Office: ESM 305
- B.S., Purdue University, 1989
- M.S., Purdue University, 1991
David Spencer is a Professor of the Practice within the School of Aerospace Engineering and Director for the Center for Space Systems, a multi-disciplinary education and research center dedicated to excellence in space system engineering. He teaches the capstone space systems design series of courses, and is conducting research on collaborative observation systems utilizing orbital and in-situ assets for the study of coastal oceans. Mr. Spencer joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 2008 after seventeen years with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While at JPL, he was the Deputy Project Manager for the Phoenix Mars Lander, Mission Manager for the Deep Impact and Mars Odyssey projects, and mission designer for Mars Pathfinder. He is the author or co-author of technical publications in the fields of planetary mission design, flight operations, and system engineering.
Space system engineering spanning the flight project lifecycle, including:
- Collaborative oceanographic observations from satellites, moorings and underwater vehicles to study climate change and human impacts on the environment
- Design and system engineering of robotic and human space exploration missions
- Methodologies for mission risk assessment and risk management
Honors and Distinctions
- NASA Space Act Award, 2007
- Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award, Purdue University, 2004
- NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, 1998 and 2006
- NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 2003
- JPL Award for Excellence, 1998 and 1999
- Arvidson, R., Adams, D., Bonfiglio, G., Christensen, P., Cull, S., Golombek, M., Guinn, J., Guinness, E., Heet, T., Kirk, R., Knudson, A., Malin, M., Mellon, M., McEwen, A., Mushkin, A., Parker, T., Seelos, F., Seelos, K., Smith, P., Spencer, D., Stein, T., Tamppari, L., “Mars Exploration Program 2007 Phoenix Landing Site Selection and Characteristics,” Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, Vol. 113, Article Number E00A03, June 2008.
- Spencer, D. and Tolson, R., “Aerobraking Cost and Risk Decisions,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 44 No. 6, November-December, 2007, pp 1285-1293.
- Braun, R., Wright, H., Croom, M., Levine, J., and Spencer, D., “Design of the ARES Mars Airplane and Mission Architecture,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 43 Iss. 5, September-October, 2006, pp. 1026-1034.
- Spencer, D., Blanchard, R., Braun, R., Kallemeyn, P., Peng, C-Y., and Thurman, S., “Mars Pathfinder Entry, Descent and Landing Reconstruction,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 36 Iss. 3, May/June 1999, pp. 357-366.
- Spencer, D. and Braun, R., “Mars Pathfinder Atmospheric Entry: Trajectory Design and Dispersion Analysis,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 34 No. 2, Mar.-Apr. 1997.