Profile: Dr. Peter T. Poon

Profile: Dr. Peter T. Poon

Dr. Peter T. Poon
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Peter T. Poon is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Telecommunications and Mission Systems Manager for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission. He represents two major systems. The first is the Deep Space Network, which is the world's largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system and its most precise navigation network. It consists of three complexes of up to 70-meter-diameter antennas located on three continents: Goldstone, in California's Mojave Desert; Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, Australia; and Robledo, near Madrid, Spain. Second is the Advanced Multimission and Operations System at JPL, which is the nerve center for processing spacecraft data and control.

Besides Mars Odyssey, he is also a manager for Mars Global Surveyor, the French CNES Orbiter/ Netlanders mission, the Italian ASI Telecom Orbiter mission, the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network Project, and the Pioneer Technology mission. He was a manager for the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn from proposal to launch, and for a variety of other missions involving the French Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the German Space Operations Center.

Poon received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He served as U.S. chair and program chair for a number of international technical conferences, and on the Executive Committee for IEEE Software Engineering Standards. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He lives in Arcadia with his wife, Mable, who works at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. They have two children, Amy, a medical student at UC San Francisco, and Brian, an EE-Computer Science graduate from UC Berkeley.

While a high school student at Queen Elizabeth School in Hong Kong, he co-founded an astronomy club and built an 8-inch telescope by hand. He participates in various volunteer activities. His advice to young people: "Do well in your studies which provide the basic discipline, knowledge and tools, be curious and use your imagination, appreciate beauty, and be connected to your fellow students by being a good team player. Excellent team work is essential to the success of missions."