Doug Adams

Douglas Adams

Spacecraft Systems Engineer, Dragonfly
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
BSAAE 1994, MSAAE 1996, PhD AAE 2001

"My studies at Purdue provided me with the foundation upon which I built my career, but it was only after I started working that I realized how excellent the education I had received really was and appreciated how it propelled me forward. There is no part of the aerospace world that isn’t touched by Purdue in some way.”

Douglas Adams is a member of the Principal Professional Staff in the Space Systems Engineering Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). He is currently serving as the Spacecraft Systems Engineer on Dragonfly, a New Frontiers project that will send an octocopter to explore the surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan.

In his prior time at APL, he served as the Mechanical, Thermal and Propulsion Systems Engineer for the Europa Clipper project, as the Mission Systems Engineer for the Carrier and Relay Stage of the Europa Lander study, as the Deputy Mission Systems Engineer for a comet surface sample return New Frontiers proposal and as the Mission Systems Engineer for a Venus radar mapping Discovery proposal.

Before joining APL, Adams spent 12 years at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on numerous projects, including the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity), the Phoenix Mars Scout lander as the Entry, Descent, and Landing Mechanical Systems Engineer, the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover) as the Parachute Cognizant Engineer, and was the dynamics lead for the Soil Moisture Active Passive mission.

He received a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2006, was a member of the Mars Science Laboratory team that received the 2013 Robert J. Collier Trophy honoring the “greatest achievement in aeronautics and astronautics in America,” received APL’s 2016 R. W. Hart Prize for the best internal research and development project and was selected to receive the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s 2019 Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence.

Adams received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue.

Class of 2020 OAE feature series: Douglas Adams