Former Top NASA Official Returning to Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON — Christopher M. Shank, one of former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin’s top aides, is returning to Capitol Hill in March as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Smith, a 24-year veteran of the House of Representatives, chairs the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the Homeland Security Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which oversees NASA.

Shank told colleagues in an e-mail obtained by Space News that his “primary duty will be helping [Smith] on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.”

Shank served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force working at the Pentagon, National Reconnaissance Office and Air Force Space Command before joining the House Science Committee in 2001 as a staff member specializing in human spaceflight and Earth science |matters.

In 2005 he joined NASA as special assistant to Griffin, leading the coordination of NASA’s Exploration Systems Architecture Study with Congress, the White House and other stakeholders.

Shank also served as NASA’s director of strategic communications and director of strategic investments.

Upon leaving NASA in early 2009, Shank joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. In November 2009, he joined Honeywell, where he currently serves as director of space, networks and communications, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.