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Acting Associate Center Director for Research and Technology – Jay Bookbinder

Portrait of Jay Bookbinder
Portrait of Dr. Jay Bookbinder
u003cstrongu003eu003cemu003eCredits: NASAu003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003e

Dr. Jay Bookbinder is the acting associate center director for Research and Technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, where he leads research, technology, and engineering developments that support NASA’s missions in aeronautics, science, exploration, and technology. 

Bookbinder most recently led Ames’ Science Directorate, which consists of hundreds of scientists, engineers, and staff who perform cutting-edge research in diverse fields, ranging from biology to Earth science to astrophysics. After joining NASA in 2015 to serve as the director of Projects and Programs at Ames, he managed major spaceflight projects including Kepler and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). His portfolio also included the Small Spacecraft Technology program office, the Flight Opportunities program, Ames’ New Opportunities Center, and more than 40 projects across multiple directorates. He also co-led the strategic effort to establish the Small Spacecraft Virtual Institute, now based at Ames. Over his NASA tenure, Bookbinder has served as a committee member of the Science Mission Directorate to review its program offices; chaired the interim review of astrophysics mission concepts, and chaired the assessment team for probe mission concepts; the latter two review the mission concepts that are being prepared for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey.

Prior to joining NASA, Bookbinder worked at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for more than 30 years. He was the senior program manager in the High Energy Division at SAO and provided strategic leadership for new mission concepts. As program manager, his portfolio included the Division’s solar physics missions, including the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE); Hinode X-Ray Telescope; Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument, Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph; and the Parker Solar Probe’s Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons investigation. He was principal investigator for the TRACE Mission Operations and Data Analysis efforts at SAO. Bookbinder was the mission scientist for the International X-ray Observatory, a member of the International X-ray Observatory Coordination Group, and subsequently the principal investigator at SAO and co-chair of the Advanced X-ray Spectroscopic Imaging Observatory Science and Technology Definition Team. 

Bookbinder has more than 30 years’ experience in instrument and mission design and development, satellite integration and testing, and space mission operations for both astrophysics and heliophysics missions. He has led or overseen technology development efforts across a broad range of subjects, including ultra-precise and stable optics, high-resolution X-ray mirror fabrication, contamination control, and a solar simulator to replicate the conditions the Parker Solar Probe would experience at its closest approach to the Sun. 

He served on the Independent Review Board for the Coupled Ion-Neutral Dynamics Investigations, and on the Standing Review Board the Hitomi mission’s Soft X-ray Spectrometer instrument as well as several instruments on the New Horizons mission. He chaired the Visiting Committee for Arecibo Observatory for two years, and served on the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope User’s Committees. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group, and chair of the X-ray Science Interest Group.

Bookbinder earned his bachelor’s from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, and his master’s and doctorate in Astrophysics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His hobbies include sailing, sporting clays, billiards, mineral collecting, African art, cooking, archery, travel, theatre, and jewelry design.