Alan Stern Brings Over 25 Years Experience In Planetary
Research To Role
The Challenger Center for Space
Science Education's Board of Directors recently welcomed a new
member to its ranks: Dr. S. Alan Stern.
Dr. Stern is a planetary scientist and author with over 25 years
of research experience in space and planetary science as well as
spacecraft mission design and operations. Stern is currently
Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission, which due to
arrive at Pluto in 2015.
Recently, Stern served as Associate Administrator of
NASA’s Space Science Mission Directorate in 2007 and 2008.
Prior to his time at NASA he was Executive Director at the
Southwest Research Institute’s Space Science and Engineering
Stern has been involved as a researcher in 24 suborbital,
orbital, and planetary space missions, including 8 for which he was
the mission principle investigator. Dr. Stern also led the
development of 8 scientific instruments for planetary and
near-space research missions and from 1998 to 2002 he flew numerous
WB-57 and F-18 airborne research astronomy missions using the
SWUIS-A imaging experiment. In 2007 he was named to the Time
Before receiving his doctorate in 1989, Dr. Stern completed twin
master's degrees in aerospace engineering and atmospheric sciences,
and spent seven years as an aerospace systems engineer,
concentrating on spacecraft and payload systems at NASA Johnson
Space Center, Martin Marietta Aerospace, and the Laboratory for
Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado. Stern
has undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas in Physics
Dr. Stern has published over 200 technical papers and 30 popular
articles. He has given over 300 technical talks and over 100
popular lectures and speeches about astronomy and the space
program. He has written two books, The US Space Program After
Challenger (Franklin-Watts, 1987), and Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds
on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System (Wiley 1997, 2005).
Additionally, he has served as editor on three technical volumes,
and three collections of scientific popularization: Our Worlds
(Cambridge, 1998), Our Universe (Cambridge, 2000), and Worlds
Beyond (Cambridge, 2003). He is also the co-author of a forthcoming
university astronomy text, Exploring the Universe (Norton,
"We are indeed fortunate to welcome someone of Dr. Stern’s
professional and scientific stature to join our board of
directors," said Challenger Center’s Board Chairman, former
astronaut and NASA Associate Administrator William Readdy. "He
brings with him not only a broad and impressive record of
professional and scientific achievement, he also brings with him a
passion for STEM education and inspiring the ‘next generation
of explorers’ that is embodied in our Challenger Center for
Space Science Education mission."
Challenger Center for Space Science Education was founded in
1986 by the families of the astronauts of the space shuttle
Challenger 51-L mission, and is dedicated to the educational spirit
of that mission. Challenger Learning Center programs at 50 centers
across the country continue the crew's mission of engaging teachers
and students in science, mathematics and technology and foster in
them an interest to pursue careers in those fields.
Over 25,000 teachers and 400,000 students attend workshops and
fly simulated missions annually at Challenger Learning Centers.