Tony Spear

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Spear at JPL Spears3.jpg
Spear at JPL

Anthony Spear is an American space exploration project manager most notable for leading the Mars Pathfinder mission for JPL/NASA in 1996. [1] He retired from JPL in 1998. [2] He is now seeking the Google Lunar X Prize with Red Whittaker, Astrobotic, and Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1962. [3] [4]

Space exploration discovery and exploration of outer space

Space exploration is the discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic space probes and human spaceflight.

Project manager professional in the field of project management

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement and execution of a project, in any undertaking that has a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish; regardless of industry. Project managers are first point of contact for any issues or discrepancies arising from within the heads of various departments in an organization before the problem escalates to higher authorities. Project management is the responsibility of a project manager. This individual seldom participates directly in the activities that produce the end result, but rather strives to maintain the progress, mutual interaction and tasks of various parties in such a way that reduces the risk of overall failure, maximizes benefits, and minimizes costs.

<i>Mars Pathfinder</i> space probe

Mars Pathfinder is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight (10.6 kg/23 lb) wheeled robotic Mars rover named Sojourner, which became the first rover to operate outside the Earth–Moon system.


After graduating from high school, Spear spent four years in the US Air Force attending radio school and working in radio repair on jet fighters. He then went on to get his B.S. from Carnegie Mellon, and then an M.S. degree from the University of Southern California.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, and medicine.

Spear worked at JPL in Pasadena, California while taking classes toward his master's degree. He also did graduate work in the Engineering Executive Program at the UCLA and earned a master's of engineering.

Pasadena, California City in California, United States

Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located 10 miles northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

Mr. Spear has held many different jobs since beginning his career at JPL in 1962. He first started out in Deep Space Telecommunication System Engineering where he was involved in the design and development of NASA's Mariner program missions from 1964 to 1973. He also helped design the lander-orbiter relay communications link for the Viking program mission in 1976.

Mariner program NASA space program

The Mariner program was a 10-mission program conducted by the American space agency NASA in conjunction with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The program launched a series of robotic interplanetary probes, from 1962 to 1973, designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury. The program included a number of firsts, including the first planetary flyby, the first planetary orbiter, and the first gravity assist maneuver.

Viking program pair of NASA space probes sent to Mars

The Viking program consisted of a pair of American space probes sent to Mars, Viking 1 and Viking 2. Each spacecraft was composed of two main parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and a lander designed to study the planet from the surface. The orbiters also served as communication relays for the landers once they touched down.

From 1975 to 1979, he began to manage the development and implementation of the microwave instruments for the NASA SEASAT mission, including the first synthetic aperture imaging radar to fly in space. For the next 11 years, Spear worked in various capacities for the Magellan probe mission.

After leading JPL's initial studies of NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" fixed-priced, low-cost, quick-reaction Discovery program missions, Tony Spear began working as the project manager for the Mars Pathfinder mission. He managed the landing of the Pathfinder shuttle and the Sojourner rover with astounding successes.

Said Daniel S. Goldin of Spear, "Tony Spear was a legendary project manager at JPL and helped make Mars Pathfinder the riveting success that it was." [5]

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Lander (spacecraft) spacecraft which descends toward and comes to rest on the surface of an astronomical body

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  1. "Tony Spear". Mars Team Online (NASA). Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  2. "Former pathfinder manager retires from JPL". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  3. "Mars Exploration Leader Joins Astrobotic's Lunar Expedition". Reuters. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  4. "Lunar landing challenge lures him to CMU team". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  5. "NASA Administrator Praises Work of Review Teams". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 2008-02-14.