Broadcast information
TV Station Registration
School Teacher Registration
Order Tapes
The Red Planet
Follow the Water
History of Mars Exploration
Oral History
The M-Team
Watch The Videos
Hands on Activities
Online Interaction
Marsquest-Destination Mars
Local Events
Spanish Resources
New and Now
Around the WWW
On This Site

TMwM is made possible in
part by

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.


Orlando Figueroa
Director, Solar System Exploration Division
Director, Mars Exploration Program Office

Mr. Figueroa was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 9, 1955. He obtained a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus in 1978, and completed advanced courses in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Federal Government since 1997.

In September 2003, Mr. Figueroa was appointed to the position of Director for the Solar System Division in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, and continues to hold the position of Director for Mars Exploration, also in the Office of Space Science.

His past experience includes the position of NASA Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems Engineering, and 22 years at the Goddard Space Flight Center. His career at the Goddard Space Flight Center included: Head of the Cryogenics Technology Section; Lead Cryogenic Engineer for the Cryogenic Optical Assembly of the Cosmic Background Explorer; manager for the Superfluid helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Shuttle Experiment; Manager for the Small Explorers project; manager for the Explorers Program; and Director of the Systems, Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate.

Throughout his career, Mr. Figueroa has received numerous awards for Group Achievement, Outstanding Performance, and Exceptional Service in the Performance of duties as a Senior Executive, and received the President Rank Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Executive in 2001. He was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in March 1993 for the management of the SMEX Project. In 1994, he received the Community Stars Award from the Maryland Science Commission for his work and support of innovative education programs between NASA, industry and Maryland Schools. In 2002 he received the Pioneer Award from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation for his contribution to the advancement of science and technology and for promoting the education of our youth. In 2002, the Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one the most influential Hispanics in the Nation. He is the author of several technical publications in the field of cryogenics, the SMEX missions, and the Mars Exploration Program.

Mr. Figueroa lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Josephine, and two sons, Daniel and Alexis.