David Spencer is the LightSail project manager and Mission System Manager for Mars Sample Return Campaign, NASA/JPL.
Prior to that, he was an associate professor at Purdue University. Earlier, 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 Appearances
Sail on! Leaders of the LightSail 2 mission join 50,000 supporters in celebration of a year in space.
Join us as the little cubesat successfully unfurls its solar sail! You’ll hear from members of the LightSail 2 mission team on the morning of July 23, 2019, when the critical command was sent to the spacecraft.
A giant SpaceX Falcon Heavy lifted off in the early hours of June 25th. One week later, the LightSail 2 solar sail was released to begin its epic mission. You’ll join the thrilling launch, meet LightSail team members and leaders of other missions, and get a solar sail update in this very special episode.