Bobby Braun to Join JPL to Head Planetary Exploration Program

Bobby Braun (Credit: CU Boulder)

Former NASA chief technologist Bobby Braun will be re-joining the space agency in January as the leader of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) center’s planetary exploration program.

Braun, who serves as dean of the University of Colorado (UC) Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, will serve as a member of JPL’s leadership team.

In an internal memo, center Director Michael Watkins said Braun’s 30 years of experience with the JPL and NASA planetary missions, including the Mars Pathfinder lander, would be a great asset in implementing a planned overhaul of the lab’s Mars and planetary exploration programs.

“Due to the increasingly integrated nature of NASA’s Planetary program, and to Bobby’s long experience with the Mars Program, we will conduct a study this fall to merge significant portions of the existing Mars Exploration Directorate (6X) into the Solar System Exploration Directorate (4X),” Watkins wrote.

Braun previously served as NASA’s chief technology officer (CTO) in 2010-11. He began his career as an aerospace technologist at the NASA Langley Research Center in 1989.

His resume from UC Boulder is posted below.

Bobby Braun

Professor • Smead Space Technology Chair • Dean
Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR)

Focus Area

  • Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation, Autonomous Systems

Professional Experience

  • 2017 – Present, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado Boulder
  • 2016 – Present, Smead Chair of Space Technology and Professor, Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
  • 2015, Moore Distinguished Scholar, California Institute of Technology
  • 2012 – 2015, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC
  • 2010 – 2011, Chief Technologist, NASA
  • 2009 – 2016, David and Andrew Lewis Professor of Space Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 2003 – 2009, David and Andrew Lewis Assocate Professor of Space Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 1999 – 2003, Senior Manager, NASA Langley Research Center
  • 1989 – 1999, Aerospace Technologist, NASA Langley Research Center

National Service

  • 2018 – Present, Charles Elachi Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 2017 – Present, Advisory Board, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • 2009 – Present, Advisory Council, The Planetary Society
  • 2006 – 2009, 2012 – 2016, 2018 – Present, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Advisory Council
  • 2015 – 2018, Steering Committee Member, National Academies Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space
  • 2015 – 2017, Chair, National Academy of Engineering U.S. Frontiers of Engineering program
  • 2015 – 2017, Member, National Academies Committee on the Future of Center-Based, Multidisciplinary Engineering Research
  • 2014 – 2018, Vice Chair, National Academies Space Studies Board
  • 2014 – 2016, Editor in Chief, AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
  • 2012 – 2014, United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board
  • 2008 – 2009, Co-Chair, National Academies Committee to Review the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts

Awards (Selected)

  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (2014)
  • AAS Space Technology Award (2014)
  • Alvin Seiff Memorial Award (2012)
  • AIAA von Karman Astronautics Award (2011)
  • AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award (1999)
  • Fellow, American Astronautical Award (2018)
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (2007)
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2011)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (1996, 1998)
  • NASA Inventions and Contributions Team Award (2006, 2008)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (1997 (4), 1998, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2013)

Education

  • Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, 1996
  • M.S., Astronautics, George Washington University, 1989
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Penn State University, 1987