Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart

Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart

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Stephen A. Rinehart is the Director of Planetary Research Programs at NASA Headquarters. In this role, he serves as the selection official for all Research & Analysis program within the Planetary Science Division and serves as a member of senior management within the Planetary Science Division.

Stephen joined the Planetary Science Division (PSD) at NASA Headquarters in 2018, on a detail from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, initially serving as the Program Officer for the PICASSO program and the Exoplanets Research Program within PSD.  Prior to coming to HQ, Stephen was a scientist at GSFC for almost 14 years.  In that time, he served in a number of different roles.  He was the Associate Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope during preparation and execution of Servicing Mission 4 (executed in 2009). He also served as the Associate Chief of the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology, and as the Project Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission (launched in 2018).  In 2011, he was awarded funding for the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII), an innovative interferometer designed to study star formation.  BETTII launched in 2017 with a successful flight, but an anomaly at the end of the flight resulted in loss of the payload. In his time at Goddard, Stephen was also involved with numerous other research projects as well an instrument and mission development efforts.

Stephen earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his doctorate at Cornell University, with research focused on the development of infrared instrumentation and studies of stellar evolution.  Following graduate school, Stephen was a postdoctoral research associate at Queen Mary &  Westfield college in London, before moving to Goddard as a National Research Council Fellow.

Stephen is an afficionado of single malt whisky, interesting cufflinks, and good hats.  He’s also passionate about the Oxford comma.

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to SARA@nasa.gov.