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A new office devoted to management of future Mars missions
is being formed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, along with
another new office that will oversee the implementation of space
science flight projects, JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone
announced today.

Stone said the changes are being made to provide
strengthened institutional support for implementing JPL’s space
science missions, and to bring added focus to the Laboratory’s
management of exploratory missions to Mars planned for coming

“The formation of these offices is directly responsive to
the recommendations of the Young investigation report,” said
Stone, referring to the newly released findings of the Mars
Program Independent Assessment Team, led by Thomas Young. The
heads of both new offices will report directly to the director of

A new manager for the Mars Program Office is expected to be
named in about a week, Stone said.

A new JPL Space Science Flight Projects Directorate, to be
headed by Thomas R. Gavin, will manage the implementation of
space science projects, including those of the Mars Program.
Gavin, currently deputy director of JPL’s Space and Earth
Sciences Programs Directorate, was previously spacecraft system
manager for the Cassini mission, now en route to Saturn. Gavin’s
other experience at JPL includes management responsibility for
the quality assurance and mission reliability of the Galileo
mission, currently orbiting Jupiter. His newly formed directorate
will be responsible for all non-Earth orbiting flight missions.
Under the Laboratory’s previous management structure, these
projects were carried out under the Space and Earth Sciences
Program Directorate.

Mission operations management for space science missions
will be the responsibility of JPL’s Telecommunications and
Mission Operations Directorate, headed by Gael Squibb.
Previously, operations for Mars missions and a few others were
managed by the Space and Earth Sciences Directorate. Now, the
Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate, which also
manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, will be responsible for all
deep space missions in flight, Stone said.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.