Alumna Margaret Meixner Selected by USRA to Lead the SOFIA Science Mission Operations

Alumna Margaret Meixner Selected by USRA to Lead the SOFIA Science Mission Operations

Alumna Margaret Meixner Selected by USRA to Lead the SOFIA Science Mission Operations

Margaret Meixner, Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations (SMO). (Credit: USRA)
Margaret Meixner, Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations (SMO). (Credit: USRA)

Dr. Margaret Meixner ('87, electrical engineering) has been named Director of Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Science Mission Operations by Universities Space Research Association (USRA).

SOFIA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) major airborne astronomical observatory world-wide, conducts observations in the far-infrared that are unique and impossible to obtain even with today's largest, most advanced high-altitude ground-based telescopes. 

As Director of SOFIA, Dr. Meixner will lead and manage SOFIA Science Mission Operations. She will provide the scientific, technical and management guidance for the SOFIA team and work in partnership with the Deutsches SOFIA Institut to amplify the scientific productivity and influence of the observatory. Dr. Meixner will work closely with NASA to ensure the success of SOFIA so it remains at the forefront of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science.

In USRA's press release, Dr. Ghassem Asrar, USRA Senior Vice President of Science, stated, "We are thrilled to have Margaret aboard. Her scientific and technical knowledge of infrared astronomy observations and science together with her management experience and community leadership complements our existing and talented team to guide SOFIA moving forward. We are excited to have Margaret join USRA as we continue to fulfill our mission of supporting U.S. space programs in science, technology and education."   

Before joining USRA, Dr. Meixner was at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, where she held several leadership positions since 2002. She is currently James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Project Scientist, and the former Instruments Division Deputy and former Webb Instrument Team Lead. She was elevated to Distinguished Astronomer, STScI in 2017, and has been Community co-Chair of the Origins Space Telescope Science and Technology Definition Team since 2016. In addition, she is a Principal Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of NASA's Astrophysics Advisory Committee.

Dr. Meixner is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She was awarded the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Science Achievement Award in 2009, an STScI Achievement Award in 2004 for Outstanding Functional Work at STScI, and received the 1994 Annie Jump Cannon Special Commendation of Honor.

She earned her B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1987 from the University of Maryland, College Park, and received her master and doctorate degrees in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Related Articles:
Alumnus Andrucyk Named Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
ECE Alumnus & Advisory Board Member Lyndon Brown Appointed Chief Strategy Officer at Pondurance
UMD alumna Jeanette Epps Tapped for Boeing Starliner Spaceflight
UMD Team Takes a Top Spot in NASA RASC-AL Design Competition
ECE Alumna Rose Faghih Named an MIT Technology Review 2020 Innovator Under 35
Two University of Maryland Teams Selected for 2021 NASA M2M X-Hab Challenge
More Than a Meal
Alumnus Yossi Matias Receives ACM’s Kanellakis Award
Alumnus Paul Jaffe’s PhD Hardware Launching to Space on X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
Switching Career Gears: From Electrical Engineering to Race Car Driving

April 15, 2020

Prev   Next

Current Headlines

Students Assist Sierra Leone School Renovation Project…Virtually!

Equipping Drones to Recover When Things Go Wrong

Waging War on Metastatic Cancer

Search Initiated for New Clark School Dean

Project Management Center for Excellence Lauded by Accreditor

Clark School Grad Takes Top Spots in ASME NSF Research Poster Competition

14 Mtech-affiliated companies named to Maryland’s list of 20 hottest innovative start-ups

Huang, Stroka Labs Collaborate to Advance Understanding of Blood-Brain Barrier

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar