NASA’s ‘Hubble Hugger’ and Science Chief John Grunsfeld To Retire

In this March 2002 image, John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, is shown in space shuttle Columbia's cargo bay during the STS-109 Hubble servicing mission.  Credits: NASA

Indeed, Grunsfeld was the last human to touch the telescope during the STS-125 servicing mission in 2009 when he served as lead spacewalker.The STS-125 mission successfully upgraded the observatory to the apex of its scientific capability during five spacewalks by four astronauts and extended the life of the aging telescope for many years. Hubble remains fully operable to this day!“John Grunsfeld will retire from NASA April 30, capping nearly four decades of science and exploration with the agency. His tenure includes serving as astronaut, chief scientist, and head of NASA’s Earth and space science activities,” NASA announced.In his most recent assignment, Grunsfeld was NASA’s Science Chief working as the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. since January 2012.“John leaves an extraordinary legacy of success that will forever remain a part of our nation’s historic science and exploration achievements,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, in a statement.“Widely known as the ‘Hubble Repairman,’ it was an honor to serve with him in the astronaut corps and watch him lead NASA’s science portfolio during a time of remarkable discovery. These are discoveries that have rewritten science textbooks and inspired the next generation of space explorers.”NASA said that Grunsfeld’s deputy Geoff Yoder will serve as SMD acting associate administrator until a successor is named.“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,” said Grunsfeld.“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.”Dr. Grunsfeld is a veteran of five spaceflights: STS-67 (1995), STS-81 (1997), STS-103 (1999) STS-109 (2002) and STS-125 (2009), during which time he logged more than 58 —> Read More