Elachi Named Recipient of 2011 Hill Award

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Elachi Named Recipient of 2011 Hill Award Charles Elachi, Ph.D., director of the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and vice president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., is the 2011 General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award recipient. He will be honored at the 27th National Space Symposium next April in Colorado Springs, Colo.

As the Space Foundation’s highest honor, the Hill Award is presented annually to only the most distinguished life-long achievers and role models in the space community. The award will be presented at a special luncheon sponsored by Raytheon on April 13, at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. William F. Ballhaus, Jr., Ph.D., chairman of the board of the Space Foundation, will present the award.

Academic and Industry Honors Plus an Asteroid Namesake
Elachi joined JPL in 1970 and was named its director in 2001. He has been a principal investigator on many research and development studies and flight projects sponsored by the NASA, including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series (Science Team Leader), the Magellan Imaging Radar (Team Member) and the Cassini Titan Radar (Team Leader). He is the author of more than 230 published articles on active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields. He taught “physics of remote sensing” at the California Institute of Technology from 1982 to 2001. As the director for space and Earth science programs at JPL from 1982 to 2000, he was responsible for the development of flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics.

Born in Lebanon, Elachi received a bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Diplome d’Ingenieur in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble; and a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also earned a master’s degree in geology from the University of California Los Angeles and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

In 1988, the Los Angeles Times selected Elachi as one of “Southern California’s rising stars who will make a difference in L.A.” In 1989, Asteroid 1982 SU was renamed 4116 Elachi in recognition of his contribution to planetary exploration.

In 1989, Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of academy committees. In 2006, he was selected as one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Elachi has chaired a number of strategic planning committees for NASA. He has lectured in more than 20 countries about space exploration and Earth observation. He participated in archeological expeditions in Egypt, Oman and China.

He is the chair of the UCLA Sciences Board of Visitors, a member of the Huntington Hospital Board of Trustees (Pasadena), the chair of the Lebanese American University Board of Trustees (New York/Beirut) and a member of the International Advisory Board of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (Saudi Arabia). He was a member of the University of Arizona Engineering School Advisory Committee and the Boston University Center of Remote Sensing Advisory Council.

Exacting Criteria Puts Elachi in Illustrious Group
“Dr. Elachi exemplifies the spirit of the Hill Award,” said Ballhaus. “We set exacting criteria and solicit nominations from space leaders around the world for this award. It is our highest honor and can only be conferred by unanimous vote of our board of directors.”

Previous recipients of the Hill Award include:
2010 Capt. John W. Young, USN (Retired)
2009 The Honorable Peter B. Teets
2008 Hans Mark, Ph.D.
2007 Simon Ramo, Ph.D.
2006 Buzz Aldrin, Ph.D.
2005 The Honorable Edward C. Aldridge, Jr.
2004 The late Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, USAF (Retired)
2003 Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., USN (Retired)
2002 Norman R. Augustine

The Hill award honors the Space Foundation’s late, long-time chairman, Gen. James E. Hill, USAF (Retired). The award recognizes outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves through lifetime contributions to the welfare or betterment of humankind through exploration, development and use of space, or through use of space technology, information, themes or resources in academic, cultural, industrial or other pursuits of broad benefit to humanity. Tickets to the luncheon can be purchased by Symposium attendees, but sell out quickly.

About the 27th National Space Symposium
The annual Space Foundation National Space Symposium brings together all sectors of space to highlight accomplishments and address opportunities and issues facing the global space community today. For more information, click here.



This article is part of Space Watch: December 2010 (Volume: 9, Issue: 12).