Steve JollyDistinguished Engineering Alumni Award
Category: Industry & Commerce

Steve Jolly is an extremely proud and accomplished graduate from CU Boulder, having received a BS and PhD in aerospace engineering. He also served as an adjunct professor before joining Lockheed Martin, where he is now the chief engineer for the Commercial Civil Space line of business.

Jolly has held important positions in some of the most influential space exploration and weather programs of this generation. He was the chief engineer and principal scientist for the GOES-R program and chief engineer and deputy PM for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He was program manager for the Mars Science Lab Aeroshell. He has served as a member of the entry, descent and landing systems engineering team and critical events risk process for Phoenix, Stardust and Genesis and served on the National Research Council’s Entry, Descent and Landing panel. He was chief systems engineer for Mars Sample Return and co-inventor of the original concept for the MSL Sky Crane. He has served in the NASA Human Exploration Operations Mission Division and Orion as an independent advisor and tiger team lead for entry, descent and landing, and most recently for the Mars Base Camp architecture and science mission.

In 2007, he received the NASA Public Service Medal for distinguished service. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Space Science Institute and is the past chair of the American Astronautical Society’s Rocky Mountain Guidance and Control Section.

Jolly is a longtime member and current chair of the Smead Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board. Jolly’s in-depth participation with the Lockheed Martin Corporate University Engagement office and various offices within the College of Engineering and Applied Science has led to meaningful relationships and enduring support for CU. His tireless support and advocacy to complete the research agreement between CU Boulder and Lockheed Martin has allowed for very fruitful technical collaborations between LM engineers and CU researchers.

Jolly also has been engaged in emphasizing radio frequency education within Smead Aerospace and the entire college through partnerships with Lockheed Martin. He has cultivated thoughtful mentors, coaches and funding for aerospace engineering senior projects and organized Lockheed Martin alumni support and tours of company facilities for students. Jolly directs Lockheed Martin philanthropic funds to the BOLD Center, SpaceGrant, CU Boulder’s Society of Women Engineers chapter and other student-led organizations. Jolly is considered a key collaborator with LASP, the NASA MAVEN mission to Mars being one of the most successful projects undertaken by LASP and Lockheed Martin.