|Firouz Michael Naderi|
Firouz Michael Naderi (born in Shiraz, Iran) is an Iranian-American scientist and currently the Director for Solar System Exploration at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In this role Naderi oversees JPL's robotic solar system missions in planning (such as a mission to the Jupiter's moon Europa) or, in development (InSight lander on Mars) and operating missions, including the Cassini orbiter at Saturn, the Dawn spacecraft at the giant asteroid Vesta, JUNO on its way to Jupiter. Prior to this new position, he was the Associate Director of JPL responsible for Project Formulation and Strategy, serving as the Laboratory's senior official providing oversight of JPL new business acquisition and was the key strategic planning officer of JPL.
He attended Andisheh high school (Don Bosco Boarding School) in Tehran before attending college in the US. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from USC (writing his dissertation in the area of digital image processing) and his B.S. from Iowa State University. He joined JPL in September 1979.
His career at JPL has spanned system engineering, technology development, and program and project management for satellite communications systems, Earth remote sensing observatories, astrophysical observatories and planetary systems.
He was named head of the Mars Exploration Program at JPL in 2000 after the Program had suffered two consecutive failures. In the summer of 2000 he helped re-plan the Program as a chain of scientifically, technologically and operationally interrelated missions with a spacecraft launch to Mars every two years. He led the Program for the next five years, a span of time that included the successful landing of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
Before Mars, he managed the Origins program, NASA’s ambitious technology-rich plan, to search for Earth-like planets in other planetary systems.
His early work at JPL was on system design of large satellite-based systems for nationwide cellular phone coverage. He went to NASA Headquarters for two years in the mid-1980s to serve as the program manager for the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), the front-runner of today’s multi-beam, space-switching commercial satellites. Upon his return to JPL, he became the project manager for the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) Project aimed at space-based measurement of winds over the global oceans with application to weather forecasting. He was a co-founder of a startup company in the mid-‘80s and consultant to other startup companies in the same period.
Naderi is active in the Iranian-American community. He is on the boards of Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and Keep Children in School.
Awards and honors
- Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- 2010 recipient of the William Randolph Lovelace II Award from the American Astronautical Society (AAS)
- 2005 recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor
- 2004 winner of the Liberal Prize
- NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
- Space Technology Hall of Fame Medal and
- NASA’s highest award – the Distinguished Service Medal.
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