Earth from space
Earth from space

Matthew Landano has been appointed the new director of the Office of Safety and Mission Success, which oversees the engineering and reliability of the exploration missions developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

In announcing the appointment, JPL director Dr. Charles Elachi highlighted Landano's lengthy experience on a variety of space missions.

"Matt will play a vital role in the success of JPL's future missions to explore Earth, the solar system and beyond," said Elachi. "He brings to this important position an extensive and varied background in mission design, development, management and flight operations."

Landano is currently the deputy director of the Planetary Flight Projects Directorate and project manager of the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission. He came to JPL in 1969 as part of the Viking Orbiter System Design/Development Team. In 1973, he joined the Voyager Project System Design/Development Team. From 1978 to 1997 he held several positions with the Galileo mission, including system design group supervisor, chief engineer and deputy mission director responsible for day-to-day flight operations. In 1997, Landano worked on the Cassini mission, preparing the spacecraft for launch and early phase flight operations. He later joined the Planetary Flight Projects Office, where he played a significant role in supporting many projects, including Deep Space 1, Stardust, Deep Impact, Genesis and Galaxy Evolution Explorer.

Landano is author of the JPL Design, Verification/Validation and Operations Principles for Flight Systems, which sets the standard for all development projects at JPL. He has received two NASA Outstanding Leadership medals and a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He was awarded an Aviation Week Laurels Award in 1989.

Landano's appointment becomes effective on March 11. He replaces Dr. Harry Detweiler, who announced his planned retirement late last year. Detweiler is retiring after 34 years at JPL.

Landano holds bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from California State University, Los Angeles. He lives in Glendale with his wife Angie; they have two married daughters.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.