Frank J. Colella, principal spokesman for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology for nearly quarter of century, will retire from his post as manager of JPL's Public Affairs Office on January 31.
Colella joined JPL in January 1959, less than year after the launch of the JPL-developed Explorer I, America's first satellite.
He was appointed manager of the Public Education and Information Office in 1964 and directed the information activities for the NASA-sponsored Ranger and Surveyor series of scientific missions to the moon and the Mariners to the planets.
In 1976, Colella was named JPL Public Affairs manager and member of the Laboratory's Executive Council. In this role, he managed all aspects of JPL's information, education and protocol activities for the Viking Mars missions and the Voyagers to Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.
NASA awarded him the agency's Exceptional Service Medal in 1972.
Colella served with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II as B-24 pilot in Europe. native of New York City, he worked in the Publications Section of the United Nations' Secretariat from 1946 to 1956 both in Lake Success and in New York City. Prior to joining JPL, he was in the public relations office of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, 1956 to 1959.
Colella and his wife, Sally, reside in La Canada- Flintridge, California.
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