Bruce Murray

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Bruce Murray(AP Photo/Reed Saxon) Bruce Murray in the NASA Memorials Photo Gallery Enlarged Photo
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A longtime friend says former Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Bruce C. Murray has died at his home in Oceanside.

Charlene Anderson says Murray, a professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, died early Thursday of Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.

Anderson worked for many years with Murray at the Planetary Society that he founded with Carl Sagan.

Murray took over JPL in 1976 when Viking was landing on Mars, Voyager was touring the solar system and the Apollo program was winding down. When budget cuts were under review in Washington, many thought JPL might be in jeopardy and it fell to Murray to fight for it. Anderson says he succeeded in keeping the lab vital.

Murray is survived by his wife and five children.

SUE MANNING, Associated Press

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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