Ellen Stofan Named to Head National Air and Space Museum
Ellen Stofan, currently consulting senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, has been named the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, effective April 30. Stofan comes to the position with more than 25 years’ experience in space-related organizations and a deep research background in planetary geology. She is the first woman to hold this position.
Stofan was chief scientist at NASA (2013-2016), serving as the principal advisor to former Administrator Charles Bolden on NASA’s strategic planning and programs. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars, and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station (ISS) to sending humans to the Moon and Mars in the mid-2020s. She supported NASA’s overall science programs in heliophysics, Earth science, planetary science and astrophysics. While at NASA, she worked with President Barack Obama’s science advisor and the National Science and Technology Council on science policy.
“Ellen’s scientific background, leadership skills, communication acumen and strategic thinking have positioned her superbly to lead the National Air and Space Museum,” said Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton. “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.”
“It is an incredible honor to join the National Air and Space Museum family at this important point in the museum’s history,” 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.”
Stofan succeeds Gen. J. R. “Jack” Dailey who retired in January after serving 18 years as director.