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Charles Elachi was appointed Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in May, 2001. Dr. Elachi received his B.Sc. (’68) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. (’68) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. (’69) and Ph.D. (’71) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He also has a M.Sc. (‘83) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (’79) from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Elachi joined JPL in 1970 and is professor of electrical engineering and planetary science at Caltech. Prior to becoming Director, he was JPL’s Director for Space and Earth Science Programs (beginning in 1982) where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics. Dr. Elachi was also principal investigator on six spaceborne radar instruments that mapped Earth, Venus and Titan.
In 1989 Dr. Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of academy committees. Dr. Elachi has received numerous awards, including the “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, France” (2011), Space Foundation J.E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award (2011), AIAA Carl Sagan Award (2011), Occidental College honorary Doctor of Science degree (2011), Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (2008), International von Kármán Wings Award (2007), recognition as one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (2006), the Royal Society of London Massey Award (2006), the Lebanon Order of Cedars (2006), the Philip Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service (2006), the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award (2005), the Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award (2005), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), Takeda Award (2002), the Wernher von Braun Award (2002), UCLA Dept. of Earth and
Space Science Distinguished Alumni Award (2002), Dryden Award (2000), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1999), the COSPAR Nordberg Medal (1996), the IEEE Medal of Engineering Excellence (1992), the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1987) and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1982).