Dr. Byron Tapley
Dr. Byron Tapley, University of Texas (Vice Chair) - Dr. Tapley holds the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair in Engineering and has served as Director of the Center for Space Research since it was established in 1981. He joined the Aerospace Engineering faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1959 and served as the Chairman of the combined ASE-EM Department from 1966 through 1977. He served as the Director of the Texas Space Grant Consortium from 1991 until 2004. His research interests include orbit mechanics, nonlinear parameter estimation, satellite data analysis and the uses of methods from these areas in satellite applications to studies of earth and planetary system dynamics. A recent focus of his research has been directed at determining accurate models for the Earth's gravity field. Currently, he is also the mission principal investigator for the Gravity Research and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the first NASA Earth System Pathfinder Missions to achieve orbit. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and he is a fellow member of AIAA, AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the NASA Public Service Medal, and the AGU Charles A. Whitten Medal are among the awards he has received. He has authored over 200 refereed journal articles. He served as a member of numerous NASA committees and as a principal investigator for seven NASA missions.