Michael Griffin served as the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from April 14, 2005, until the day President George W. Bush left office on January 20, 2009.
Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master’s degree in aerospace science from Catholic University of America; a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland; a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California; a master’s degree in applied physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola College; and a master’s degree in civil engineering from George Washington University. He is a certified flight instructor with instrument and multiengine ratings.
Earlier in his career, Griffin served as chief engineer and as associate administrator for exploration at NASA and as deputy for technology at the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University, where he taught courses in spacecraft design, applied mathematics, guidance and navigation, compressible flow, computational fluid dynamics, spacecraft attitude control, astrodynamics and introductory aerospace engineering.
Griffin served in several positions within Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, VA, including chief executive officer of Orbital’s Magellan Systems division and general manager of the Space Systems Group. He then moved onto In-Q-Tel, Inc. where he served as president and CEO. Prior to being nominated as NASA administrator, Griffin was serving as Space Department head at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD.
Griffin is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, as well as the textbook, Space Vehicle Design. A registered professional engineer in Maryland and California, Griffin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics, an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Griffin has not been afraid to make outspoken remarks about NASA programs and other scientific endeavors. In 2005 he told the editorial board of USA Today that the entire space shuttle program was a “mistake” and that the US was better off going in a new direction with space exploration. Two years later, he seemed to downplay the significance of global warming when he remarked, “A trend of global warming exists,” but “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”