Published: June 23, 2017
Lisa Hardaway

NASA’s New Horizons mission team honored the life and contributions of aerospace engineer Lisa Hardaway on Thursday by dedicating the spectrometer she helped to develop – which brought the first color close-up images of Pluto to the world – in her memory. 

Hardaway, who died in January at age 50, was the program manager at Ball Aerospace for “Ralph,” one of seven instruments flying aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. Ralph contains a powerful infrared spectrometer called LEISA – an acronym for Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array, and pronounced “Lisa” – that the team has now named after Hardaway.

She was a CU Boulder aerospace PhD graduate who remained active with the university and served as a member and chair of the Smead Aerospace External Advisory Board.

“Lisa made incredible contributions to New Horizons and our success in exploring Pluto, and we wanted to celebrate those contributions in a special way by dedicating the LEISA spectrometer in her honor,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

After flying more than nine years and three billion miles, New Horizons sped... Read the full story at