National Academy of Engineering has elected JPL Engineering Fellow Miguel San
Martin to be a member of the organization. Election to the Academy is
considered one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an
Martin was selected "For technical contributions and leadership in
guidance, navigation, and control leading to successful Mars entry, descent,
and landing "of Mars Science Laboratory in 2012.
Membership honors outstanding contributions to "engineering research,
practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions
to the engineering literature "and to" the pioneering of new and
developing fields of technology, making major advances in traditional
fields of engineering, or developing / implementing innovative approaches to
engineering education. "
In the newly elected class of 86 members and 18 foreign members will be
Formally inducted at the Academy's annual meeting in Washington on Oct. 6.
Martin's path to JPL began in his native Argentina, where I was inspired by
the Apollo and Viking missions. I left to pursue university studies and follow
his dream of contributing to space exploration by working for NASA. I have earned
His Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University, and
his master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from MIT.
Graduation, I joined JPL, where I was part of the Magellan mission to Venus
and the Cassini mission to Saturn. He has been an important part of several
Mars missions – first as chief engineer for the guidance and control system for
the 1997 Pathfinder mission, which landed Sojourner, the first robotic vehicle
to land on Mars I then assumed the same role for the Mars Exploration Rover
mission that landed Spirit and Opportunity in 2004.
Martin was the chief engineer of guidance and control for Mars Science
Laboratory, which successfully landed Curiosity on the surface of the Red Planet
on August 5, 2012. I was a co-architect of Curiosity's innovative SkyCrane
landing architecture and also served as the deputy chief for entry, descent and
landing For his contributions, I was named JPL Fellow in 2013 and received
the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal.
Martin is currently the Chief Engineer of the Guidance and Control section at
JPL, participates in several advanced studies, and is a member of several JPLs
and NASA review and advisory boards.
News Media Contact
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Written by Jane Platt