Biography

Dr. Logsdon is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

Prior to his leaving active faculty status in June 2008, he was on the faculty of the George Washington University for 38 years; before that he taught at the Catholic University of America for four years. He was the founder in 1987 and long-time Director of GW’s Space Policy Institute. From 1983-2001, he was also Director of the School’s Center for International Science and Technology Policy. He is also a faculty member of the International Space University. During 2008-2009, he held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Xavier University (1960) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University (1970).

Dr. Logsdon’s research interests focus on the policy and historical aspects of U.S. and international space activities. His book John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon was published in December 2010. The book was named the 2011 winner of the Gardner Lasser Aerospace History Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and co-winner of Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award of the American Astronautical Society. His  book, After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program, was published in March 2015. It was selected as the 2017 recipient of the AIAA Gardner-Lasser award. His account of civilian space decisions during the Reagan administration, titled Ronald Regan and the Space Frontier, was published in December 2018. He was recently also the editor of the Penguin Classics compilation The Penguin History of Outer Space Exploration: NASA and the Incredible Story of Human Space Exploration, published in September 2018.  

Dr. Logsdon is also the author of The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (1970) and is general editor of the seven-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. He has written numerous articles and reports on space policy and history. Dr. Logsdon has lectured and spoken to a wide variety of audiences at professional meetings, colleges and universities, international conferences, and other settings, and has testified before Congress on several occasions. He has served as a consultant to many public and private organizations. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues and has appeared as an expert on all major television networks and public radio.

In 2003 Dr. Logsdon served as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He was a member of the NASA Advisory Council from 1998-2001 and from 2005-2009, and recently has been named a member of the new Regulatory and Policy Committee of the Council.  He is a recipient of the Exceptional Public Service, Distinguished Public Service, and Public Service Medals from NASA, the 2005 John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2006 Barry Goldwater Space Educator Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the 2013 Frank Malina Space Educator Award from the International Astronautical Federation. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and former Chair of its Commission on Space Policy, Law, and Economics. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Planetary Society.  He is on the editorial board of the international journal Space Policy and was its North American editor from 1985-2000. He is also on the editorial boards of the journals New Space and Astropolitics.


Endorsements

 

“A comprehensive and insightful retrospect of the conception and early days of Project Apollo.”

– Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11

“From me comes only praise, multi-faceted praise.”

– Michael Collins, Apollo 11

“Professor Logsdon is uniquely qualified for the task – to reveal the cultural, political, and scientific correspondence that birthed and sustains our era of space exploration.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Natural History Museum

“John Logsdon puts us ‘in the room where it happens’ . . . No one is better at transforming meticulous research and complex history into and engaging and highly readable tale.”

– Kathryn Sullivan, former astronaut and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

“John Logsdon has told this story with verve and style. His depth of knowledge is unparalleled, his breadth of analysis is incomparable, and his presentation is unrivaled in this superb account.”

– Roger Launius, author and former NASA chief historian

 

Expertly researched, wonderfully written, very readable…Essential reading for everyone concerned with the course of space exploration.”

– Professor Howard McCurdy, American University.

 

 

A Record of Accomplishment

  • Published in 1970 the first, and still definitive, scholarly account of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 decision to send Americans to the Moon,  The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the U.S. National Interest

  • Mentoring hundreds of students at George Washington University and International Space University, many of whom have gone on to productive careers in the space community

  • Member of the Columbia  Accident Investigation Board (2003)

  • Hundreds of  appearances on various U.S. and international television and radio news and public affairs programs and documentaries; frequently cited in print media

  • Frequent speeches and lectures on space topics in many venues around the world

  • General editor, seven-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program

  • Author of numerous articles, op-ed essays, and commentaries

  • Member of the NASA Advisory Council or one of its committees (2001-2003, 2005-2009, 2018-   )

  • Member of numerous advisory committees and boards, including the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academy of Engineering (1990-1996) , Vice President’s Space Advisory Board (1992-1993), Committee to Evaluate Japanese National Space Development Agency (1998-2001), Academic Council, International Space University (2008-2018), Board of Directors, The Planetary Society, 1997-

  • Charles Lindbergh Chair in Space History, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 2008-2009

  • Recipient of the Exceptional Public Service Medal from NASA, the 2005 John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2006 Barry Goldwater Space Educator Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the 2013 Frank Malina Space Educator Award from the International Astronautical Federation

  • Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics

 

 

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