Caltech has been awarded a $15 billion contract extension to continue operating Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). 

The contract, which begins on Oct. 1, now extends for up to five years based on performance metrics. Caltech manages JPL on behalf of NASA.

“What we accomplish over the next decade, people will remember for centuries,” said Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum in a prepared statement. “It is a great honor to partner with NASA on this grand enterprise.”

The laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Among JPL’s major active projects are the Mars Science Laboratory mission (which includes the Curiosity rover), the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Dawn mission to the dwarf planet Ceres and asteroid Vesta, and the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. JPL also monitors meteors that could collide with Earth.

JPL’s Space Flight Operations Facility and Twenty-Five-Foot Space Simulator are designated National Historic Landmarks.

Caltech has been a committed partner of NASA in the management of the lab since it was founded in 1936. Researchers, engineers and technicians at Caltech and JPL, both located in Pasadena, have helped to keep the US at the forefront of space exploration and planetary science. JPL and Caltech have collaborated on a variety of missions and disciplines to advance understanding of Earth and the universe.