(Balozsameggyes, February 3rd, 1928 – )
Engineer, who developed NASA's Moon Rover the first vehicle in history which traveled on extraterrestrial terrain, used by the Apollo 15 expedition in 1971.
He studied Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Budapest, and took MS degree in 1950.
Pavlics' engineering background included six years of machine design in Hungary. He was design engineer at the Machine Design Institute (GETI), Budapest, creating machine tools, automotive equipment and factory arrangements. Also served as assistant professor, on the Department of Manufacturing Engineering at the Technical University. After the revolution he left the country and pursued post-graduate studies in Engineering Mechanics, at the University of Michigan between 1958–1960.
Between 1957–1960 Pavlics worked with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command in Detroit. As a mobility researh engineeer performed studies and laboratory experiments in soil mechanics as it related to off-road vehicles. Conducted mobility performance evaluation of military vehicles.
Over twenty-five years he carried on research and development activities related to vehicles and six years of automotive activities in overseas assignements for General Motors. Twenty-seven years of service with GM covered engineering and management positions in vehicle mobility resarch, advanced vehicle design, lunar surface vehicle projects, electric propulsion systems developements, trade developement with European countries and quality assurance for passenger car production. Retired from General Motors in 1988 and now consulting in vehicle research, developement and design.
Between 1960–1969 he was senior research engineer, GM Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, California. Performed mobility research and developement for special high mobility vehicles for off-road application. Designed and suprdivised fabrication of mobility test equipement, instrumentation and experimental vehicles. Project Engineer for several NASA contracts for manned and robotic surface vehicles planned for lunar and planetary application.
1969–1972: Santa Barbara, California, Engineering Manager, Lunar Roving Vehicle Programs at AC Electronics. Responsibilities included the design, development and testing of the Mobility System for the Apollo Lunar Roving Vechicle used succesfully on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 lunar exploration missions. The program included the design, development and testing of the space qualified equipment as well as a complete Training Vehicle used in the 1 g environments on earth.
In the following decade Ferenc Pavlics worked on several vechicle projects in the United States and in Europa.
From 1984 he took part again in vechicle development in Santa Barbara, California, as Department Head, at Delco Systems Operations. His responsibilities included the development of advanced concepts and technology innovations for ground vehicles including the Integrated Technology Tactical Vehicle (ITTV) for DARPA, an autonomous/robotic land vehicle (RLAV) for the US Army and investigations of advanced technology for fuel cells, electric propulsion, active suspension, electronic controls, diagnostics, etc. From 1988 he was Consulting Engineer. Provides engineering consulting services in vehicle R&D for Boeing Aerospace Corporation, Bus Manufacturing USA (i.e. electric city bus), Georgetown University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory etc. The rover, known as Newcomer, was improved by NASA under Pavlics' direction, and landed on Mars in 1997 with the space probe named Trailfinder. He was contributor to the development of Sojourner, the Mars Pathfinder rover.
He live in Santa Barbara, California and frequently visits his homeland.
Honours: Award of the NASA, USA, Kennedy Space Center, 1971, for the contribution to the Apollo Program; Certificate of Recognition of the NASA, USA, 1972, for the development of the Resilient Wheel of the Lunar Roving Vehicle; Award of Merit of the International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems, Sweden, Stockholm,1972, for the design of the Lunar Rover the first manned vehicle on the Moon.