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Biography of Investiture Guest Speaker, Dr. Kamlesh Lulla

Portrait of Dr. Kamlesh Lulla

DR. KAMLESH LULLA is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed NASA chief scientist and an expert in space and geospatial technology who is senior leader/executive at NASA for the past 29 years.

Currently, Dr Lulla is the Director for University Research Collaboration and Partnership Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Dr. Lulla “brings the best minds from universities to work with engineers and scientists at NASA Johnson Space Center” to advance technology development and foster innovation.

Dr Lulla’s distinguished career at NASA spans 29 years where he has served as the Chief Scientist for Earth Observation for Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, directed the training of NASA Astronauts in Earth Observation Sciences and physical science payloads. Dr Lulla’s scientific research involved optical and radar remote sensing and advanced sensor development. In addition, Dr Lulla developed digital imaging sensors as payloads for the space shuttle program.

In his leadership roles at NASA, Dr Lulla also served as Chief for Flight Science branch for five years and Chief for Earth Science branch for five years. He also serves as the Chief Scientist for ten years.

Dr. Lulla holds two Ph.D. degrees with expertise in Environmental science and Geoscience remote sensing. He served in academia as a tenured university professor of Remote Sensing and Earth sciences for over twelve years before joining NASA.

Dr. Lulla is a widely published author. He has coauthored or edited eight books and authored a large number of research and technical papers in prestigious journals. Recently, Dr Lulla has coauthored and co edited (with three other NASA scientists) a major book entitled “Wings in Orbit: Scientific and Engineering legacies of the Space Shuttle” that provides an authoritative account of scientific research accomplished during the Space Shuttle era. He is also the Editor of a major international journal in Earth and space science and Remote Sensing and a Guest Editor of American Journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Dr. Lulla currently serves as the Chair of Technical Committee of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Dr. Lulla has received numerous awards from NASA, the U.S. Government and various universities, cultural organizations and associations. Dr. Lulla has received several awards from professional societies such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Society of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and Association of American Geographers. Dr Lulla received three of the highest NASA medals- the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2005 for his scientific research and NASA sponsored Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Award (medal) for his scientific and technical excellence in 2012 and NASA Achievement Medal for technology in 2015.

In 2015, Dr Lulla received one the highest honors from the Government of India. India’s President honored Dr Lulla with Medal and Award for Oversees Indian Immigrants (Pravasi Bhartiya Samman) for his life time achievements in space science and technology.

Dr Lulla lives in Houston with his wife Marianne Lulla, a psychologist and social worker. He has two grown children- son Dr. Andrew Lulla, MD practicing physician and a daughter Tara Lulla- a Ph. D. scholar in criminal justice.