Dr. Joel Kearns, Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration

Dr. Joel Kearns

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Dr. Joel Kearns is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.  Dr. Kearns manages the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program (LDEP) and the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiatives.

Prior to his appointment as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration, Dr. Kearns served as the director of Facilities, Test and Manufacturing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, where he led efforts encompassing facilities infrastructure, aerospace testing, flight research aircraft, and on-site manufacturing and environmental management.

Dr. Kearns also served as the deputy director of GRC’s Space Flight Systems Directorate, providing executive direction of projects assigned to Glenn in human exploration and operations, space science and space technology. He has also previously worked at NASA Headquarters in human spaceflight, and at both the Ames Research Center in California and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, where he worked on programs as varied as microgravity research, the space shuttle and SOFIA. He has also held positions in industry.

Joel received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  As an associate fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, Joel was awarded the U.S. Government’s Presidential Rank of Meritorious Senior Executive in 2009.  He is also an inventor on four patents for single crystal growth technology.