the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. Subsequent pairs of landers and orbiters are planned for launch in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2005.

Formerly director of the Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate, Haynes has held a variety of line and project management positions at JPL. In recent years, he has served as deputy assistant director of the former Flight Projects Office, manager of the Voyager Project to the outer planets and manager of Science and Mission Design for the Galileo Project.

Shirley was named manager of the Mars Exploration Program Office in 1994 to oversee development of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and to begin program planning for future missions.

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