SEATTLE, March 17, 2010-- Chair of the Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum and former Chief Historian at NASA, Dr. Roger Launius will be at The Museum of Flight on April 17 with a presentation exploring the history of spaceflight during the past 50 years and offer comments on the core challenges for future exploration. Those challenges include political will; cheap, reliable access to space; protecting this planet and this species; and exploration of the Moon and Mars. The program is at 2 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater is followed by a question and answer session and book signing. The presentation is free with admission to the Museum.
Roger D. Launius graduated from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa and received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1982. He then worked as a civilian historian with the United States Air Force until 1990, when he became chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1990 to 2002.
Launius has written or edited more than 20 books on aerospace history, and pursues research in other historical areas as well. Most recently he has been studying the relationship of baseball to American culture and has published, "Seasons in the Sun: The Story of Big League Baseball in Missouri" (University of Missouri Press, 2002).
Launius has lectured widely on historical subjects to military, academic, technical, and general audiences. He has also served part time on the faculties of several colleges and universities. He has acted as a reader for publishers, as a member of the governing councils of several professional associations, and served on the editorial boards of numerous journals. He is an active member of several professional associations, among them the American Astronautical Society, where he is a fellow and member of the board; the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for History in the Federal Government, and the Society for the History of Technology. He served as chair of the history and education panel of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission between 1999 and 2004. In 2003 he served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). He is a recipient of the Exceptional Service Medal and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from NASA.
Launius presented the prestigious Harmon Memorial Lecture in Military History at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues, and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and major television networks.
Photo courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum.