William Hayward Pickering
William H. Pickering, JPL/NASA Photo
|Born||24 December 1910|
Wellington, New Zealand
|Died||15 March 2004 93) (aged|
Flintridge, California, USA
|Citizenship||United States, New Zealand|
|Nationality||United States, New Zealand|
|Known for||Space aeronautics pioneering|
|Awards|| Magellanic Premium (1966)|
IEEE Edison Medal (1972)
National Medal of Science (1975)
Delmer S. Fahrney Medal (1976)
Japan Prize (1994)
Daniel Guggenheim Medal (2000)
William Hayward "Bill" Pickering ONZ KBE (24 December 1910 – 15 March 2004) was a New Zealand-born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976. He was a senior NASA luminary and pioneered the exploration of space. Pickering was also a founding member of the United States National Academy of Engineering.
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center in La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States, though it is often referred to as residing in Pasadena, California because it has a Pasadena ZIP Code.
He was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 24 December 1910. Pickering attended Havelock School, Marlborough, and Wellington College. After spending a year at the Canterbury University College, he moved to the United States (where he subsequently naturalized), to complete a bachelor's degree at the California Institute of Technology ("Caltech"), and later, a PhD in Physics, in 1936. His speciality was in Electrical Engineering, and he majored in what is now commonly known in scientific vernacular as 'telemetry'.
Wellington is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. It is the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.
Havelock is a small town in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. It sits at the head of Pelorus Sound, one of the Marlborough Sounds, and at the mouth of the Pelorus and Kaituna Rivers. The 2013 census recorded its population as 486, a decrease of 3 since 2006.
The Marlborough Region, commonly known simply as Marlborough, is one of the regions of New Zealand, located in the northeast of the South Island. Marlborough is a unitary authority, both a region and a district, and its council is located at Blenheim. It has a population of 46,600.
William Pickering became involved with JPL in 1944, during the second world war.
As the Director of JPL, from 1954, Pickering was closely involved with management of the Private and Corporal missiles under the aegis of the U.S. Army.
The MGM-5 Corporal missile was a nuclear-armed tactical surface-to-surface missile. It was the first guided weapon authorized by the United States to carry a nuclear warhead. A guided tactical ballistic missile, the Corporal could deliver either a nuclear fission or high-explosive warhead up to a range of 75 nautical miles (139 km).
His group launched Explorer I on a Jupiter-C rocket from Cape Canaveral on 31 January 1958 less than four months after the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik.
The Jupiter-C was an American research and development vehicle developed from the Jupiter-A. Jupiter-C was used for three sub-orbital spaceflights in 1956 and 1957 to test re-entry nosecones that were later to be deployed on the more advanced PGM-19 Jupiter mobile missile.
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a cape in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River. It was discovered by the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León in 1513.
In 1958 the lab's projects were transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Pickering's team concentrated on NASA's unmanned space-flight program. JPL, under Pickering's direction flew further Explorer 3 and Pioneer missions as well as the Ranger and Surveyor missions to the moon and the several Mariner flybys of Venus and Mars.
Explorer 3 was an artificial satellite of the Earth, nearly identical to the first United States artificial satellite Explorer 1 in its design and mission. It was the second successful launch in the Explorer program.
Pioneer 4 was an American spin-stabilized unmanned spacecraft launched as part of the Pioneer program on a lunar flyby trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit making it the first probe of the United States to escape from the Earth's gravity. It carried a payload similar to Pioneer 3: a lunar radiation environment experiment using a Geiger–Müller tube detector and a lunar photography experiment. It passed within 58,983 km of the Moon's surface. However, Pioneer 4 did not come close enough to trigger its photoelectric sensor. The spacecraft was still in solar orbit as of 1969. It was the only successful lunar probe launched by the U.S. in 12 attempts between 1958–63; only in 1964 would Ranger 7 surpass its success by accomplishing all of its mission objectives.
The Ranger program was a series of unmanned space missions by the United States in the 1960s whose objective was to obtain the first close-up images of the surface of the Moon. The Ranger spacecraft were designed to take images of the lunar surface, transmitting those images to Earth until the spacecraft were destroyed upon impact. A series of mishaps, however, led to the failure of the first six flights. At one point, the program was called "shoot and hope". Congress launched an investigation into "problems of management" at NASA Headquarters and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After two reorganizations of the agencies, Ranger 7 successfully returned images in July 1964, followed by two more successful missions.
Explorer III discovered the radiation field round the earth that is now known as the Van Allen radiation belt. Explorer 1 orbited for 10 years and was the forerunner of a number of successful JPL earth and deep-space satellites. William Hayward Pickering is not to be confused with William Henry Pickering, an astronomer from an earlier era.
A Van Allen radiation belt is a zone of energetic charged particles, most of which originate from the solar wind, that are captured by and held around a planet by that planet's magnetic field. Earth has two such belts and sometimes others may be temporarily created. The discovery of the belts is credited to James Van Allen, and as a result, Earth's belts are known as the Van Allen belts. Earth's two main belts extend from an altitude of about 640 to 58,000 km above the surface in which region radiation levels vary. Most of the particles that form the belts are thought to come from solar wind and other particles by cosmic rays. By trapping the solar wind, the magnetic field deflects those energetic particles and protects the atmosphere from destruction.
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally placed into orbit. These objects are called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon.
William Henry Pickering was an American astronomer. Pickering constructed and established several observatories or astronomical observation stations, notably including Percival Lowell's Flagstaff Observatory. He led solar eclipse expeditions and studied craters on the Moon, and hypothesized that changes in the appearance of the crater Eratosthenes were due to "lunar insects". He spent much of the later part of his life at his private observatory in Jamaica.
At the time of his retirement as director, in 1976, the Voyager missions were about to launch on tours of the outer planets and Viking 1 was on its way to land on Mars.
Bill Pickering, keen to support authentic science in his home country, was Patron of New Zealand's only school-based research group,the Nexus Research Group, from 1999 until his death in 2004. Between 1977 and his death in 2004, Pickering also served as Patron of the New Zealand Spaceflight Association; a non-profit organisation that existed from 1977 to 2012 to promote an informed approach to astronautics and related sciences.
He died on 15 March 2004 of pneumonia in La Cañada Flintridge, California, USA.
Pickering re-opened the Gifford Observatory as the guest of honour, on 25 March 2002.He had been a frequent user of the observatory during his school days in Wellington College.
In 2009 to mark the International Year of Astronomy, William Hayward Pickering was selected along with cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley to have their names bestowed on peaks in the Kepler Mountains of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. In December 2010 the New Zealand Geographic Board officially gazetted Mount Pickering as an official New Zealand place name.
Three roads in New Zealand have been named after Pickering, namely: Sir William Pickering Drive in the Canterbury Technology Park in Christchurch; Pickering Crescent in Hamilton; and William Pickering Drive in Auckland.
In December 2018 New Zealand company Rocket Lab announced that the fourth launch of their Electron rocket and their first mission for NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program will be named "This one's for Pickering", in honor of Bill Pickering.
Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the United States, and was part of the U.S. participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.
Spaceflight is ballistic flight into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board. Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union was the first human to conduct a spaceflight. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of uncrewed spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic space probe mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, which successfully landed Curiosity, a Mars rover, in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. The overall objectives include investigating Mars' habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for a human mission to Mars. The rover carries a variety of scientific instruments designed by an international team.
Kenneth Dwane "Sox" Bowersox is a United States Navy officer, and a former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of five Space Shuttle launches and an extended stay aboard the International Space Station. When he launched on STS-73 at the age of 38 years and 11 months, he became the youngest person ever to command a Space Shuttle vehicle.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is an American manufacturer of spacecraft, components, and instruments for national defense, civil space and commercial space applications. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ball Corporation, with primary offices in Boulder and facilities in Broomfield and Westminster in Colorado, with smaller offices in New Mexico, Ohio, Northern Virginia, Missouri, and Maryland.
Orbital Sciences Corporation was an American company specializing in the design, manufacture and launch of small- and medium- class space and rocket systems for commercial, military and other government customers. In 2014 Orbital merged with Alliant Techsystems to create a new company called Orbital ATK, Inc., which in turn was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2018. Orbital Sciences Corporation today is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman and is known as Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
Charles Elachi is a Lebanese-American professor (emeritus) of electrical engineering and planetary science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). From 2001 to 2016 he was director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president of Caltech.
Firouz Michael Naderi is an Iranian-American scientist who spent 36 years in various technical and executive positions at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where he contributed to some of America's most iconic robotic space missions.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 17 (SLC-17), previously designated Launch Complex 17 (LC-17), was a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida used for Thor and Delta rocket launches between 1958 and 2011.
Explorer-1 [Prime], also known as E1P and Electra, was a CubeSat-class picosatellite built by the Space Science and Engineering Laboratory (SSEL) at Montana State University. It was launched aboard a Taurus-XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on 4 March 2011, but failed to achieve orbit after the rocket malfunctioned.
Eugene F. Lally was American aerospace engineer. He worked in the early 1960s on U.S. interplanetary space programs. Beside his space programs he was also an inventor and developed non-space products with his own company Dynamic Development Co. which he founded in the early 1960s. He later became an active amateur photographer and lubrication product entrepreneur. Lally contributed articles for popular space, astrobiology, photography, travel, and archaeology magazines. He was also a speaker at local space exploration and extraterrestrial intelligence (UFO) society meetings where he gave first-hand accounts of the early U.S. space program, commentaries on current U.S. space exploration activities and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), also called Explorer 94, is a NASA solar observation satellite. The mission was funded through the Small Explorer program to investigate the physical conditions of the solar limb, particularly the chromosphere of the Sun. The spacecraft consists of a satellite bus and spectrometer built by the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), and a telescope provided by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. IRIS is operated by LMSAL and NASA's Ames Research Center.
William J. (Bill) Borucki is a space scientist who worked at the NASA Ames Research Center. Upon joining NASA in 1962, Borucki designed the heat shields for Apollo program spacecraft. He later turned his attention to the optical efficiency of lightning strikes in the atmospheres of planets, investigating the propensity that these lightning strikes could create molecules that would later become the precursors for life. Subsequently, Borucki's attention turned to extrasolar planets and their detection, particularly through the transit method. In light of this work, Borucki was named the principal investigator for NASA's Kepler mission, launched on March 6, 2009 and dedicated to a transit-based search for habitable planets. In 2013, Borucki was awarded the United States National Academy of Sciences's Henry Draper Medal for his work with Kepler. In 2015 he received the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.
Susan G. Finley, a native Californian, has been an employee of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since January 1958, making her the longest-serving woman in NASA. Two days before Explorer 1 was launched, Finley began her career with the laboratory as a human computer, calculating rocket launch trajectories by hand. She now serves as a subsystem engineer for NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN). At JPL, she has participated in the exploration of the Moon, the Sun, all the planets, and other bodies in the Solar System.
William H. Pickering, a leader of the first successful space flight by the United States and its first two decades of planetary exploration, died on Monday at his home in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif. He was 93. ...
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