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John Mankins

National Space Society Board of Directors

John C. Mankins, President of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC is an internationally recognized leader in space systems and technology innovation, and as a highly effective manager of large-scale technology R&D programs.

Mr. Mankins' 25-year career at NASA and CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) ranged from flight projects and space mission operations, to systems level innovation and advanced technology research & development management. He is also well known as an innovator in R&D management.  For example, building on the original NASA 'technology readiness level' (TRL) scale for technology assessment (defined first with 6 or 7 levels in the 1970s), he extended the scale to flight systems and operations in the late 1980s (TRLs 8 and 9), published the first detailed definitions of the TRLs in 1995, and promoted the use of the scale by the US Department of Defense in the late 1990s. 

Before leaving NASA, Mr. Mankins was the manager of Exploration Systems Research and Technology within the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate with responsibility for an $800M annual budget, involving more than 100 individual projects and over 3,000 personnel. For 10 years, he was the manager of Advanced Concepts Studies at NASA, and the lead for critical studies of space solar power, highly reusable space transportation, affordable human exploration approaches, and other topics. He was the creator or co-creator of numerous novel concepts, including the 'MagLifter' electromagnetic launch assist system, the Internet-based NASA 'Virtual Research Center' the 'Solar Clipper' interplanetary transport vehicle, the 'SunTower' space solar power system, the 'Hybrid Propellant Module' for in-space refueling, the 'HabBot' mobile planetary outpost architecture, the Advanced Technology Life cycle Analysis System (ATLAS), and others. In recognition of his accomplishments, he has received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal (of which he was the first recipient).

He holds undergraduate (Harvey Mudd College) and graduate (UCLA) degrees in Physics and an MBA in Public Policy Analysis (The Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University). Mr. Mankins is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and Chair of the Academy Commission III (Space Systems and Technology Development); and a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the Sigma Xi Research Society.

Mr. Mankins is an accomplished communicator, including political, programmatic, technical and lay audiences. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 published papers, reports and other technical documents, and has testified before Congress on several occasions, and has been consulted on R&D management and space issues with organizations in the U.S. and internationally.


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