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Dr. Gary Sanders to Retire

Dr. Gary Sanders, who has led the TMT Project as Project Manager with distinction since its inception, will retire at the start of 2021. Deputy Project Manager Fengchuan Liu, who has worked closely with Gary and co-directed the project for the last five years, will assume the Project Manager (acting) position while TMT searches for a permanent Project Manager.

Over the last 16 years, Gary assembled a world-class team and steered the TMT project from its early conceptual phase to a technically mature billion-dollar project. Most recently, he spearheaded an outstanding presentation to the National Academy of Sciences’ Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 as well as the submission of a Planning and Design Proposal to the National Science Foundation in collaboration with our US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP) partners.

Prior to joining the TMT Project, Gary was the Deputy Director and Project Manager for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) for 10 years. He received the 2016 Cosmology Prize as a member of the LIGO team for pursuing a vision to observe the universe in gravitational waves, leading to a first detection that emanated from the collision of two black holes.

Fengchuan has a distinguished career in space-based science and engineering. Prior to joining TMT, he was Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission and was Deputy Project Manager for NASA on the NASA-ISRO (India) Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.

The work ethos, dedicated spirit, and ceaseless energy that Gary has imparted will remain and help us meet the challenges that lie ahead. We thank Gary for his vision, dedication, and exceptional contributions, and welcome Fengchuan to his new role as Project Manager (acting).


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