Ken Atkins was Project Manager for NASA's STARDUST mission
to comet Wild 2 from the beginning in June 1995,
through the launch in February of 1999, and for
the first year and a half of flight. The objective
of this mission is to fly through the dusty head
of the comet to capture/collect particles and
return them to Earth in January 2006.
After transferring project management to Tom
Duxbury in August 2000, Ken served
as JPL's owner for Project Leadership Processes
(PLP). In this capacity, he played a central role
in the corrective actions necessary in the wake
of the Mars 98 failures.
Ken retired from Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL) in February 2002. But as a retiree, he has
continued part-time providing support for Project
Managers with mentoring activities and working
the development of the Project Managers Workshop.
Ken also serves on several boards reviewing JPL's
proposals for new space projects.
Ken's background of technical and management activity
includes nine years as an officer/pilot in the
U.S. Air Force and over 32 years at JPL with a
career spanning mission analysis, power systems,
avionics systems, and project management.
Ken Atkin's grandchildren created this congratulatory banner after the Stardust capsule successfully landed in Utah.
Ken has a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering (AE)
from St. Louis University ('58), MSAE from the
Air Force Institute of Technology ('66), and Ph.D.
in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
(AAE) from the University of Illinois ('74).
Ken is originally from Amarillo, Texas. He has
been married 44 years to Barbara (originally from
St. Louis, MO) and they have two adult children:
son, Lee Atkins (engineering grad from USC), and
daughter, Laurie Sargent (communications grad
from UC San Diego). There are 4 grandchildren
(3 boys and one girl). Home now is La Crescenta,
California, near the Jet Propulsion Lab.
|Last updated February 3, 2006