HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is pleased to announce that Salina native Steven A. Hawley, Ph.D., – a former NASA space shuttle Astronaut and current Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas – has accepted an advisory position with the Cosmosphere. His role includes counsel for the Cosmosphere’s leadership team and the Governing Board of Directors. He will support the Cosmosphere’s mission to preserve the history and inspire the future of space exploration and he will advocate for the organization’s invaluable role in inspiring people to continually reach for the stars.
“The Cosmosphere shares the story of spaceflight in a way that no other museum does,” Hawley said. “I’m proud to have such a unique facility in my home state, and I look forward to working closely with the Cosmosphere to increase awareness of this tremendous asset for Kansas and the nation. It is my belief the Cosmosphere can provide the spark that inspires our next generation of leaders and visionaries who will do the difficult and pioneering things that make a nation great.”
“We are thrilled and honored to have Dr. Hawley as an official advisor to the Cosmosphere,” said Cosmosphere CEO Dick Hollowell. “He has actually lived the life we showcase in our museum. He has already flown history-making spaceflights and knows how to inspire young people to search for even greater galactic adventures. There is no one better to explain the Cosmosphere’s mission than an astronaut who has flown in space and whose mementos of those spaceflights are displayed here.”
Indeed, the Cosmosphere has many treasured artifacts on display from Hawley’s time with NASA, including a window from the space shuttle Columbia, and a mission time clock that was part of several missions, including STS-31 and STS-41D.
Hawley is a Kansas native, having been born in Ottawa, graduating from Salina High School, and earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Kansas before earning his Ph.D in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California. In addition to his position as a professor of physics and astronomy, he is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Director of Engineering Physics.
Selected as a NASA astronaut in January 1978, Hawley logged more than 770 hours in five space shuttle flights. He served as a mission specialist on STS-41D in 1984, the maiden flight of the space shuttle Discovery. On STS-31 in 1990, he was part of the crew that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope.
Having served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office; Deputy Director and Director of Flight Crew Operations; First Chief Astronaut for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center; and Director of Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science, Hawley retired from NASA in 2008 to accept his position at the University of Kansas.
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