Curriculum Vitae

DC Address: 300 M Street SW, N 505, Washington, DC 20024,  Cellular: 202-528-3278, E-Mail:

Education: Ph.D., 1982, M.A., 1978, American History, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. B.A., 1976, American History, Graceland College, Lamoni, IA

Professional Experience:

  • Principal, Launius Historical Services, Historian in Private Practice, Washington, DC, 2017-Present.
  • Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2013-2016. Just retired.
  • Senior Curator, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2006-2013.
  • Chair, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2002-2006.
  • Chief Historian, NASA, Washington, DC, 1990-2002.
  • Adjunct Professor of History, Anne Arundel Community College, 1995-2003.
  • Command Historian, Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, 1987-1990.
  • Adjunct Professor of History, Graceland College, Lamoni, IA, 1990-Present.
  • Deputy Command Historian, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, MD, 1986­‑1987.
  • Adjunct Professor of History, Weber State College, Ogden, UT, 1985‑1986.
  • Chief, Office of History, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, UT, 1984‑1986.
  • Historian, Office of History, Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, 1982‑1984.
  • Instructor, Department of History, McKendree College, Lebanon, IL, 1983‑1984.

Selected Books:

  • Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press,  2014). Co-edited with David H. DeVorkin.
  • Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce (NASA SP-2014-4554, 2014).
  • Exploring the Solar System: The History and Science of Planetary Exploration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space (NASA SP-2011-593, 2012).
  • Globalizing Polar Science: Reconsidering the International Polar and Geophysical Years (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
  • Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman (Walker and Co., 2010).
  • Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration (HarperCollins, 2009).
  • Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel (Johns Hopkins, 2008).
  • Societal Impact of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2007-4801, 2007).
  • Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2006-4702, 2006).
  • Space: A Journey to Our Future (Tehabi Books, 2004).
  • Reconsidering a Century of Flight (North Carolina, 2003).
  • Taking Flight: A Century of Manned Flight (AIAA, 2003).
  • Flight: A Celebration of 100 Years in Art and Literature (Welcome Books, 2003).
  • Space Stations: Base Camps to the Stars (Smithsonian, 2003).
  • To Reach the High Frontier: A History of U.S. Launch Vehicles (Kentucky, 2002).
  • Imagining Space: Achievements, Projections, Possibilities, 1950-2050 (Chronicle Books, 2001).
  • Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000).
  • Innovation and the Development of Flight (Texas A&M, 1999).
  • The U.S. Space Program and the American Space Program (Deitch Enterprises, 1998).
  • NASA & the Exploration of Space (Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 1998).
  • Frontiers of Space Exploration (Greenwood, 1998, rev. ed. 2004).
  • Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate (Missouri, 1997).
  • Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership (Illinois, 1997).
  • Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History (Illinois, 1996).
  • Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volumes II-VI (NASA SP‑2004-4407, 1996-2004).
  • Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois (Utah State, 1995).
  • Organizing for the Use of Space: Historical Perspectives on a Persistent Issue (Univelt, 1995).
  • Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History (Illinois, 1994).
  • History of Rocketry and Astronautics: Proceedings of 15th and 16th History Symposia (Univelt, 1994).
  • NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program (Krieger, 1994, rev. ed. 2001).
  • Let Contention Cease: The Dynamics of Dissent in the Reorganized Church (Graceland Park, 1991).
  • Father Figure: Joseph Smith III and the Creation of the Reorganized Church (Herald, 1990).
  • Missouri Folk Heroes of the Nineteenth Century (Independence Press, 1989).
  • Joseph Smith III: Pragmatic Prophet (Illinois, 1988).
  • Invisible Saints: A History of Black Americans in the Reorganized Church (Herald, 1988).
  • Zion‘s Camp: Expedition to Missouri, 1834 (Herald, 1984).
  • An Early Latter Day Saint History: The Book of John Whitmer (Herald, 1980).

Numerous articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals, including: Aerospace Historian, Air His­torian, Air Force Journal of Logistics, Air Power History,  Airlift: The Journal of the Airlift Operations School, Airpower Journal, American Aviation Historical Society Journal, Annals of Iowa, Annals of Wyoming, Brigham Young University Studies, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Endeavour, Flying Safety, The Historian, Illinois History, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Journal of Mormon History, Journal of the Southwest, Journal of Third World Studies, Journal of the West, Life, Louisiana History, Military History of the West, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, New Mexico Historical Review, North Louisiana His­torical Association Journal, Pacific Historical Review, Pacific Northwest Forum, Prologue: The Journal of the the National Archives and Records Administration, Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly, Restoration Studies, Saints’ Heri­tage: A Journal of the Restoration Trail Foundation, Space Policy, Space Times: Magazine of the American Astronautical Society, Southern California Quarterly, Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South, Sunstone, Utah Histori­cal Quarter­ly, Western Illinois Regional Studies.

Selected Professional Activities:

  • Co-organizer, “The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development,” Washington, D.C., 2015.
  • Member, Public and Stakeholder Opinions-Human Spaceflight, National Academies of Science, 2013-2014.
  • Co-Organizer, “Pressing Issues: The History of Technology Meets Public Policy,” Colby College, Waterville, ME,  2013.
  • Co-organizer, “Solar System Exploration @50” symposium, Washington, D.C., 2012.
  • Co-organizer, “Moving Beyond Earth” Symposium, Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2011.
  • Program Chair, National Council on Public History, Pensacola, Florida, 2011.
  • Series Editor, “Sports and American Culture,” University of Missouri Press, 2009-Present.
  • Series Co-Editor, “Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology,” Palgrave Macmillan, 2008-Present.
  • Awards Committee, NASA Fellowship, Society for the History of Technology, 2008-2011.
  • Member, Radioisotope Power Systems Study Team, National Academies of Science, 2008-2009.
  • Content Review Board Member, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2007-Present.
  • Board of Advisors, Pete Conrad Foundation, 2007-Present.
  • Book Award Committee, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2006-2010.
  • Editorial Board, Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics and Policy, 2006-Present.
  • Editorial Board, Quest: The Magazine of Spaceflight History, 2005-Present.
  • Board of Advisors, Center for Structures in Extreme Environments, Rutgers University, 2005-Present.
  • Awards Committee, Brooke Hindle Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the History of Technology, Society for the History of Technology, 2004-2005.
  • Chair, AHA Fellowship in Aerospace History Award Committee, 2004-2005.
  • Proceedings Coordinator, International Academy of Astronautics History Section, 2004-Present.
  • Consultant, Columbia Accident Investigation Board, 2003.
  • President, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2003-2004.
  • Distinguished Lecturer, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2003-Present.
  • President, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2003-2004.
  • Distinguished Lecturer, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2003-Present.
  • Board, American Astronautical Society, 2002-2008.
  • Series Editor, “Centennial of Flight Series,” Texas A&M University Press, 2001-Present.
  • Publications Committee, National Council on Public History, 2000-2002.
  • Vice President/President-Elect, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2002-2003.
  • Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2001.
  • Book Awards Committee, Mormon History Association, 1998-2009.
  • Publications Committee, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1998-2001.
  • Editorial Board, The Public Historian, 1998-2001.
  • Advisory Committee, “Studies of Latter-day Saint Religion,” Scholars Press, 1997-2002.
  • Executive Council, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1997-1999.
  • Advisory Committee, History of Aviation Series, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996‑1999.
  • Editorial Board, Journal of the West, 1996-2000.
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, Mormon History Association, 1996-1997.
  • Vice President-Publications for American Astronautical Society, 1996-2002.
  • Editor, Space Times: Magazine of the American Astronautical Society, 1995-2003.
  • Vice President-Publications, American Astronautical Society, 1995-2002.
  • Executive Committee, American Astronautical Society, 1995‑2003.
  • Tellers Committee, Society for Military History, 1993-1995.
  • President, Mormon History Association, 1993-1994.
  • Chair, History Committee, American Astronautical Society, 1992-1997.
  • Richard W. Leopold Prize Committee, Organization of American Historians, 1992-1994.
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1992-1994.
  • Program Chair, Mormon History Association Annual Meeting, 1993, 1989.
  • Program Chair, Society for History in the Federal Government Meeting, Washing­ton, DC, 1992.
  • President, John Whitmer Historical Association, 1990-1992.
  • Series Editor, “New Series in NASA History,” Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990‑Present.
  • Editor, NASA History: News and Notes, 1990-Present.
  • Columnist, Quest: The Magazine of Spaceflight History, 1993-1997.
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Mormon History, 1990‑1998.
  • Editor, John Whitmer Historical Association Monograph Series, 1989‑1992.
  • Associate Editor, Saints Heritage, 1987‑1988.
  • Council Member, John Whitmer Historical Association, 1986‑1988.
  • Council Member, Mormon History Association, 1986‑1989.
  • Editorial Board, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, 1985‑1997.
  • Program Committee Member, National Western Film Festival and Sympo­sium, Ogden, UT, 1985.
  • Contributing Editor, Restoration Trail Forum, 1976-1978.

Honors and Awards:

  • Goldfarb Center Faculty Fellow, Colby College, 2013-2014.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Lunar Historic Sites Recommendations Team, 2011.
  • John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award, American Astronautical Society, 2009.
  • Secretary’s Research Prize, Smithsonian Institution, 2009.
  • Roger R. Trask Award, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2009.
  • Director’s Award, National Air and Space Museum, 2008.
  • Associate Fellow, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2008.
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007.
  • Fellow, International Academy of Astronautics, 2007.
  • Harmon Memorial Lecturer in Military History, United States Air Force Academy, November 2006.
  • AIAA History Manuscript Award, 2003.
  • Lindbergh Chair, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2001.
  • Fellow, American Astronautical Society, 2001.
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal, 2001.
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 1999.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by Graceland College, Lamoni, IA, 1998.
  • International History Week Awards, 1995, 1994.
  • James Madison Prize for Best Article, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1994.
  • Article Awards, Dialogue, 1994, 1990.
  • Hoover Presidential Library Association Grant, 1993-1994.
  • Religious Studies Center Grant, Brigham Young University, 1993‑1994.
  • Gerald R. Ford Foundation Grant, 1992-1993.
  • American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Travel Grant, 1992.
  • Ira C. Eaker Article Award, Airpower Journal, 1991.
  • Outstanding Article Award, Air Force Journal of Logistics, 1991.
  • T. Edgar Lyon Article Award, Mormon History Association, 1997, 1995, 1991.
  • Best Book Award, Mormon History Association, 1995,1991.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Travel‑to‑Collections Grants, 1990, 1986.
  • Evans Biography Award, Center for Regional Studies, Utah State University, 1989.
  • Best Book Award, John Whitmer Historical Association, 1995, 1991, 1989, 1988, 1984.
  • W. Darrell Overdyke Award, North Louisiana Historical Association, 1981.

3 Responses to Curriculum Vitae

  1. Dr. Warren says:

    Will there every be any manned missions to Kepler 20f? On a positive note, wouldn’t space colonies and planet settlements solve both our population and resource problems here on planet earth? So what are we waiting for?
    Merry Christmas and keep up the good work!
    Very proud of your accomplishments and thank you for sharing.


  2. Erik Andrulis says:

    Impressive. Most impressive. Looking forward to reading what you have to say. Glad I found your blog.


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