William Hayward Pickering

William Hayward Pickering ( born December 24, 1910 in Wellington, † 15 March 2004) was a New Zealand - American space pioneer. From 1954 to 1976 he was Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL ).

Pickering studied at the University of Canterbury and at Caltech, where he in 1936 received his doctorate in physics. Initially he worked on experiments to cosmic cosmic radiation, which at that time served as accelerators replacement for the observation of elementary particles. He undertook balloon experiments with Robert Millikan, and developed the electronics for cloud chamber detectors. This also led to collaboration with Carl D. Anderson discovered the positron with the developed of Pickering Electronics.

The study of electronics and telemetry led him to the discovery of space. He was at Caltech from 1936 and from 1944 at JPL. 1947 its frequency modulation telemetry system has become the standard for communicating with missiles. In 1947, he led the JPL team that made ​​the military ballistic missile " Bumper" from the WAC Corporal rocket. In 1954 he became director of JPL at Caltech. On January 31, 1958 with his group launched Explorer 1 the first artificial satellite of the United States. In the same year the space projects of the JPL NASA have been transferred and Pickering headed the Explorer 3 - and Pioneer missions, the Ranger and Surveyor missions to the Moon and some Mariner missions to Mars and Venus. At the time of his retirement, the Voyager mission was in preparation.

Pickering was a knight of the Order of the British Empire. In 1972 he received the IEEE Edison Medal, 1975, the National Medal of Science in 1994 and the Japan Prize. He was featured twice on the cover of Time Magazine. 2010, a mountain peak in the Kepler Mountains was named in Fiordland National Park in New Zealand after him. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In addition to the New Zealand he had U.S. citizenship.