Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with more than 35,000 individual members in 79 countries.
Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (1996).
Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
As a girl, she was a Girl Scout in Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ legacy council River Bluffs. In 2009, Astronaut Magnus talked with local Girl Scouts from the International Space Station via a satellite downlink provided by The Boeing Company. Not only did the girls get to ask Dr. Magnus questions, but they got to see her working on the ISS and see a Girl Scout flag floating behind her. During the long-distant call, Dr. Magnus told the girls, “I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to find out what your dream is and pursue it. You can be whatever you put your mind to!
While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station. Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.
Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).
See more about GSSI's 6th Annual Meeting
|Dr. Magnus presents the flag that flew in the International Space Station to GSSI in 2010|