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Matthew R. Landano

Matthew R. Landano '63, '68
Director for Office of Safety and Mission Success
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Matthew R. Landano is this yearís recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. Matthew, of Italian American heritage, heralds from St. Louis, Missouri.  Within days of Pearl Harbor, his father was called to action, and it was nearly three years before the youngster truly met his dad.

After being the first in his family to complete high school, California beckoned. Matt enrolled at the-then Los Angeles State College, working while a full-time student. Because engineering was challenging and demanding, little time remained for outside activities.  However, Matt managed to make time for baseball, basketball and church functions and also joined the Universityís Institute of Radio Engineers -- now the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, he continued working full-time in the aerospace industry while pursuing his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. His higher education achievements meant a great deal to his family, since both parents had to leave school very early to work. 

Realizing his ambition to be part of the nationís space program, Matt joined the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Jet Propulsion laboratory, where he works on projects connected with NASA. He has contributed to many of the nationís robotic space missions, including the Viking Orbiter /Mars; the Voyager to the outer solar system; the Galileo to Jupiter; the Cassini to Saturn; the Odyssey to Mars; and a multitude of other scientific space expeditions.

While all these missions have brought a great sense of accomplishment, he says he is particularly partial to the Galileo Project because of the challenges it involved for the team in keeping the spacecraft development on-track, overcoming many pre-launch redesigns, and significant operational difficulties, yet managing to achieve mission success.

In 2002, Matthew was appointed director for the Office of Safety and Mission Success.  In this capacity, he is responsible for the critical hardware needed for mission success, for providing independent technical review and risk assessment for all missions and reporting results to JPL and NASA. He has received several honors, including NASAís highest Distinguished Service Medal, two Outstanding Leadership Medals, the Exceptional Service Medal and the prestigious Aviation Week Laurels Award.

Matt lives in Glendale with his wife Angeline.  He is the proud father of two grown children, Lisa and Karen and grandfather to Camryn and Conner.  In his spare time, Matt enjoys his family, gardening, travelling and reading books on history, anthropology and archeology.

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