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Specialization and Research Interests: Human Space Flight Operations, Space Flight Technology, Human-Machine Interactions, Extravehicular Activity, Conducting Laboratory Research in Space
Teaching Interests:Space Systems Design, Space Policy
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hoffman is Professor of the Practice of Aerospace Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Dr. Hoffman received a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Amherst College in 1966 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Harvard University in 1971. He subsequently received a M.Sc. in Materials Science from Rice University in 1988. He spent one year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, after which he worked on the research staff of the Physics Department at Leicester University in the UK (1972-1975) and MIT’s Center for Space Research (1975-1978). He was a NASA astronaut from 1978-1997, having made five space flights and becoming the first astronaut to log 1000 hours of flight time aboard the Space Shuttle. Dr. Hoffman was Payload Commander of STS-46, the first flight of the US-Italian Tethered Satellite System. He played a key role in coordinating the scientific and operational teams working on this project. Dr. Hoffman has performed four spacewalks, including the first unplanned, contingency spacewalk in NASA’s history (STS 51D; April, 1985) and the initial repair/rescue mission for the Hubble Space Telescope (STS 61; December, 1993). He worked for several years as the Astronaut Office representative for EVA and helped develop and carry out tests of advanced high-pressure space suit designs and of new tools and procedures needed for the assembly of the International Space Station. For several years, he was the astronaut office’s representative on the Payload Safety Panel. Following his astronaut career, Dr. Hoffman spent four years as NASA’s European Representative, based at the US Embassy in Paris, where his principal duties were to keep NASA and NASA’s European partners informed about each other’s activities, try to resolve problems in US-European space projects, search for new areas of US-European space cooperation, and represent NASA in European media. In August 2001, Dr. Hoffman joined the MIT faculty, where he teaches courses on space operations and design and space policy. Dr. Hoffman is director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Alliance, responsible for statewide space-related educational activities designed to increase public understanding of space and to attract students into aerospace careers. His principal areas of research are advanced EVA systems, space radiation protection, management of space science projects, and space systems architecture.