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Dr. Gerald Hintz

Ph.D., Mathematics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Career in Industry

Dr. Hintz was a technical manager and senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California for 37 years before his retirement in 2006. He worked on the development and flight operations of space missions, including Viking I and II (two orbiters and two landers to Mars), Mariner 9 (orbiter to Mars), Seasat (an earth orbiter), Voyager (for the Neptune encounter), Pioneer Venus (orbiter to Venus), Galileo (probe and orbiter to Jupiter), Ulysses (solar polar mission), Cassini-Huygens (orbiter to Saturn and lander to Titan), and Aquarius (a future earth orbiter). As a technical manager, he provided multi-mission navigation support via the Deep Space Network, developed a computer-based training and reference tool for the Orbit Determination Program, and provided a successful orbital design for an earth-orbital mission. His presentation of a paper on the computer-based training and reference tool at the 17th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics in Moscow, Russia received several accolades. Another one of his activities was to write standards for international data transfer.

He has also taught a short course in orbital mechanics as a contractor at industrial sites in California and South Dakota.


Career in Academia

Dr. Hintz is an adjunct professor at USC, having taught a graduate-level course in orbital mechanics for over two decades. He continuously updates this course with information about current space missions. He has also developed the curriculum for another graduate-level course entitled “Space Navigation: Principles and Practice”. This course treats statistical orbit determination, online ephemeris generation, and spacecraft launch. Each course includes a term project.

Professional Societies and Activities

He is an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow in the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering. His activities have included being the Chair of the San Gabriel Valley Section of the AIAA, a reviewer for the Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, and the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, a member of the AIAA’s Astronautics Technical Committee at the national level, and a session chair and presenter at space flight symposiums and astrodynamics and mathematics conferences.

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