Dr. Firouz Naderi is the director for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Formerly, he was the associate director for Project Formulation and Strategy (2005-2011) providing oversight of new business acquisition and strategic planning at JPL. From 2000 to 2005, Naderi was the head of the Mars Exploration Program with the goal of determining whether the planet is a habitat for life. He oversaw the successful launch of Mars Odyssey; the landing of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity; and the development of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Naderi is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the recipient of a number of awards, including NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Space Technology Hall of Fame Medal, and NASA’s highest honor–– the Distinguished Service Medal. He is a 2005 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding contributions that have enriched American society and exemplify its cultural diversity. He was also recognized by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) with the William Randolph Lovelace II Award for outstanding contributions to space science and technology. Naderi received his doctorate from the University of Southern California in electrical engineering and joined JPL in 1979.