- Press Release
- Oct 6, 2022
Marshall Center Director Stephenson receives UAH honorary doctorate
Art Stephenson, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala., was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of
Alabama in Huntsville for his lifetime of scientific achievement during
commencement exercises May 13.
During the graduation ceremony, Stephenson delivered the keynote address to
the university’s class of 2001.
Leading one of NASA’s largest field installations, Stephenson administers a
broad range of research and development activities, along with more than
6,500 civil service and contract employees and an annual budget of $2.3
Since joining Marshall in 1998, he has overseen the Center’s work on
critical NASA initiatives such as development of new reusable launch
vehicles, research in microgravity, and operations support for science
payloads aboard the International Space Station.
Stephenson also led the Center during a period highlighted by the launch and
beginning of successful operations of the Chandra X-ray Observatory – the
world’s most powerful X-ray telescope.
He began his career in 1964 with TRW in Redondo Beach, Calif. In his first
assignment, he designed a computer test set to verify performance of the
Apollo Lunar Excursion Module Abort Guidance System. He later led the
development of the Pioneer Jupiter Spacecraft receiver, the first spacecraft
to leave our solar system, and development of the Space Shuttle S-band
communication network transponder, still in use today.
From 1988 to 1992, Stephenson was director of space transportation and
advanced programs, heading TRW’s study teams for NASA’s Assured Crew Return
Vehicle De-Orbit Module as well as projects for U.S. military and
international space programs.
In 1992, he joined Oceaneering International Inc., and served as vice
president and general manager of Oceaneering Space Systems in Houston.
Under his leadership, the organization grew from 30 to 220 employees in five
years, serving Marshall, Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Departments of
Defense and Energy, and many prime contractors.
Stephenson was promoted to president of Oceaneering Advanced Technologies in
1997. This position combined Oceaneering Space Systems with
responsibilities for Oceaneering’s U.S. Navy, Department of Energy and
entertainment businesses, including submarine rescue system design, robotics
for hazardous waste cleanup at nuclear waste sites in the United States, and
attractions for theme parks in Florida, California and Japan.
Stephenson is an Associate Fellow member of the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the National Space Society and
American Astronautical Society.
A graduate in electrical engineering from the University of Redlands,
Calif., he also completed the executive program in management at the John E.
Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California at
The Marshall Center is NASA’s premier organization for development of space
transportation and propulsion systems and NASA’s leader in microgravity
research and advanced large optics manufacturing technology.