David Leckrone

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Distinguished Alumnus 2012

  • BS 1964, Purdue University, Physics
  • MS 1967, University of California, Los Angeles, Astronomy
  • PhD 1969, University of California, Los Angeles, Astronomy
  • MAS 1987, Johns Hopkins University, Management

David Leckrone is a veteran space astronomer and a leading expert on orbiting astronomical observatories. Beginning in 1969, he worked on the first orbiting astronomical observatories leading studies on potential astronomical payloads for the Space Shuttle program. From 1976 to his retirement in 2009, Dr. Leckrone participated in the Space Telescope Program (now known as the Hubble Space Telescope), becoming Senior Project Scientist in 1992. In this role, he acted as the chief advocate for the Hubble’s scientific objectives and served as scientific lead for the five Space Shuttle missions that serviced Hubble from 1993-2009.

In addition to his duties with Hubble, Dr. Leckrone was Head of the Astronomy Branch in the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics at Goddard during the 1980s and served as the Chief Scientist for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), formed by the Agency in response to the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, during 2003-2005. Dr. Leckrone remains in high demand as a public speaker, writer and science commentator.

Career Highlights

  • 1992 Named Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Program at Goddard Space Flight Center NASA Outstanding Scientific Achievement Medal
  • 1994 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
  • 1996 Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, University of Lund, Sweden
  • 2008 Presidential Rank Award of Merit, U.S. Civil Service
  • 2009 NASA Distinguished Service Medal (highest honor NASA bestows on a civil servant)
  • 2011 George Van Biesbroeck Prize by American Astronomical Society
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 3:31 PM