(September 21, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Dr. Henry B. Garrett

Dr. Henry B. Garrett
AIAA Fellow
Principal Scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Garrett has a doctorate in Space Physics and Astronomy. He has over 150 publications on the space environment and its effects with specific emphasis in the areas of atmospheric physics, the low earth ionosphere, radiation, micrometeoroids, space plasma environments, and effects on materials and systems in space. While on active duty in the Air Force he served as Project Scientist for the highly successful SCATHA program which studied the effects of charging on spacecraft. For this he was awarded the Harold Brown Award, the Air Force’s highest scientific award. In 1992, he was selected for a joint DoD/NASA assignment at the Pentagon as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization where he acted as the Deputy Program Manager for the Clementine Lunar Mission and Program Manager for the Clementine InterStage Adapter Satellite (ISAS). For contributions to these missions, he was awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement. After a 30 years career in the USAF Reserves, he retired in 2002 as a full Colonel and was awarded the AF Legion of Merit. During his 40 year career at JPL, he has been responsible for defining the space environment and its effects on reliability for many NASA missions. He has also published several textbooks on the space environment and its impact on spacecraft design and reliability. Dr. Garrett is an international consultant on the terrestrial and interplanetary space environments and spacecraft reliability having worked for INTELSAT, L’Garde, NASDA, LORAL, CNES, and other organizations. In 2006 Dr. Garrett received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for “his achievements in advancing the understanding of space environments and effects.” Recently, Dr. Garrett co-authored with Mr. Albert Whittlesey the primary NASA standard on spacecraft surface and internal charging for earth missions. Dr. Garrett retired from full time duties at JPL in 2017 but continues in an emeritus position. He was made a Fellow of the AIAA in 2019.
“I started my “career” in astronomy in 8th grade by grinding a 6 inch telescope and learning astrophotography for the state science fair. Each year after that I worked on my project ultimately making a complex reflector/refractor telescope camera that won me a first place in physics and the top award in optics at the 1966 International Science Fair in Dallas, TX. This allowed me to get into Rice University were I became the first undergraduate in their astronomy department based on my project. Ultimately I received my PHD and went on to a career in space physics and astronomy. Years later my high school science project came to the attention of my managers at NASA and I was made the chief optical inspector for the Hubble repair project (HARP)—you never know where your STEM activities will take you: from my youth in my backyard in Roswell, NM, to the planets and beyond!! (PS: Working at JPL has allowed me to “phone home”.”