Editor’s note: I am deliberately posting this press release – in advance of the embargo claimed by STScI – given that NASA HQ PAO has repeatedly told me – officially – that official agency policy is that no news releases regarding NASA research or news are ever to be issued under media embargo. Moreover, two NASA civil servant PAO officers are listed on this release, John Grunsfeld is a NASA employee, and STScI is wholly funded by NASA. If NASA PAO is going to claim that a policy regarding embargoes exists, then it needs to enforce that policy. Otherwise their “policy” is hollow and pointless – and also not in the best interest of the taxpayers who pay for this research in the first place. Oh, by the way, I already have several press releases regarding wholly NASA-funded research that are under embargo – in direct contravention to stated agency policy. Again, where is the “transparency”? Where is the “openness”?

Astronaut John Grunsfeld Appointed Space Telescope Science Institute Deputy Director

Dr. John M. Grunsfeld has been appointed Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., effective January 4, 2010. He succeeds Dr. Michael Hauser, who stepped down in October. STScI is the science operations center for NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope planned to be launched in 2014.

In accepting the position, Grunsfeld said, “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for me to work at a focal point of top astronomers at the leading edge of scientific inquiry. The team at STScI has a demonstrated record of meeting the high performance challenges of operating the Hubble Space Telescope, and preparing for the James Webb Space Telescope. I look forward to working with this excellent team as we continue to explore the mysteries of the universe.”

Born in Chicago, Grunsfeld received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 and his Master of Science and doctor of philosophy degrees in physics from the University of Chicago in 1984 and 1988, respectively.

Grunsfeld held academic positions as visiting scientist at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science from 1980-81; graduate research assistant at the University of Chicago from 1981-85; NASA Graduate Student Fellow at the University of Chicago from 1985-87; Grainger Postdoctoral Fellow in Experimental Physics at the University of Chicago from 1988-89; and senior research fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1989-92.

Grunsfeld reported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 1992 for a year of training and became qualified for flight selection as a mission specialist. A veteran of five space flights, including three missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope — STS-103 in Dec. 1999, STS-109 in March 2002, and STS-125 in May 2009 — he has logged over 835 hours in space, including nearly 60 hours of Extravehicular Activity during eight space walks. He served as the NASA Chief Scientist detailed to NASA Headquarters in 2003-2004, where he helped develop the President’s Vision for Space Exploration.

His research has covered X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, high-energy cosmic ray studies, and development of new detectors and instrumentation. Grunsfeld has conducted observations of the far-ultraviolet spectra of faint astronomical objects and the polarization of ultraviolet light coming from stars and distant galaxies.

“We are absolutely delighted that he has accepted the position,” said STScI Director, Dr. Matt Mountain. “John brings to us a wealth of expertise in the areas of space exploration concepts and technologies for use beyond low-earth orbit. He will be invaluable in our continued efforts to conduct world-class science with state-of-the-art observatories and instrumentation.”

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For a photo and more information, visit:

* http://hubblesite.org/news/2010/04

* http://www.nasa.gov

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. in Washington.

J.D. Harrington
NASA Headquarters, Washington
+1 202-358-5241

Cheryl Gundy / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
+1 410-338-4707 / +1 410-338-4514
gundy@stsci.edu / villard@stsci.edu

Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
+1 281-483-5111