NASA veteran John Grunsfeld will retire after 40 years of leading space science missions both on and off the planet, the agency announced Tuesday.
Grunsfeld retires with a plethora of NASA experience under his belt, including five space shuttle flights totaling 58 days in space, and over 58 hours of spacewalk time. In his most well-known mission, he led the 2009 spacewalk to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
During his tenure, Grunsfeld led over 100 science expeditions, including the 2012 landing mission for the Mars rover, Curiosity, as well as 2015’s Pluto flyby.
Back on Earth, Grunsfeld worked as associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate since 2012. Before then, he worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore on the Hubble telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, a state-of-the-art telescope set to launch in 2018.
Geoff Yoder, the directorate’s Deputy Associate Administrator, will temporarily take Grunsfeld’s position until a successor is named. Grunsfeld officially retired from his position on April 30.
“After exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life in the universe, I can now boldly go where I’ve rarely gone before – home,” Grunsfeld said in NASA’s release. “I’m grateful to have had this extraordinary opportunity to lead NASA science, and know that the agency is well-positioned to make the next giant leaps in exploration and discovery.”
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