Alan SternHeadshot

Alan Stern

Head of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, Titanic explorer, and planetary scientist

Sharing exhilarating stories from his extraordinary career, commercial astronaut and space program executive Dr. Alan Stern encourages audiences that anything is possible with dedication, perseverance, and strong leadership.

Dr. Alan Stern is at the helm of one of the most significant and celebrated space program projects in history—NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto—which culminated in 2015 after more than 26 years of advocating for and leading the development and flight of this incredibly trailblazing mission.

He also directed NASA’s entire $6B science program from Washington, DC, and is the former board chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He is a current board member of Voyager Space Holdings, and a member of the US National Science Board.

Dr. Stern is an experienced commercial pilot and has also conducted numerous research missions from NASA F-18s and other high-performance USAF, NASA, and commercial jet aircraft. In 2023, he flew to space on a commercial research mission aboard Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship 2; NASA has selected him to fly a second space mission. In 2022 he dove to explore the RMS Titanic in the later ill-fated submersible Titan.

As an aerospace consultant, his clients have included Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. An accomplished author, his latest book, Chasing New Horizons: Inside Humankind’s First Mission to Pluto was released in 2018.

Dr. Stern’s work and dedication to space exploration has earned him numerous honors, including twice earned spots on TIME's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, as a fellow of the Explorers Club, Smithsonian Magazine's 2015 American Ingenuity Award, and the Carl Sagan Memorial Award.

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