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David L. Chenette, Ph.D., Director Heliophysics Division

Dave Chenette, Division Director for Heliophysics


Dave Chenette was selected as the Director of the Heliophysics Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in 2013. Before joining NASA he was the Chief Scientist of the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, CA. Before that assignment, he led the ATC Space Sciences and Instrumentation Directorate, and managed both the Solar and Astrophysics and the Space Physics Laboratories of that directorate.

At Lockheed Martin Dave was involved with many NASA Heliophysics missions and instrument development projects. These included the early stages of the IRIS Small Explorer, the AIA and HMI instruments for the Solar Dynamics Observatory, components for the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale HPCA and IBEX, the Focal Plane Package for Hinode, contributions to the STEREO mission, and many others. During NASA’s International Solar Terrestrial Physics program Dave was the Principal Investigator for the Polar Ionospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment (PIXIE), and before that he led Lockheed’s contributions to the NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Particle Environment Monitor investigation, including another auroral x-ray imager (PEM/AXIS).

Before joining Lockheed, Dave managed the development of a set of radiation belt sensors for the joint NASA/USAF Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES) as a member of the technical staff at The Aerospace Corporation. He began his career in space physics at the University of Chicago, working for John A. Simpson. As an undergraduate he had the honor of participating in the first encounter with Jupiter by Pioneer 10, and identifying that Jupiter was a dominant source of high-energy electrons in the interplanetary medium. Modeling the transport of those electrons to Earth led to his Ph.D. at Chicago. He also supported the first explorations of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, first with the University of Chicago team on Pioneer 11, and then on Voyagers 1 and 2 as a post-doc with the Caltech/Goddard team under Edward C. Stone.