WASHINGTON — Physicist John Grunsfeld will take over as head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate effective Jan. 4, putting the former astronaut and Hubble Space Telescope repairman in charge of the agency’s $5.1 billion science budget.
Grunsfeld has a doctorate degree in physics from the University of Chicago and was a research scientist specializing in x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy before joining the NASA astronaut corps in 1992. He has flown five space shuttle missions, including a 10-day mission to the Russian space station Mir and three separate Hubble servicing missions.
Grunsfeld succeeds Ed Weiler, who resignedfrom his position in September after 32 years with NASA.
Grunsfeld is scheduled to take over as associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate two years after leaving the agency to become deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
The Space Telescope Science Institute runs the Hubble telescope’s science program and will also operate the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in space, assuming the troubled project can be completed according to the revised schedule and budget NASA has put forward this year. JWST is now slated to launch in October 2018.
This story was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.
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Dan Leone is an editor and reporter for the ExchangeMonitor Publications covering the Department of Energy and Department of Defense nuclear weapons programs. From 2011 to 2016, Dan was the NASA reporter for the space industry publication SpaceNews, where he covered U.S. space agency policy, news and missions. He also produced the SpaceGeeks podcast showcasing interviews with space industry professionals. Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications from American University. You can find his latest project on Twitter at @leone_exm.