Contact: Gia Scafidi (818) 354-0850

John R. Casani, retired former chief engineer at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., was awarded an
honorary doctorate today in astronautical engineering from the
University of Rome La Sapienza for his work on NASA’s historic
Voyager, Galileo and Cassini space missions.

Casani, who retired from JPL in 1999, spent the bulk of his
43-year career in project management and system engineering on
historic missions of space exploration. He served as project
manager for the Voyager mission to the outer planets, the Galileo
mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn. He also
held project positions in JPL’s early Explorer, Pioneer, Ranger
and Mariner space missions.

He has received a variety of NASA’s highest awards over the
last 35 years, including the Distinguished Service Medal for the
Galileo mission, and the Medal for Outstanding Leadership for the
Mariner 10 and Voyager projects. Casani was also a recipient of
NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal.

In 1988, he was elected as a member to the International
Astronautics Academy and in 1989 to the National Academy of

Casani has received a Space Systems Award from the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; the von Karman
lectureship in astronautics; the National Space Club’s
Astronaut’s Engineer Award; and the 1965 Young Man of the Year
Award from the Pasadena Junior Chamber of Commerce.

In 1955, he earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical
engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1992, the
university awarded him an honorary doctor of science.

Today, Casani sits on many JPL review and advisory boards.
This past January, he headed JPL’s Mars Polar Lander failure
investigation board.

Born in Philadelphia, Casani now lives in Pasadena with his
wife. He has four sons.

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