Press Release

Challenger Center for Space Science Education Welcomes New Board Member Alan Stern

By SpaceRef Editor
September 2, 2008
Filed under , ,
Challenger Center for Space Science Education Welcomes New Board Member Alan Stern

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On August 27, 2008 Challenger Center for Space Science Education’s Board of Directors 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 Division.

Dr. 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 100.

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 and Astronomy.

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 U.S. 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 popularizations: 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, 2009).

Challenger Center’s Board Chairman, former astronaut and NASA Associate Administrator William Readdy, notes; “We are indeed fortunate to welcome someone of Dr. Stern’s professional and scientific stature to join our board of directors. 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. It 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.

Challenger Center for Space Science Education
1250 North Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Shannon Rush, Development & Communications Associate
Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Alexandria, Va. 888-683-9740;

SpaceRef staff editor.