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Charles Elachi, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and planetary science at the California Institute of Technology, has received the International Academy of Astronautics’ highest honor: the Theodore von Kármán Award, which recognizes outstanding lifetime achievements in any branch of science.
The academy honored Elachi at the organization’s annual awards ceremony on October 20 in Washington, D.C., for “a lifetime of scientific and engineering leadership that enabled breathtaking advances in knowledge of the earth, solar system, and universe.”
The award citation also noted that as director of JPL, “he led the creation of 24 NASA missions, all with significant international participation. His nurturing of three generations of scientists and engineers has paved the way for decades of continuing advances in the space sciences.”
Previous Caltech recipients have included Edward C. Stone, David Morrisroe Professor of Physics and vice provost for special projects, and the late William H. Pickering, Caltech professor of electrical engineering. Both men also previously served as director of JPL.