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November 29, 2018

Kalirai Named Civil Space Mission Area Executive at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Jason Kalirai

Jason Kalirai

Credit: APL

Jason Kalirai has joined the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, as mission area executive for civil space programs. In this role, he oversees APL’s critical contributions to NASA and international missions to meet space science challenges, including space exploration and research, technology development, and production and operation of spacecraft and science instruments.

Kalirai comes to APL from the Space Telescope Science Institute, where he served as the multi-mission project scientist and lead of strategic development. In those positions he led initiatives to maximize scientific productivity of NASA’s flagship telescopes — including the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes — motivated bold U.S. space technologies, and conducted fundamental research in stellar and galactic astrophysics.

His research program has included use of major telescopes on and above Earth, including the 10-meter Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. He leads and mentors a research group and has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to conducting his own research, Kalirai serves on multiple scientific review and advisory panels and is a skilled science communicator and STEM education advocate. He has received numerous awards for his accomplishments.

Kalirai earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in astrophysics and a B.S. in physics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

As spaceflight pioneers with nearly 60 years of experience, APL has designed, built and operated 69 spacecraft and more than 280 instruments. Its latest spacecraft, Parker Solar Probe, recently set records for fastest spaceflight and closest approach to the Sun; while another probe, New Horizons, is poised to conduct the farthest planetary flyby in history — an encounter with the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed “Ultima Thule,” four billion miles from Earth — on Jan. 1. Learn more at

Media contact:Michael Buckley, 240-228-7536,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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