Homer J. Stewart Lecture in Aerospace

Homer J. Stewart

Date: Friday, May 11, 2012, 3:00–4:00 PM
Location: Beckman Institute Auditorium
Speaker: Charles Elachi, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This lecture is given in honor and memory of Homer J. Stewart (1915-2007), Professor of Aeronautics and a faculty member of GALCIT from 1942 to 1980. He made pioneering contributions in rocketry, satellite and spacecraft design, control, dynamics and navigation, and wind energy.

The Homer J. Stewart Lecture in Aerospace is made possible through a generous gift from Caltech Alumni Drs. Jain-Ming (James) Wu (MS’59, PhD-65 Ae) and Ying-Chu Lin (Susan) Wu (PhD’63 Ae) who carried out their doctoral research in GALCIT. Through this lecture they honor a professor who has made a significant impact in their lives.

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Technological and Engineering Challenges in Robotic Space Exploration

Over the last few decades we have visited all the planets in our solar system and established continuous scientific presence on and around one of them (Mars). We have detected hundreds of planets around neighboring stars, peered back to a few hundred million years from the formation of our universe and developed the capability to monitor almost every parameter in our planet’s environment. Now we stand at the threshold of the next age of exploration: Bringing samples from other planets, searching for habitable environments in and beyond our solar system, shedding “light” on how our universe was made and what it is made of and how our planet will react to all the climatic and environmental changes. The talk will describe the scientific, technological and engineering challenges that will enable this second age of space exploration.

Charles Elachi

Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Charles Elachi

Charles Elachi has been the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since May, 2001. Dr. Elachi received his B.Sc. (’68) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. (’68) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. (’69) and Ph.D. (’71) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also has a M.Sc. (‘83) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (’79) from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Elachi joined JPL in 1970. Prior to becoming Director, Dr. Elachi was JPL’s Director for Space and Earth Science Programs (beginning in 1982) where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics. He has been a principal investigator on a number of NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series (Science Team Leader), the Magellan Imaging Radar (Team Member), and the Cassini Titan Radar (Team Leader). He is the author of over 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields.

In 1989 Dr. Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of academy committees. Dr. Elachi has received numerous awards, including the National Academy of Engineering Arthur M. Bueche Award (2011), “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, France” (2011), Space Foundation J.E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award (2011), AIAA Carl Sagan Award (2011), Occidental College honorary Doctor of Science degree (2011), Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (2008), International von Kármán Wings Award (2007), the Royal Society of London Massey Award (2006), the Lebanon Order of Cedars (2006), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), Takeda Award (2002) and the Werner von Braun Award (2002).