The Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) is marking the International Year of Astronomy with a series of public lectures presented by world renowned rocket engineer and space historian Douglas Mudgway.
Mr Mudgway’s presentation William H Pickering: Deep Space Pioneer will take place in October, in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Mr Mudgway will explore in-depth the career and achievements of the IPENZ inaugural patron, and New Zealand’s most celebrated engineer, William Pickering.
William Hayward Pickering was a New Zealand born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976.
Mudgway, who hails from Wellington (New Zealand), joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California in 1962 as a development engineer. At the time, Pickering was head of the JPL and leading the unmanned space programme.
Achievements such as the launching of the fist U.S satellite, surveyor craft landing on the Moon and space craft being sent to Mercury, Venus and Mars, had made Pickering a household name, and put him on the cover of Time magazine not once but twice.
Douglas Mudgway’s personal relationship with Pickering and his own expertise in deep space exploration have earned him a reputation as a world authority on Pickering’s career and on the history of America’s space programme.
Mudgway’s book, William H. Pickering: Deep Space Pioneer, was published by the NASA History Office in 2007, and selected by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for its annual history award. The book was gifted to all secondary schools, tertiary institutions and public and community libraries in New Zealand by the IPENZ Foundation.