NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
California Institute of Technology
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
tel: +1 818 354-4321
fax: +1 818 354-3437
Dr. Charles Elachi: Director
About the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JPL is a federally funded research and development facility managed by the California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Trailblazing has been the business of JPL since it was established by the California Institute of Technology in the 1930s. America's first satellite, Explorer 1 which launched in 1958, was created at JPL. In the decades that followed, JPL sent the first robotic craft to the moon and out across the solar system, reconnoitering all of the planets. Pushing the outer edge of exploration, in fact, is the reason JPL exists as a NASA laboratory.
In 2014, we will launch four new missions. Three are designed to monitor our home planet: RapidScat, an instrument that will measure ocean winds from the vantage point of the International Space Station; Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2, a satellite that will study atmospheric carbon dioxide; and the Soil Moisture Active Passive mission, a satellite that will map Earth’s soil moisture. The fourth mission to launch this year, OPALS, is an experiment that will demonstrate optical communication from the International Space Station to the ground.
In total, JPL has 21 spacecraft and 9 instruments conducting active missions. All of these are important parts of NASA's program of exploration of Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond. While carrying out these exploration missions, JPL also conducts a number of space technology demonstrations in support of national security and develops technologies for uses on Earth in fields from public safety to medicine, capitalizing on NASA's investment in space technology.
In addition to the Laboratory’s main Pasadena site and the three Deep Space Network complexes around the world, JPL installations include an astronomical observatory at Table Mountain, California, and a launch operations site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. In 2011, JPL has a workforce of about 5,000 employees and on-site contractors, and an annual budget of approximately $1.6 billion.