Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CASIS in a Box

Click the arrow to watch astronaut Greg Johnson visit a Medina, Ohio high school in December 2011.

On the same day that NASA announced two-time Shuttle pilot Greg Johnson was leaving, the Center for Advancement of Science in Space announced that Johnson has been named their new executive director.

“As executive director, Col. Johnson will lead the CASIS organization to identify novel applications and new partnership opportunities advancing use of our nation's orbiting laboratory,” according to the CASIS press release.

Florida Today noted that Johnson will take over for an interim director in place for over a year after “its first leader resigned over differences with the board.”

As with all astronauts, Johnson has an impressive résumé, but his expertise appears to be aeronautical engineering. Early CASIS success stories have been in the biomedical sciences, and protein crystallization appears to be a priority. He does have a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas Austin.

Johnson is nicknamed “Box.” Multiple stories exist for how he got the nickname.

In the above video, Johnson says it came from entering restricted airspace near Nellis Air Force Base. Wikipedia has a different explanation, suggesting it came from an incident during Operation Desert Storm.

The choice of a recently retired astronaut is an intriguing choice. He delivered modules and supplies to the International Space Station, but did not serve on any six-month expeditions. It may be that direct ISS experience doesn't matter, but at least finally CASIS now has a leader in place.

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