MIT professor, former astronaut Hoffman joins NSBRI Board of Directors

Former astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman has been elected to the Board of Directors for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). He is currently Professor of the Practice of Aerospace Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Dr. Hoffman is a well-respected member of the world’s aerospace community,” said Dr. Bobby R. Alford, NSBRI Board of Directors Chairman. “His background as an astronaut and as a scientist will be beneficial to NSBRI from the operational and research perspectives in its efforts to protect astronaut health.”

During his career, Hoffman has 36 years of experience related to spaceflight at NASA and MIT. Hoffman was working at MIT’s Center for Space Research in 1978 when he was selected by NASA to join the Astronaut Corps. He made the first of his five space shuttle flights in 1985 on STS-51D. He also flew on STS-35 in 1990, STS-46 in 1992, STS-61 in 1993 and STS-75 in 1995. He left the Astronaut Corps in 1997 to become NASA’s European Representative, a position he held until 2001.

After leaving NASA, Hoffman returned to MIT as a senior lecturer. He was named Professor of the Practice in 2002 and became director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium in 2005, a position that he currently holds.

Hoffman graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Amherst College and received a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Harvard University. While an astronaut, he earned a master’s degree in materials science from Rice University.

Hoffman is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Spanish Academy of Engineering, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Astronomical Society (AAS), International Astronomical Union, and the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies.

He has also garnered numerous awards, including two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy, the Aviation Week and Space Technology Laurels for Achievements in Space, the AAS Victor A. Prather Award, the Freedom Forum Free Spirit Award, the AIAA Space Operations and Support Systems Award, the International Aeronautical Federation V.M. Komarov Diploma, and the International Aeronautical Federation Sergei P. Koprolyov Diploma (1994).

NSBRI is a NASA-funded consortium of institutions studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing countermeasures to mitigate the risks. The Institute’s science, technology and education projects take place at more than 60 institutions across the United States. MIT is a member of the NSBRI consortium.

NSBRI projects address space health concerns, which include bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular alterations, radiation exposure, neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors, remote medical care, and habitability and performance issues. Research findings also impact the understanding and treatment of similar medical conditions experienced on Earth.


Brad Thomas