SSE Seminar Series - Dr. Hans Mark "The Pioneer Spacecraft and Beyond"

Monday, February 3, 2014 ( 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm )

Location: Babbio 541 - CCSE Immersion Lab

The Pioneer Spacecraft and Beyond
Dr. Hans Mark, Professor of Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics
The University of Texas at Austin


ABSTRACT: The Pioneer 10 and 11 were small spacecraft intended as precursors to the more sophisticated spacecraft that would be sent during the 1980’s to explore the outer planets.  Although designed to last only seven years, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to leave the Solar System.  It provided scientific data for almost 30 years until contact was lost in 2002 with the spacecraft 80 astronomical units away. 

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Hans Mark is a leading expert in the fields of both aerospace design and national defense policy.  For fourteen years Dr. Mark was associated with the University of California’s Nuclear Weapons Laboratory at Livermore; serving as Physics Division Leader from 1960 to 1964, and was a member of the University of California, Berkeley faculty until 1969.  From 1969 to 1977 Dr. Mark was the Director of NASA-Ames Research Center.   During his tenure, Ames became the lead NASA center for the Tilt Rotor aircraft development and two other experimental aircraft were built, the C-8A and the Quiet Short Haul Research Aircraft (QSRA).  The program, now called the “Airborne Laser Laboratory”, established its project office at Ames in 1971 and the same year the Institute for Advanced Computation was established with the arrival of the Illiac IV.  NASA Ames initiated an Airborne Astronomy program 1971 with the purchase of a Lockheed C-141.  The Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft were developed during the 1970’s at the NASA-Ames Research Center.  The Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to fly past Jupiter and leave the Solar System; Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to fly past Saturn.
Dr. Mark was named Under Secretary of the Air Force and Director of the National Reconnaissance Office in 1977.  As NRO Director, he initiated the development of a new reconnaissance satellite system and the upgrade of two others.  As Secretary of the Air Force (1979 to 1981), he initiated the establishment of the U.S. Air Force Space Command.  During his tenure as Deputy Administrator of NASA from 1981 to 1984, Dr. Mark oversaw the first eleven Space Shuttle flights and was a leading contributor to the establishment of the U.S. Space Station Program.  Over the past twenty eight years, Dr. Mark has served as Chancellor of the University of Texas System (1984 to 1992) and is still actively involved in research and teaching at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering in Austin.  From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Mark was on leave from the University to serve in the Pentagon as Director of Defense Research and Engineering.  Dr. Mark received an A.B. Degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley and a PH.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering for 38 years and holds six honorary doctorates.