Discovery Series

2021-2022 Kick-off event

Launching NASA across the solar system, one "failure" at a time.

Kalamazoo native, Norman Haynes, Director of Mars Exploration, Jet Propulsion Lab (Retired), is a leading figure in the remarkable history of NASA’s planetary  exploration.  Join us for a first-person account of Norman’s key role in our spacecraft making exciting new discoveries on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, and beyond.

When Mariner 4 launched in November 1964 towards performing the first flyby of Mars, Norm Haynes was five years into what would become a remarkable four-decade career leading various elements of interplanetary exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA.

Following a long path of solar system exploration filled with groundbreaking achievements and fascinating discoveries, Norm became the Director of Mars Exploration in 1996, a role he held until his retirement in 2000. Along the way, Norm received various honors and recognitions, culminating with the awarding of NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honor. 

Join Norm as he focuses on the hurdles, disappointments and on-the-spot ingenuity that led to the triumphant successes of two groundbreaking missions—Mariner 4, launched in 1964 and ultimately captured the first closeup images of another planet; and Voyager 2 in 1989, the first and only flyby mission to Neptune.


Norm Haynes is originally from Kalamazoo and is a Class of 1954 graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. Norm currently lives in Pasadena.

Air Zoo's Adult Discovery Series presents

Launching NASA across the solar system, one "failure" at a time.

A night with Aeronautical Engineer & Director of Mars Exploration, Jet Propulsion Lab (Retired), Norman Haynes

Thursday, September 23, 2021
Program starts at 7pm | Doors open at 6:30
Advanced ticketing $20/members & $25/public | $30 at the door (limited seating)

Enjoy space related educational activities, appetizers and cash bar, inspirational accounts of the space program, and a meet and greet with history maker, Norman Haynes. 

A bit about Norman Haynes

Kalamazoo native Norm Haynes is an aeronautical engineer and retired space exploration pioneer who enjoyed a distinguished career at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA, where he served in leadership roles for several interplanetary missions. Shortly before his retirement in 2000, Haynes received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honor.

Early Years

  • Born in Kalamazoo, MI.  June 14, 1936
  • Graduated Kalamazoo Central High School (the current Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center and Chenery Auditorium), 1954
  • BS Aeronautical Engineering, Purdue University, 1959
  • MS Aeronautical Engineering University of Southern California, 1961

Professional Career (partial)

  • Joined Jet Propulsion Lab in March 1959
  • Trajectory, Mission Design and Navigation Lead, Mariner 4 (first mission to Mars) 1965
  • Mission Analysis and Engineering Manager, Mariner 5 to Venus in 1967 and the Mariner 9 Mars Orbiter in 1971
  • Science and Mission Design Manager, Galileo Project to Venus and others, 1975
  • Manager Systems Division, 1980
  • Project Manager, Voyager Project to Neptune, 1986
  • Deputy Director Flight Projects, 1990 
  • Director Telecommunications and Mission Operations, 1992
  • Director, Mars Exploration Program, 1996
  • Retired, October 2000
  • Currently lives in Pasadena, CA

Enjoy this video about Mariner 4 successfully transmitting hundreds of thousands of bits of binary code which were then translated into imagery - of Mars! 

Red spot on JupiterMars from Mariner 4ARCJupiterMars first picture from Mariner 4NeptuneNeptune from Voyager 2


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