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David Spencer

David Spencer

David Spencer

David Spencer is the LightSail project manager. He is an associate professor at Purdue University.

Prior to that, he was a Professor of the Practice at Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering, and Co-Director for the Space System Design Laboratory, a multi-disciplinary research and educational organization dedicated to the design, development and operations of advanced space systems and technologies.

David joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 2008 after seventeen years with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. While at the JPL, he was the Deputy Project Manager for the Phoenix Mars Lander, Mission Manager for the Deep Impact and Mars Odyssey projects, and mission designer for Mars Pathfinder and TOPEX/Poseidon. 

David graduated from Purdue University in 1991 with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and he received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2015.  He is the author of numerous technical publications in the fields of planetary mission design, flight operations, and system engineering.

Latest Planetary Radio Appearance

Ready for Space: LightSail 2 Update

March 22, 2017 • 34:49

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft is ready to be packed away for its ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Mat Kaplan checks the mission’s status with team members.

astronaut on Phobos
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LightSail 2 will launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Be part of this epic point in space exploration history!

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