PASADENA, Calif.--Formation of the Viking Orbiter Office at the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory was announced today by JPL Director Dr. William H. Pickering.

Henry W. Norris was named Viking Orbiter manager; Kermit S. Watkins, deputy manager; Allen E. Wolfe, spacecraft system manager; and Dr. Conway W. Snyder, Viking Orbiter scientist.

The Viking Project, designed to send two orbiters with landing capsules to Mars in 1973, is managed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The newly-established office at JPL is responsible for the design and development of the orbiting spacecraft portion of the Viking system and the conduct of the orbiter phase of the mission. The Laboratory is responsible also for Viking tracking and data acquisition.

Norris was JPL's spacecraft system manager for the Mariner Mars l969 Project. He was named to the Viking position after the successful launch of Mariner VI last February and Mariner VII in March. The two Mariner spacecraft will arrive at Mars in July and August, respectively.

Watkins was assistant project manager for the Surveyor series of lunar soft-landing spacecraft and general manager of project operations for the Laboratory's Office of Flight Projects.

Wolfe was spacecraft system manager for the Ranger series of lunar photo-reconnaissance spacecraft and for the Mariner V mission to Venus in 1967. His most recent post was manager of JPL's Space Sciences Project section.

Dr. Snyder was project scientist for the Mariner V Venus mission in 1967. He also was a science investigator for solar plasma instruments flown to Venus in 1962 by Mariner II and to Mars in 1965 by Mariner IV.

The two Viking Orbiter spacecraft will circle Mars in l973 while the Viking Landers descend to the Martian surface.

News Media Contact