AIAA Congratulates Charles Elachi on Being Selected as the Winner of the 2016 National Space Trophy Written 28 January 2016

CONTACT: John Blacksten


AIAA Congratulates Charles Elachi on Being Selected as the Winner of the 2016 National Space Trophy
AIAA Fellow is Director of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

January 28, 2016 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) congratulates AIAA Fellow Dr. Charles Elachi, director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), on his selection as the winner of the 2016 National Space Trophy from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation. Elachi will receive the award on April 29 at a dinner at the Houston Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas.

The award honors Elachi’s “distinguished leadership and sustained technical achievement, which has had a profound impact on the U.S. robotic exploration of space across the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

“Dr. Charles Elachi has led many innovative and important advances in space exploration during his tenure at JPL,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director. “Due to his efforts and the efforts of his teams, we understand much more about the universe than would otherwise have been possible without his creativity, foresight, and leadership. AIAA congratulates him for being this year’s recipient of the National Space Trophy, and thanks him for all he has done to shape the present and future of aerospace.”

Elachi has overseen some of the most groundbreaking space exploration missions in recent history, including the development and deployment of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, as well as the development and deployment of the Mars Curiosity rover; the development and deployment of the Spitzer Space Telescope; the Galaxy Evolution Explorer; the Microwave Limb Sounder and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer on NASA’s Aura spacecraft; the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment; Jason 1 satellite, and many other projects. According to experts, Elachi was instrumental to the “development of spaceborne imaging radar from a small research activity to a major field of space missions, technology development and scientific studies.”

In addition to his leadership of JPL, Elachi also taught a course on “The Physics of Remote Sensing” at the California Institute of Technology from 1982 to 2001.

Elachi’s previous honors include the 2012 Association of Space Explorers Planetary Award (the Crystal Helmet); the 2011 National Academy of Engineering Arthur M. Bueche Award; the 2011 Space Foundation’s J. E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award; the 2008 AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award; the 2008 Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement; the 2007 International von Kármán Wings Award; and the 2006 Royal Society of London Massey Award.

For more information about the National Space Trophy please visit:


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