Astrobiology (general)

John Grunsfeld Joins Copernicus Space Corporation as Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board of Directors

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Copernicus Space Corporation
September 28, 2023
Filed under ,
John Grunsfeld Joins Copernicus Space Corporation as Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board of Directors
John Grunsfeld

Copernicus Space Corporation (“Copernicus”), a leader in space exploration and mission innovation, is proud to announce the appointment of physicist John Grunsfeld, Ph.D., former astronaut and head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, to the roles of Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board of Directors.

Copernicus leverages deep knowledge of astrophysics, space systems engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a unique space platform for distributed, intelligent Swarm Exploration™ and diversified space applications. The long-term vision of the corporation includes revolutionizing space mission cost and capabilities through the development of miniaturized, semi-autonomous space probes with superior in situ detection capacity, focusing primarily on the search for extant or extinct microbial life within our solar system.

“For the first time in human history we have the technology and the means to answer the question of ‘are we alone in the Universe?’ I am honored to join the leadership team at Copernicus to help advance innovative solutions for space exploration and the quest to find signs of life beyond Earth.”

In his role as Chief Strategy Officer, Grunsfeld will spearhead the evolution and expansion of Copernicus’s innovative swarm satellite technology, fostering its adoption across civil, commercial, and national security domains. Grunsfeld has a distinguished career spanning numerous roles, including NASA astronaut, Associate Administrator for Science, and Chief Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseeing pivotal programs and missions in space science and exploration. As Associate Administrator, his responsibilities included a $7B/year portfolio of Earth Science, Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the NOAA weather satellite program. Previously, he served as the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, managing the science programs for the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope.

Andrew Rush, President and CEO of Copernicus, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the Copernicus team as our Chief Strategy Officer. His unparalleled expertise and insight are invaluable assets in our development of disruptive and innovative space solutions. Having had the privilege of previously working with John, I look forward to our renewed partnership. Together, we can realize our shared vision of revolutionizing space with advanced swarm exploration missions and help our clients achieve diverse objectives across the commercial, scientific, and national security sectors.”

A veteran of five space shuttle flights, Grunsfeld has executed eight spacewalks, specifically on missions servicing and upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope. His commitment to advancing knowledge in planetary science and the quest for extraterrestrial life has earned him prestigious accolades, including induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015 and awards such as the National Space Trophy and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

About Copernicus Space Corporation

Copernicus Space Corporation (“Copernicus”) was founded by astrophysicists, technologists, and business executives to drive the Copernican revolution of space by enhancing space exploration and searching for life beyond Earth. Copernicus is advised by a team of world-class experts in astrophysics, medicine, molecular biology, robotics, space technology, and business. Copernicus advances a unique space technology platform strategy applying scalable and distributed Swarm Exploration™ systems to scientific, commercial, and national security applications. Copernicus provides scalable platforms and products for distributed space operations leveraging advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and robotics.


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻