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Seminar: Distinguised Alumni Lecture

Dave Lavery


Friday, April 6, 2018
11:15am - 12:15pm
100 Hancock Hall

Dave Lavery


Mr. Lavery is responsible for management of the design and development of the next generation of Mars exploration spacecraft, and the advanced technologies to enable them. He is currently the Program Executive for Mars Science Laboratory mission, which landed on Mars in August 2012, the Mars Exploration Rover mission which landed in January 2004, and the US components of the joint European-U.S. Mars Express mission, which has been operating at Mars since 2004. He is also responsible for the development of the MOMA-MS instrument, and the Mars Helicopter technology demonstration, both intended for flight to Mars in 2020.

Prior to these assignments, Mr. Lavery directed the NASA Telerobotics Technology Development Program for 12 years. In this position, Mr. Lavery was responsible for the content and direction of the NASA robotics and planetary exploration research efforts, establishing national space robotics technology policy and procedures, developing interand intra-agency efforts in space robotics and solar system exploration technology, and integrating and directing national efforts for the development of the space robotics industry.

While at NASA, Mr. Lavery has been a participant in the field party for the Dante I and Dante II projects, which deployed robotic rovers inside active volcanoes in Antarctica and Alaska during 1992 and 1994. He was the program manager for the AERcam/Sprint project, which flew a self-contained free-flying robotic camera platform on the STS-86 Space Shuttle mission in 1996. He was the program manager for the Sojourner planetary rover, which landed Mars on July 4, 1997, as part of the Mars Pathfinder mission.

He also founded and directs the NASA Robotics Alliance Project, including the agency participation in the FIRST, VEX, and BotBall robotics competition programs. This project focuses on exposing high school students to real engineering challenges and projects by having them work side-by-side with professional engineering mentors. Under his leadership for the last 23 years, the project now directly supports and impacts over 28,000 high school students participating in a variety of robotics and technology competition programs.

Mr. Lavery is the recipient of the Edwin F. Church Medal for outstanding mechanical engineering education from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Joseph Engelberger Medal for outstanding leadership from the Robotics Industries Association, and the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for excellence in federal civil service from the Partnership for Public Service.