NASA'S JET Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has established new organisations to strengthen management of future Mars and space science missions.

The move is in response to the findings of the Mars Programme Independent Assessment Team, which investigated the failures of NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander. The team's report criticised programme management at JPL.

Dr Firouz Naderi has been named manager of the new Mars programme office, which will be the single point of contact between JPL and NASA headquarters, as recommended by the report. Naderi was manager of NASA's Origins programme.

Thomas Gavin has been appointed to head a new JPL space science flight projects directorate, which will manage the implementation of all non-Earth-orbiting missions, including Mars flights. Gavin was deputy director of JPL's space and Earth sciences programmes directorate.

Following the Mars assessment team's criticism of NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" approach, the agency has delayed launch of its Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander to implement changes. The agency hopes to reschedule the launch for 2003.

The Mars 2001 Orbiter is set for launch in April 2001, but the payload for the Mars 2003 Lander is under review and may be simplified "to ensure mission success".

Source: Flight International