A reorganization designed to position the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory for a new generation of challenges in space
exploration has been announced by incoming Director Dr.
Charles Elachi.

Among the changes are appointment of a new chief
scientist, creation of a new senior executive position to
oversee designing and building of spacecraft, addition of a
chief technologist position, and realignment of offices
responsible for JPL’s missions in solar system exploration,
Earth sciences, and astronomy and physics.

“These steps are intended to simplify JPL’s structure and
position us to remain the leader in robotic space exploration
and meet the challenges of the next century,” said Elachi, who
became JPL director May 1.

Dr. Thomas A. Prince will join JPL as the Laboratory’s
chief scientist in the Director’s Office. A professor of
astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, Prince is
the NASA mission scientist for the Laser Interferometer Space
Antenna (LISA) project. He succeeds Dr. Moustafa Chahine, who
will remain at JPL to conduct research.

Thomas R. Gavin has been appointed to the new position of
JPL associate director for flight projects and mission
success. Gavin, who oversaw spacecraft development on such
major JPL missions as Galileo and Cassini, will be in charge
of JPL’s development of flight systems.

Also newly created is a position of JPL chief
technologist. It will be held on an additional duty basis by
Dr. Barbara A. Wilson, a physicist who has played numerous
technology leadership roles since she joined JPL in 1988.

In the JPL Director’s Office, Prince, Gavin and Wilson
will join Deputy Director Larry N. Dumas, Associate Director
for Institutional Affairs Kirk M. Dawson, and Associate
Director and Chief Financial Officer Fred C. McNutt, all of
whom will continue in their current positions. Dumas has
announced that he intends to retire when a current nationwide
search results in the selection of a new JPL deputy director.

In addition to the Director’s Office positions, four
offices have been created whose leaders will serve on JPL’s
Executive Council.

Dr. Firouz M. Naderi will lead the Solar System
Exploration Programs Directorate, which will be in charge of
developing concepts for JPL’s solar system exploration
missions. Naderi will also continue to hold his current
position leading the Mars Exploration Program Office.

The newly created Planetary Flight Projects Directorate,
which will design, build and fly planetary spacecraft, will be
headed by Chris P. Jones.

Larry L. Simmons will direct a new Astronomy and Physics
Directorate. This organization will oversee JPL’s spacecraft
and instruments that study the influence of the Sun within our
solar system or that look out beyond the solar system.

A new Earth Science and Technology Directorate will be
headed by Dr. Diane L. Evans, a geologist who played key
science roles on the Shuttle Imaging Radar series. In addition
to Earth sciences missions, this organization will conduct
JPL’s work for non-NASA sponsors including other federal

The JPL organization responsible for telecommunications
and NASA’s Deep Space Network has been renamed the
Interplanetary Network and Information Systems Directorate.
It will continue to be headed by Gael F. Squibb. JPL’s
Institutional Computing and Information Systems office will
become part of this directorate.

JPL’s financial management and human resources
organizations will be consolidated into a new Business
Operations and Human Resources Directorate, headed by Chief
Financial Officer Fred McNutt. Susan D. Henry will be
McNutt’s deputy and will continue to serve on JPL’s Executive

Also continuing on the Executive Council will be Dr.
William J. Weber III, who leads the Engineering and Science
Directorate; Harry K. Detweiler, head of the Office of Safety
and Mission Success; and Caltech General Counsel Harry
Yohalem. Two external relations executives who previously
served as ex officio members of the Executive Council will now
become full members — Blaine Baggett, executive manager of
the Office of Communications and Education, and Dr. Richard P.
O’Toole, manager of the Office of Legislative and
International Affairs.

Elachi, a scientist with a background in imaging radar
and other remote-sensing technologies, succeeds Dr. Edward C.
Stone. Stone is returning to JPL’s parent institution,
Caltech, to continue teaching and conducting research after
leading JPL for 10 years.

JPL is a federally funded research and development center
managed for NASA by Caltech. The JPL director also serves as
a vice president of Caltech.