Conducted space research at the NASA Johnson Space Center for 31 years. Dr Pitts specified upper atmospheric density conditions for the Apollo Command module heatshield reentry design. Dr. Pitts served as the principal investigator on the Skylab Severe Storms Experiment and conducted research for the LACIE and Agristars projects for remote sensing of wheat, corn, and soybean production using LANDSAT and aircraft remote sensing data. Dr. Pitts conducted research on the biological productivity of forests using microwave remote sensing techniques, and on development of advanced image analysis techniques for the optical detection of orbital debris. He developed models of the Mars and Venus atmospheres which were used by engineers to design spacecraft for atmospheric entry and operations on the surface of these planets. He served as Chief, Flight Science Branch in the Solar System Exploration Division of the NASA Johnson Space Center. He developed and implemented programs to support the Space Shuttle astronauts in the acquisition of scientifically useful photographs of the Earth from orbit and provided robust photographic and television flight safety analysis of the launch, landing, and on-orbit phases of 38 Space Shuttle missions STS-26 through STS-59. He served on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Investigation Team.
Patent No. 3927227, A technique for manufacturing large mirrors in space.
Licensed Professional Engineer, State of Texas.
Remote sensing, Image analysis, planetary meteorology, radiative transfer, space research.
NASA Special Achievement Award for the Development of the Accuracy Assessment Subsystem of the Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment, 1978.
NASA Certificate of Commendation for scientific leadership in the utilization of microwave and optical remote sensing in measuring the biological productivity of the land, 1984.
Honoree, 1988 NASA Manned Spaceflight Awareness
Biographee in Who's Who in America 56th edition, 2002.
Biographee in Who's Who in America 74th edition, 2020.
Biographee in Who's Who in Science and Engineering, 6th edition, 2002-2003.
Biographee in Who's Who in the World, 21st edition.
Biographee in Who's Who Among American Teachers & Educators, 11th edition, 2006-2007.
Fifty-Year Life member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.