Press Release

Challenger Center Announces New Leadership Team

By SpaceRef Editor
December 14, 2011
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Challenger Center Announces New Leadership Team
Challenger Center Announces New Leadership Team

Board of Directors positions organization for greater student impact and significant growth as it enters its 26th year of space science learning service

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Dr. Scott Parazynski, chairman of Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center), today announced a new leadership team for the non-profit organization with Dr. Lance Bush as President and Chief Executive Officer and Steven Kussmann as Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Bush is currently the Chief Strategic Officer and head of the Washington office of Paragon Space Development Corporation. Kussmann is currently Challenger Center’s Director of Operations. Both will assume their new positions January 2, 2012.

Dr. Bush brings more than 25 years of leadership, aerospace industry experience and entrepreneurial talent to Challenger Center. His broad experience in Washington and within the space community includes nearly 20 years of service with NASA and at NASA Headquarters in a role spanning human spaceflight, life sciences, commercialization and international relations. Mr. Kussmann, who joined Challenger Center in April 2011, brings more than 25 years of non-profit management and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education experience to his new leadership role.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Bush as our new President and CEO,” said Dr. Parazynski, chairman of Challenger Center’s board of directors and a former NASA astronaut. “Lance is an exceptional leader, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the aerospace, space science and non-profit sectors. He is a natural fit for our senior management team, and we are delighted to have him at the Challenger Center helm as we launch a significant expansion of our STEM education mission and work with our network of Challenger Learning Centers to achieve new heights.”

“The Challenger Center family is proud of its accomplishments over the last 25 years, but our greatest achievements are yet to come,” said Dr. Parazynski. “The selection of our new leadership team followed a deliberative process by the board of directors, and it signifies that Challenger Center will play an even greater role in ensuring America’s dominance in science, engineering, and innovation.”

“Inspiration, education, innovation, and leadership are hallmarks of our nation’s greatness, and they are what Challenger Center did during its first 25 year of service and will continue to do in the future,” said Dr. Bush. “It is a great honor to be selected as Challenger Center’s new President and CEO, and I look forward to working with our extensive STEM education team of staff members, our Challenger Learning Center educators, friends and volunteers to grow the organization. We must strengthen our nation by building and applying the scientific knowledge that drives innovation, industry, and the human spirit, all of which starts with our school children.”

“We are delighted to have Lance and Steve leading Challenger Center,” said Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, founding chair of Challenger Center and widow of Dick Scobee, commander of the Challenger STS 51-L mission. “With this superb team in place, Challenger Center will play a vital, growing, and pivotal role in STEM learning achievement in the new era of space exploration.”

Based on Challenger Center’s new five-year strategic plan, the organization will expand its widely-heralded immersive, hands-on spaceflight simulations offered at its Challenger Learning Centers. While the current missions will continue to be hallmarks of the student experience, Challenger Center will create new missions and technologies to address the future of space exploration and the Next Generation Science Standards.

“Challenger Center’s unique, hands-on participatory exploration missions to deep space, beneath our oceans, to the polar icecaps and inside the human body will inspire scientific literacy for millions of children while encouraging the pursuit of exciting, meaningful STEM careers for many of our ‘crewmembers’,” said Dr. Parazynski.

“Challenger Center’s future will be built upon its existing partnerships with the education community and the aerospace and technology industries and among its new strategic partners,” said Dr. Parazynski. “With private sector support, it will ensure its missions and learning activities continue to introduce students to state-of-the-art space science. It also will increase awareness of its services among students, teachers and parents, and bolster the capacities of its Challenger Learning Centers for engaging and exciting children about exploration — on and off the planet.”

About Challenger Center for Space Science Education

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center for Space Science Education and its international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit

Challenger Center for Space Science Education
Angie Tene
300 N. Lee St., Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314

SpaceRef staff editor.