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Richard "Rick" Grammier
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Richard "Rick" Grammier
(1955 - 2011)
Director for Solar System Exploration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Rick (left) celebrates Deep Impact's successful encounter with comet Tempel 1 in 2005.

"Rick will be missed at JPL as a respected leader in our space exploration program. He was truly guiding us as we reached for the stars and he managed to have an impact on a comet along the way. His spirit will continue to inspire us as we continue our quest to understand the Universe." -- Larry Bryant, Flight Team Trainer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Born in Austin, Texas, Richard "Rick" Grammier had been interested in math since he was a child. His mother was a math teacher who had worked with the monkeys used at the beginning of the space program and she influenced Rick to excel in math. Rick dreamed of attending West Point from the age of seven. Rick achieved dream, earning a Bachelor of Science there in 1977. "That's where I learned you could always do more than you ever thought possible, and even more if you teamed up and took care of each other," he said.

JPL is "like one big family working together to
solve difficult but exciting problems that few
people ever get the chance to address."
Rick Grammier

In 1989, after working for a company in Arizona in a non-space related role, Rick joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Rick returned to college for a master's degree. Rick received his master's degree in electrical and computer engineering from California State Polytechnic University.

Rick contributed to numerous flight projects at JPL including Cassini (command and data subsystem manager), Stardust (project engineer and deputy project manager), Deep Impact (project manager), and Juno (project manager). He also managed the Laboratory's Office of Mission Assurance. Rick enjoyed working at JPL because he felt that his co-workers were "like one big family working together to solve difficult but exciting problems that few people ever get the chance to address."

Rick was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for Cassini, as well as two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for his accomplishments on Stardust and Deep Impact.

Rick enjoyed travel, cooking, gardening, camping and spending time with his family.

Rick passed away on January 23, 2011. He was 55. He is survived by his wife Laura, and his children Daniel, David, daughter in-law Christine, Matthew, Jackson, and Jessica.

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Last Updated: 3 January 2013

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