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Doug Griffith, From Fieldale, VA to Rocket Scientist    

Doug Griffith - Rocket ScientistDouglas Griffith graduated from Fieldale High School in 1957. He went on to the University of Virginia where he earned Bachelor and Master degrees in Aeronautical Engineering in 1961 and 1963. While at UVA Doug was elected to the Tau Beta Pi Honor Engineering Society and the The Society of the Sigma Xi Honor Science Society. Early on Doug knew he wanted to work in the missile and space vehicle field after college, becoming the Quin-essential "Rocket Scientist". He move to California in 1963 and worked at Lockheed Martin from 1963 to 1974. That position included various Intercontinental missile programs, the NASA Skylab Project(Manned Space Laboratory) and Viking Project(Space Mission to Mars). These assignments took him from California to Colorado, Texas and back to California with the Viking Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL).

In 1974, Doug hired on at JPL(Jet Propulsion Laboratory) to work on space missions to the planets. He would stay there 28 years. While at JPL he started on Viking and then spent 15 years on the Voyager mission which sent spacecraft to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. He held various positions on Voyager including Spacecraft Test Chief, Operations Manager, Deputy Mission Director and Neptune Encounter Preparations Manager. He received two NASA Medals for service on Voyager including the Exceptional Service Medal and the Outstanding Leadership Medal.

After Voyager, Doug spent 6 years on the Magellan Mission to Venus in the positions of Mission Director and Project Manager. While on Magellan he received two NASA Medals for service including the Exceptional Service Medal and Exceptional Achievement Medal. During that period in 1993, he was also a recipient of the Aviation Week & Space Technology 1993 Laurels Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Space/Missiles. Doug was the final Magellan Project Manager which included closing out the mission in 1995. This was one of his more difficult jobs since it meant finding new work for all remaining personnel.

After Magellan, Doug worked as Deputy Director of the Plans & Commitments Division in the Deep Space Network(DSN) Directorate at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This effort over the next seven years until retirement took him farther afield in space missions. He managed Deep Space Network support effort for space missions to all the nine planets, and various Earth Science missions. Being that so many missions were involved with DSN support, it was a great challenge as all efforts had to be supported simultaneously. Doug enjoyed working with the many space projects and various foreign space agencies.

Doug retired in 2002 and really enjoyed the years at JPL. He has continued in a consulting role to various missions. Since retirement, Doug has been called on to share his broad space experience on many mission review boards.

On the personal level, Doug married Carolyn Haynes of Martinsville in 1961. They continue to live in California. He has one daughter and one grandson whom he visits often in Albuquerque, NM. He is the son of Carl and Elsie Griffith and has one sister Edna.

View early photos of Doug HERE.


Martinsville and Henry County, VA

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