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Claudia Alexander Obituary

5/30/1959 - 7/11/2015| Visit Guest Book
Claudia Alexander (NASA photo)
Claudia Alexander (NASA photo)
Claudia Alexander, the brilliant NASA scientist who concluded the agency’s highly successful Galileo mission to Jupiter, died July 11, according to The Associated Press. She was 56.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Alexander had breast cancer.

Born in Canada and raised in California, Alexander was famously persuaded into engineering by parents none-to-keen on her journalistic ambitions. A summer job at the Ames Research Center sparked a lifelong interest in astrophysics, and she earned her doctorate in the physics of space plasma at the University of Michigan. The university named her Woman of the Year in 1993.

Alexander started her career with the United States Geological Service studying plate tectonics, then studied Jovian moons at the Ames Research Center until 1986, when she began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her work there as a science coordinator for instrumentation aboard the Galileo spacecraft led to her appointment as the project manager of that mission. After that mission was completed, Alexander served until her death as the U.S. leader on the Rosetta Project, which studied comets and marked the first time in history a spacecraft rendezvoused with a comet.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Alexander was noted for her pioneering approach to public engagement, using social media to allow amateur astronomers to promote and assist with the Rosetta project.

Per JPL officials, two memorial services are planned in California, one July 25 in Los Angeles and another Aug. 8 in San Jose.
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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on August 2, 2015
Dr. Claudia Alexander May 30, 1959 - July 11, 2015 Resident of Bay Area Pioneering JPL Space Plasma Physicist Dr. Claudia Alexander Dies at 56. As Project Scientist for NASA's Galileo and Rosetta... Read Obituary
Published online on July 13, 2015 courtesy of Dignity Memorial.

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