David Miller, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has joined NASA to serve as the agency’s chief technologist under an intergovernmental personnel agreement between the agency and MIT.
The MIT Space Systems Laboratory director and 17-year university veteran succeeds Mason Peck, who has returned to his teaching position at Cornell University after nearly three years of service as NASA’s lead technology official, the space agency said Thursday.
Miller’s work at MIT has focused on developing ideas for spacecraft that could repair and upgrade multi-mission satellites through space operations and docking using standard interfaces, NASA says.
Miller also helped develop a technique to control satellite movement by using high temperature super-conducting electromagnets without needing propellant.
“He has challenged his students to create new ways to operate in space,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
“His experience in engineering space systems, small satellites, and long-duration microgravity platforms will allow him to offer the kind of expert advice I have learned to expect from my chief technologists.”
Miller will advise Bolden on issues concerning agency-wide technology policy and programs.
NASA has named Miller to positions on previous projects such as principal investigator for the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, which has a scheduled 2016 launch data.
He also served as principal investigator for the Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites project on the International Space Station.