The James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship, sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory through the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS), is now accepting applications. This 12-month advanced learning fellowship is meant to expose undergraduate and early-stage graduate students to the burgeoning space community and promote workforce development. The fellowship specifically seeks U.S. citizens or permanent residents from underrepresented communities, with the goal of ensuring that opportunities within the space industry are available to all. Applications to participate in this fellowship will be accepted until March 1, 2022.

Participation in the fellowship program will allow fellows to develop skills and knowledge to position themselves for future space-related careers. Throughout the program, fellows will work with both an ISS National Lab mentor and a subject matter expert in a field relevant to their major area of study and aerospace career interest. Fellows will also have an opportunity to network with ISS National Lab stakeholders.

The fellowship is named after Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson (USAF Ret.), who is widely regarded as one of the more distinguished and decorated military program leaders of the 20th century. Lt. Gen. Abrahamson began his military career as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and was ultimately selected for the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory program (later canceled). After his time as a pilot and astronaut candidate, Lt. Gen. Abrahamson ascended to multiple essential Air Force and NASA staff positions, including his assignment as NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Flight. Additionally, in 1984, upon President Reagan’s request, Lt. Gen. Abrahamson served as the first director for the Strategic Defense Initiative (the “Star Wars Program”) until he retired from service in 1989. Since his retirement, Lt. Gen. Abrahamson has kept active, maintaining leadership positions within various aviation industry companies and serving as the chair of the board of directors and interim executive director for CASIS, manager of the ISS National Lab. For his efforts in promoting NASA’s goal of commercialization of space, Lt. Gen. Abrahamson was awarded the NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal.

“It is a great honor to be linked such an important fellowship,” said Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson (USAF Ret.). “Now more than ever, it is critical to prepare the next generation of researchers and leaders for important roles in the thriving aerospace industry. Through this fellowship, we will introduce students to the opportunities available through the ISS National Laboratory and provide them with the tools they need to succeed as we drive new markets in low Earth orbit and beyond.” 

Participation in the James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship program will enable fellows to pursue their career interests through lasting networking opportunities with government, academic, and commercial partners. Furthermore, the fellowship will prepare fellows to:

  • Communicate the value of scientific discovery and technological innovation in space
  • Understand the importance of U.S. leadership in commercial space
  • Gain techniques and insight to inspire the next generation through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

For more information about this fellowship, including how to apply and the selection process, please visit our James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship webpage

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About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit