Ellen Stofan, Former NASA Chief Scientist, to Head National Air and Space Museum

Ellen Stofan, Former NASA Chief Scientist, to Head National Air and Space Museum


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“It is an incredible honor to join the National Air and Space Museum family at this important point in the museum’s history,” Dr. Ellen Stofan said.

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Callie Broaddus

Dr. Ellen Stofan, the former chief scientist at NASA, will become the first woman to lead the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution announced on Thursday.

At NASA, Dr. Stofan, who has a background in geology, was a top adviser to Charles F. Bolden Jr., then the administrator for the department, where she helped lead in the development of a long-term plan to get humans to Mars.

“Ellen’s scientific background, leadership skills, communication acumen and strategic thinking have positioned her superbly to lead the National Air and Space Museum,” David Skorton, the director of the Smithsonian Institution, said in a statement. “Her passion for science coupled with her love of education will ensure that the museum will continue to be a global treasure and world leader through its extensive programming, exhibitions and scholarship.”

Space has been a part of Dr. Stofan’s life for almost its entirety. Her father was a NASA rocket scientist and at the age of 4 she attended her first rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, an event that spurred her own career.

“It is an incredible honor to join the National Air and Space Museum family at this important point in the museum’s history,” Dr. Stofan said. “Space and aviation inspire our next generation of explorers, and there is no better place to experience this than at our museums on the Mall and at the Udvar-Hazy Center.”

Dr. Stofan joins the museum at a time when interest in space interest might be climbing. In the new budget recently passed by Congress and signed by President Donald J. Trump, NASA was a big winner, to the tune of a $1 billion increase. She will be overseeing an institution with more than 300 full time employees and a budget of $48 million, 70 percent of which comes from federal appropriations.



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