Director Stephenson receives NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal
Art Stephenson, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala., was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal in a
June 21 ceremony at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The award was given to him for his leadership in the formulation and
development of the Space Launch Initiative and commitment to improve
the safety, cost and reliability of future space transportation systems.
The Space Launch Initiative is NASA's program, led by the Marshall
Center, to define, develop and test technologies for access to space
at dramatically lower cost and with much greater safety.
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.
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 billion.
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 Los Angeles.