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Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is currently the Principal at AstroPlanetview, LLC and a part time
Professor of the Practice at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition to her work at Georgia Tech
she is a member of several technical advisory boards and is active as an independent consultant in the
Aerospace industry. Prior to striking out on her own, she was the Deputy Director of Engineering in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense for the Undersecretary of Research and Engineering. In that role she
served as the “Chief Engineer” for the DoD establishing engineering policy, propagating best practices
and working to connect the engineering community across the department. In addition, she is the former
Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest
technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. Prior to leading AIAA, Dr. Magnus was a
member of the NASA Astronaut Corps for 16 years.
Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1990. She received a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1996.
Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on facility-type payloads for the International Space Station (ISS). She also spent extensive time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures in preparation for the beginning of ISS operations. Following her work in Russia, she served as a CapCom in the ISS mission control center during the initial phases of crewed missions and later worked with the Canadian Space Agency on robotics procedures for the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Canada Arm 2.
Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer where she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.
She is a member of the NASA Aerospace Advisory Panel and President of the Board of AstraFemina, a non-profit dedicated to connecting women in STEM role models to girls to inspire them to pursue STEM careers.
Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Office or the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).