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Photo of Firouz Naderi
   Firouz Naderi
   Mars Program Manager & Director for Solar System Exploration Programs
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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High School: Andisheh, Tehran, Iran
B.S., Electrical Engineering, Iowa State University
M.S., Electrical Engineering Communications, University of Southern California
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering Image Coding, University of Southern California

Background Information
Dr. Naderi is the head of the Mars Exploration Program at JPL. The program consists of a chain of scientifically and technologically interrelated projects with one or more spacecraft launched to Mars every 26 months. In the summer of 2000, he helped to architect this program and has responsibility for its end-to-end implementation. During his tenure, three successful missions have orbited or landed on Mars. Dr. Naderi is also the Director for the Solar System Exploration Programs and chairs JPL’s Strategic Management Council.

For the past decade he has been associated with NASA’s search for life outside of the confines of Earth. (Prior to becoming Mars program manager, he spent four years as the program manager of the Origins Program -- NASA’s ambitious technology-rich plan to search for evidence of life outside the Solar System.)

He joined JPL in September of 1979. His early work at JPL was on system design of large satellite-based systems for nationwide cellular phone coverage. Dr. Naderi went to NASA Headquarters for two years in the mid-80s to serve as the program manager for the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), the front-runner of today’s multi-beam space-switching commercial satellites. Upon his return to JPL, he became the project manager for the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) Project, which aimed at space-based measurements of winds over the global oceans with application to weather forecasting. He was a cofounder of a startup company in the mid-‘80s and consultant to other startup companies in the same period.

Dr. Naderi was borne in Shiraz, Iran and moved to the U.S. forty years ago. His 25 years at JPL spans systems engineering, technology development, program and project management as applied to satellite communications systems, Earth remote sensing observatories, astrophysical observatories, and planetary systems. He is the recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

I have been the Manager of the Mars Exploration Program since the summer of 2000. In that summer, I worked with many talented scientists and engineers to design a long-term Mars program with missions launching every 26 months. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

What I like is the collaborative part of putting plans together. There’s a give and take among all kinds of experts. I’m an engineer thrust in a world where I need to understand a little bit about chemistry, geology, biology, astrophysics and more, none of which I studied in college. [more personal reflections ...]