Mission Support

Dr. David Koch
Deputy Principal Investigator, Kepler Mission
Ames Research Center
Dr. Koch was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., and attended Milwaukee Lutheran High School, where his son currently teaches and coaches.

Dr. Koch graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics and engineering physics in 1967. At Cornell University, he earned a master's degree in 1971, and a doctorate in 1972, both in physics.

His career began at American Science and Engineering Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., where he worked in X-ray astronomy from 1972 to 1977. He was project scientist for the Uhuru X-ray satellite in NASA's Explorer Program, doing data analysis and producing X-ray catalogs. Later, he served as the project scientist for the development of the Einstein Observatory, the first X-ray telescope satellite and a predecessor to Chandra.

Dr. Koch joined the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge in 1977, as project scientist for the Spacelab-2 infrared telescope. While there, he served as a co-investigator on the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) - Infrared Array Camera IRAC camera proposal, and co-investigator on the small explorer Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite, which launched in December 1998.

In 1988, Dr. Koch came to NASA's Ames Research Center to lead the mission operations for SIRTF and SOFIA. He was the last project scientist for the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, and in 1992, he created the Flight Opportunities for Science Teacher EnRichment (FOSTER) project.

In 1992, he began working on what has become the Kepler mission, for which he currently serves as deputy principal investigator.