Louis Friedman

Louis Friedman

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Louis Friedman is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astronautics engineer and space spokesperson. He was born in New York and raised in the Bronx. Dr. Friedman was a co-founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

 and Bruce C. Murray
Bruce C. Murray
Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931 in New York, NY. He is a professor emeritus of planetary science and geology at Caltech and was Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982.He received his Ph.D...


Education and career

In 1961 he earned his Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics
Applied mathematics
Applied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry. Thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge...

 and Engineering Physics
Engineering physics
Engineering physics is the study of the combined disciplines of physics, engineering and mathematics in order to develop an understanding of the interrelationships of these three disciplines. Fundamental physics is combined with problem solving and engineering skills, which then has broad...

 from University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

. In 1963 he graduated from Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 with a Masters of Science in Engineering Mechanics
Applied mechanics
Applied mechanics is a branch of the physical sciences and the practical application of mechanics. Applied mechanics examines the response of bodies or systems of bodies to external forces...

. In 1971 he graduated with a Ph.D. from the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department of MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 with his thesis on “Extracting Scientific Information from Spacecraft Tracking Data.”

He worked for AVCO
Avco Corporation is a subsidiary of Textron which operates Textron Systems Corporation and Lycoming.-Brief history:The Embry-Riddle Company created the Aviation Corporation in 1928 as a holding company tasked with acquiring small airlines...

 Space Systems Division from 1963-1968. From 1970 through 1980 he was with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 (JPL) leading the Advanced Planetary Studies and the post-Viking
Viking program
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...

 Mars Program. Other projects at the JPL include Mariner-Venus-Mercury
Mariner 10
Mariner 10 was an American robotic space probe launched by NASA on November 3, 1973, to fly by the planets Mercury and Venus. It was launched approximately two years after Mariner 9 and was the last spacecraft in the Mariner program...

, Planetary Grand Tour
Planetary Grand Tour
The Planetary Grand Tour was an ambitious plan to send unmanned probes to the planets of the outer solar system. Conceived by Gary Flandro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the late 1960s, the Grand Tour would have exploited the alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, an event...

Voyager program
The Voyager program is a U.S program that launched two unmanned space missions, scientific probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable planetary alignment of the late 1970s...

), Venus Orbital Imaging Radar (Magellan probe
Magellan probe
The Magellan spacecraft, also referred to as the Venus Radar Mapper, was a 1,035-kilogram robotic space probe launched by NASA on May 4, 1989, to map the surface of Venus using Synthetic Aperture Radar and measure the planetary gravity...

), Halley's Comet Rendezvous-Solar Sail, and the Mars Program
Exploration of Mars
The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s...


Projects, Print, and Speeches

  • Star Sailing: Solar Sails and Interstellar Flight, Louis Friedman, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1988, ISBN 978-0471625933, 146 pgs.
  • Project Director of the Solar Sail mission by The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studies: Cosmos I
  • Part of the technical team on the Mars Balloon and Mars Rover
    Mars Rover
    A Mars rover is an automated motor vehicle which propels itself across the surface of the planet Mars after landing.Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to...

     for The Planetary Society
  • Asked to participate in both Congressional and Administrative reviews for American and Russian space missions
  • 2004 Congressional Hearings on Space: United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects:* Coast Guard* Coastal zone management* Communications...

     – NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     Future Space Mission http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=11681
  • ”Think Bigger About Mars” Louis Friedman, June 27, 2000
  • ”A Space Nerd Responds” Louis Friedman, August 13, 2007
  • ”Where will the Next 50 Years in Space Take Us? Expert Opinions” Popular Mechanics, September 2007


  • The Planetary Society – Executive Director and author of World Watch in the Planetary Report
  • Sigma Xi
    Sigma Xi
    Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society is a non-profit honor society which was founded in 1886 at Cornell University by a junior faculty member and a handful of graduate students. Members elect others on the basis of their research achievements or potential...

  • American Astronautical Society
    American Astronautical Society
    Formed in 1954, the American Astronautical Society is an independent scientific and technical group in the United States dedicated to the advancement of space science and exploration. AAS supports NASA's Vision for Space Exploration and is a member of the Coalition for Space Exploration and the...

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

    – Congressional Fellow 1978-79