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November 19
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]
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| Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019
richard cook - Santa Clarita Elementary kindergarteners, from left, Violet Abadi, Liberty French and Lizelle Gonzalez react as "Sammy," the NASA Mars rover model, crawls over their backs during a science assembly presented by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the school in Saugus in 2014. Hundreds of local residents work at the NASA-JPL facility, which also relies on parts machined in the Santa Clarita Valley, also. | Photo: Dan Watson / The Signal.
Santa Clarita Elementary kindergarteners, from left, Violet Abadi, Liberty French and Lizelle Gonzalez react as "Sammy," the NASA Mars rover model, crawls over their backs during a science assembly presented by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the school in Saugus in 2014. Hundreds of local residents work at the NASA-JPL facility, which also relies on parts machined in the Santa Clarita Valley, also. | Photo: Dan Watson / The Signal.

 

Richard Cook, a Canyon Country resident, is an associate director for flight projects and mission success at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He was appointed Deputy Director for Solar System Exploration in 2013, after having previously served as manager and deputy manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project during development and operations.

In those capacities, he was responsible for the design, development, launch and operations of the “Curiosity” rover that successfully landed on Mars in August 2012.

A Signal reporter spoke with Cook about his job and recent developments in the exploration of Mars.

Signal: What are your responsibilities within JPL-NASA?

Cook: I’m JPL’s associate director for flight projects, meaning that I’m responsible for overseeing all the projects we are developing plus our ongoing space missions. We explore our solar system and beyond and develop many technologies that enable this type of exploration.

My job involves reviewing plans for space missions, making sure any issues that come up are addressed and that the teams have enough resources, meaning people and facilities at JPL. I communicate regularly with NASA Headquarters in Washington to make sure they’re up to speed on our projects.

More and more missions involve international collaboration, so I coordinate with multiple international partners at space agencies around the globe.

Cook and JPL chief Charles Elachi at Curiosity’s launch in 2011.

Signal: I’ve heard there are a lot of JPL-NASA employees Santa Clarita Valley. It can be a tough commute, so why do you think it’s such a popular location for members of your team?

Cook: I’ve lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for 19 years, and there are quite a few JPLers who live there as well. Most, like me, are drawn by the same things that bring other folks to Santa Clarita — namely, good schools, lots of space, friendly neighbors and a great family atmosphere.

Signal: Does JPL-NASA partner with any Santa Clarita Valley contractors, and if so, for what types of projects?

Cook: Yes, we partner with many contractors throughout the Los Angeles Basin, including current work in the Santa Clarita Valley. JPL relies on numerous vendors to design, build, test and operate our flight projects. The contractors range in size from large aerospace companies through small machine shops and specialty-service providers.

Related: Richard Cook Guests on SCVTV’s “Newsmaker” Program (Sept. 16, 2010)

Signal: What are some of the goals your organization has identified for the next five to 10 years?

Cook: NASA and JPL are preparing to launch our next large Mars Rover in the middle of 2020 and expect it to land on Mars in February 2021. We built it at JPL, and we are currently putting it through rigorous testing before we ship it to Cape Canaveral for launch.

It’s the latest in our ongoing series of space missions to explore Mars from orbit and from the surface. InSight landed on the planet in November 2018 on a mission to study the deep interior of Mars. It has been sending back intriguing data, and so has the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012.

We are also working on another large mission to explore one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, to search for habitable zones on the surface or in the subsurface ocean.

Beyond that, we are conducting several other Earth science and astrophysics missions, running NASA’s Deep Space Network (which we use to communicate to mission throughout the solar system) and supporting future NASA campaigns to the Moon and Mars.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
Hart District Students Return to School 5 Days After Deadly Shooting
While Saugus High School remained closed Monday after a fatal shooting on campus late last week, students at other district schools returned to class, with some expressing comfort from teachers and an increased law enforcement presence.
Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
CHP Investigating Stevenson Ranch Crash That Killed 6-Year-Old
California Highway Patrol officers are investigating a fatal, fiery single-vehicle crash in Stevenson Ranch that sent two children to the hospital Monday morning as the driver — a Bakersfield woman wearing no clothes — reportedly fled from the scene on foot.
Monday, Nov 18, 2019
Saugus High Shooting: Community Comes Together for Vigil
Thousands gathered in Central Park Sunday night for a vigil to remember the lives lost in the Saugus High School shooting, and reuniting in their grief, they shared a message.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
While Saugus High School remained closed Monday after a fatal shooting on campus late last week, students at other district schools returned to class, with some expressing comfort from teachers and an increased law enforcement presence.
Hart District Students Return to School 5 Days After Deadly Shooting
California Highway Patrol officers are investigating a fatal, fiery single-vehicle crash in Stevenson Ranch that sent two children to the hospital Monday morning as the driver — a Bakersfield woman wearing no clothes — reportedly fled from the scene on foot.
CHP Investigating Stevenson Ranch Crash That Killed 6-Year-Old
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]
map
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra collection of ensembles will perform "Music that Makes You Move" at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Saturday, November 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 23: SCV Youth Orchestra to Play ‘Music that Makes You Move’
The College of the Canyons Athletics Department invites community members of all ages to run, walk or jog in the 11th annual Thanksgiving Day "Turkey Trot" event at COC on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Nov. 28: Annual ‘Turkey Trot’ Run at COC Valencia
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board has published the agenda for the board's November 20 meeting at 7 p.m.
November 20 Meeting: Hart School District Governing Board
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has published the agenda for their Tuesday, November 19 meeting starting at 9:30 a.m.
November 19 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
Award-winning Native American photographer Peggy Fontenot will guest at the opening reception for her new solo exhibit, "White Man’s Trash," at The Main in Old Town Newhall on Tuesday, November 19, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Nov. 19: ‘White Man’s Trash’ Photo Exhibit to Open at The Main
The Valencia High School Jazz program will host a public concert to benefit the families of the victims of Saugus High School at Vincenzo's restaurant in Newhall on Wednesday, November 20 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 20: Valencia High Jazz ‘Songs for Saugus’ Benefit Concert
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has reported another new case of serious vaping-related lung injury, bringing the total to 31 cases and one death associated with e-cigarettes in the county.
LA County Reports 31st Vaping-Related Lung Injury
Thousands gathered in Central Park Sunday night for a vigil to remember the lives lost in the Saugus High School shooting, and reuniting in their grief, they shared a message.
Saugus High Shooting: Community Comes Together for Vigil
After seeing his former school splashed across various news networks following a shooting that took the lives of three people and injured three others, candlemaker Tyler Coe decided he wanted to do something about it.
Candlemaker Raises More Than $18K for Saugus Victims
California, Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles jointly sued e-cigarette maker Juul Labs on Monday, claiming the company caused a public health crisis by targeting teens with fruity, fun flavored vaping products and did not verify the age of its customers for online sales.
California, LA Sue Vape Giant Juul Over Marketing Practices
The California Highway Patrol has launched its "Age Well, Drive Smart" program for 2019, offering classes to assist senior drivers by providing them tools to remain safe and confident on the road.
CHP Offers ‘Age Well, Drive Smart’ Class for Senior Drivers
1957 - Newhall County Library dedicated on Ninth Street; rededicated as city of Santa Clarita's Business Incubator exactly 57 years later (2014) [story]
Newhall Library
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]
under construction
Saugus High School will remain closed for classes until Dec. 2, following the Thanksgiving break. Other campuses will resume classes Monday, November 18.
Saugus High: No Classes Until Dec. 2; Other Schools Open Monday
The William S. Hart Union High School District, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Disaster Coalition, has established a fund to support the ongoing needs of the students, staff, and families of Saugus High School as a result of this week’s tragic events.
Hart District, SCV Disaster Coalition Coordinate #SaugusStrong Donations
1941 - Rose (stagecoach) Station at bottom of Grapevine dedicated as California Historical Landmark [story]
Rose Station marker
Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, 16, the suspect in Thursday's deadly shooting at Saugus High School, died at 3:32 p.m. Friday, according to officials.
Saugus High Suspect Dies; 1 Victim was Nephew of LASD Officer
Two Saugus High School graduates set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding account to aid people affected by Thursday's shooting at the school, and as of early Friday afternoon, 333 people had donated nearly $15,000.
Saugus Grads Set Up Fund to Aid Recovery, Healing
California Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared Friday morning the special election to fill former Rep. Katie Hill’s vacant seat after her resignation.
Newsom Calls Special Election to Replace Rep. Katie Hill
Three teenage victims of a deadly shooting at Saugus High School Thursday morning were recovering Friday, hospital officials said.
Saugus High Shooting: ‘Stoic’ Survivors Recovering
California regulators voted Wednesday to commence a formal investigation into the recent and controversial public safety power shutoffs that have left communities in the Santa Clarita Valley and across the state blacked out during fire season.
State Regulators Open Probe of Shutoffs; SCV Officials Respond
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