Charles Kohlhase

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Charles "Charley" Kohlhase
Born (1935-08-15) August 15, 1935 (age 82)
Knoxville, Tennessee
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology,
Known for design of deep-space missions
Awards NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Scientific career
Fields Aerospace Engineering
Institutions Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
California Institute of Technology

Charles (“Charley”) Kohlhase (born August 15, 1935 in Knoxville, Tennessee) worked for forty years at NASA/JPL leading the design of several robotic deep-space planetary missions. He is also an author, game developer and lecturer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kohlhase was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He graduated with honors from The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1953, with honors for a BS degree in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1957, and with a Masters of Engineering degree from UCLA in 1968.[2] He served as a Lt(jg) on the US Navy aircraft carriers Essex and Independence from 1957-1959 as the assistant electrical officer of a nuclear weapons team.[citation needed]

Work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory[edit]

Kohlhase led the design of many deep-space missions during his extended career, including Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Cassini missions. For his sustained robotic exploration contributions over the last 40 years of the 20th century and solid success record, he received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and has an asteroid (13801 Kohlhase) named in his honor. He managed and guided the team which designed the epic Voyager Grand Tour mission[3] to the outer planets and their moons and rings. After Voyager, Kohlhase became the science and mission design manager for the international Cassini–Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan. Following the launch, cruise, and Saturn orbit phases of Cassini, he has continued to advise NASA/JPL on numerous missions to Mars and to other worlds. In addition to his counsel on various review boards, Kohlhase has chaired the Mars Program Systems Engineering Team, composed of many senior experts spanning diverse disciplines. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for The Planetary Society.[4]

He partnered with Jim Blinn in creating computer graphic animations of the Voyager spacecraft encounters and for the Carl Sagan Cosmos TV series. He has directed many public activities that creatively blend art, science, and education,[5][6] including international projects[7] sponsored by the NEA, NASA, Dept of Education, and other agencies.


On his website, Kohlhase summarizes his life philosophy in a brief "75 Words to the Wise": Rise early and seize each day, learn much and use this knowledge well, spend time with those you love, never abuse your pets, use logic to fight the irrational for it is everywhere, defend the environment and its wildlife as a knight would protect King Arthur, meld mind and heart for greatest creativity, follow your dreams and become all that you can be."[8]

Selected writings[edit]

  • Kohlhase, Charles (1998). The Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan pocket reference: postlaunch update. NASA/JPL. OCLC 39086168. 
  • Kohlhase, Charles (1989). The Voyager Neptune travel guide. NASA/JPL. OCLC 20317256. 
  • Kohlhase, Charles (1985). Word pursuit: Based on the original Hinky Pinky word game. Monarch Press. ISBN 978-0-671-52512-5. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Rational Imagination". Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Summer 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]