Ms. Andrea Razzaghi, Astrophysics Division Deputy Director
Andrea Razzaghi was selected as the Deputy Director of Astrophysics in September 2012. She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management of the programs and projects in the Astrophysics Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. She oversees the Agency’s research programs and missions necessary to discover how the Universe works, explore how the Universe began and developed into its present form, and search for Earth-size planets outside of our Solar System. Ms. Razzaghi manages a portfolio of over 20 NASA missions and /or international partnerships including our nation’s Great Observatories in space: Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer, which have transformed our understanding of the Cosmos, and Kepler, which discovered that virtually all stars have planetary systems. Kepler was the first NASA mission to find Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone," the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting planet.
Ms. Razzaghi joined NASA Headquarters in 2010 to serve as the Assistant Director for Planetary Science. She oversaw and played a significant role in many exciting mission milestones, including two comet encounters; planetary launches for Juno to Jupiter; GRAIL to the moon; and the Mars Science Laboratory. Also included were science operations at Mercury with the MESSENGER mission, the Dawn mission at the asteroid Vesta, and the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. From 1992 to 2009, Ms. Razzaghi served at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where she held several key project management positions. She worked in the Explorers’ Program Office as the Mission Manager for two astrophysics missions: the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer launched in 2009, and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array launched in February 2012. From 1997 to 2004, she was the Observatory Manager for the Earth Observing System Aura mission, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2004. In 1992, Ms. Razzaghi served as the Instrument Manager for the Microwave Imager on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission launched from Japan in 1997.
From 1996 to 1997, Ms. Razzaghi was selected to serve on detail as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She coordinated the activities of the National Science and Technology Council which is the principal means within the executive branch to coordinate science and technology policy that comprise the Federal research and development enterprise. Chaired by the President, the membership of the Council is made up of the Vice President, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads with significant science and technology responsibilities, and other White House officials. Ms. Razzaghi also worked with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President.
Ms. Razzaghi began her engineering career at a consulting firm working on airborne mine countermeasures for the U.S. Navy. In 1985, Ms. Razzaghi started her NASA career at Goddard Space Flight Center as an electromechanical engineer. She contributed to a number of successful missions including the Cosmic Background Explorer that provided evidence to support the Big Bang theory and led to a Nobel Prize for two of its principal investigators; and Cassini, which unveiled the beauty and mysteries of Saturn and its moons. Ms. Razzaghi grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from the Sidwell Friends School. She earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University, and an M.S. degree from the Catholic University of America in Mechanical Engineering Design. She has won many awards for her service to NASA and our nation and was the 2014 recipient of the Brown University Engineering Alumni Medal.