Bobby Braun Moving from JPL to APL

Bobby Braun Moving from JPL to APL

Bobby Braun, JPL’s Director for Planetary Science, will succeed Mike Ryschkewitsch as Space Exploration Sector Head at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab at the end of March. Braun’s long career in space technology includes positions at Georgia Tech, the University of Colorado Boulder, NASA Langley Research Center, and NASA Headquarters where he led the effort to create the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Braun said today that taking the job at APL is like going home. His father, Jacob “Jack” Braun, worked at APL for 35 years. He grew up nearby and his mother still lives in the area.

He begins his new position on March 28 following Ryschkewitsch’s retirement.

APL Director Ralph Semmel said Braun’s “achievements in leading space technology and science innovations, as well as his accomplishments in mission and program development, are an ideal match for the types of unique and complex challenges we undertake here.”

In a Twitter thread and a memo to colleagues, Braun said he has cherished his two years at JPL, but the pandemic led him to reconsider his priorities and “heightened my resolve to focus on family and loved ones.”


Before joining JPL in 2020, Braun was Dean of Engineering at CU Boulder (2017-2020), David and Andrew Lewis Professor of Space Technology at Georgia Tech (2009-2016) and faculty member (2003-2009), and a manager and technologist at NASA Langley (1989-2003). From 2010-2011, he accepted a two-year assignment to serve as Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters where one of his signature accomplishments was establishment of the new Space Technology Mission Directorate to focus on cross-cutting instead of mission-driven technology development.

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