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Robotics Alliance Project



Robotics Alliance Project Management


Robotics Alliance Program Management

Dave Lavery, NASA Program Executive for Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters


For over a decade, David Lavery led the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Telerobotics Technology Development Program, with responsibility for content and direction of robotics and planetary exploration research efforts. Under his leadership the program was transformed into a world-class robotics technology and systems development program impacting NASA flight programs, other government robotics projects, and the entire robotics industry. Among the major products of Lavery's research program were the Sojourner Mars rover, the first robotic rover ever successfully placed on another planet; a free-flying robotic camera used on the Space Shuttle; Dante I and II robotic volcano explorers; and the National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC), to transfer robotic technologies developed by NASA into the commercial robotics industry. As Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA, Mr. Lavery is currently responsible for two Mars Exploration missions (2008 and 2009), the design and development oversight of the next generation of robotic Mars exploration spacecraft, the NASA Astrobiology Field Laboratory, and the Mars Advanced Technology Program. He has published more than 30 technical papers on robotic systems and technology. Lavery's current professional commitment and involvement includes the creation of the NASA Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) to inspire K-12 students in robotics, a Fellow of the National User Group Advisory Council and the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, and National Executive Advisory Board member of FIRST Robotics.


Robotics Alliance Project Management

Mark León, Manager of the NASA Robotics Alliance Project, NASA Ames Research Center


Mark Joseph León received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from San Jose State University. Mr. León was accepted in to the Collegiate Electrical Engineering Honor Society Eta Kapp Nu. In 1985 he achieved the status of All American by taking a silver metal in the Collegiate National Judo Championships. He has a first degree Black Belt in Judo and a second-degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Since the 1980's, Mr. León has held a number of positions at NASA focused on technical advances, including implementation of the Trans-Atlantic TCP/IP network links between US and Europe, design of permanent high-speed data connectivity to Antarctica supporting NASA's robotics program, and the first high speed internet link to the Arctic, where he conducted a series of live video broadcasts from the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star near the North Pole supporting NASA's robotics program. In 1999, Mr. León developed NASA's Robotics Education Project (now called the Robotics Alliance Project) under his mentor Dave Lavery, which has reached out to over 100,000 students nationwide using FIRST robotics and BOTBALL robotics competitions. Each year Mr. León MC's these national competitions to about 20,000 students sporting his NASA jacket and blue hair. From 2001-2006, Mr. León was the Deputy Director and then the Director of Education at Ames Research Center supporting ten states from Hawaii to Montana. Mark continues to manage the Robotics Alliance Project inspiring students across America.


 FirstGov  NASA
Curator: Drew Price
NASA Official: Mark Leon
Last Updated:
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