- Academy Member Profiles
Year Inducted / Awarded: 2003
Member Award: Academy of Distinguished Engineers
Dr. Chang-Diaz is a NASA astronaut who directs the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center. After earning his Ph.D. at MIT, he joined the NASA astronaut corps and has flown aboard seven shuttle space flights while logging more than 1,600 hours in space; started the Astronaut Science Colloquium Program; and helped form the Astronaut Science Support Group, which he directed until January 1989. As a researcher, he developed a novel concept to guide and target fuel pellets in an inertial fusion reactor chamber, and led development of a plasma propulsion technology for future human missions to Mars. Dr. Chang-Diaz has been awarded seven NASA Space Flight Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, three NASA Exceptional Service Medals, four honorary doctoral degrees including one from the University of Connecticut, and the Liberty Medal. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the School of Engineering in 1984.