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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, most known as NASA, is the independent agency from the American federal government which is responsible for space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Within the next decade, NASA will be operating the Gateway, an outpost orbiting the Moon. Work is underway to develop the components necessary to ensure the Gateway is outfitted to with the most advanced astronaut accommodations, communications, science capabilities, and to help prepare humanity for the next frontier: Mars. The work requires the best of NASA, its international partners, the private sector, academia, and citizen scientists to guarantee a successful and sustained human venture far away from Earth. Jason Crusan, Director, Advanced Exploration Systems for NASA, will take part as guest speaker in the Space Summit on May 15th. In this talk, Jason Crusan will explain how it takes the collective innovation of the whole world to put humans in deep space. Discover more about him below.

As director of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Jason Crusan serves as NASA’s senior executive, advisor and advocate on technology and innovation approaches leading to new flight and system capabilities for human exploration of space. He manages over 450 civil servant employees and 150 onsite contractors with an active portfolio of 20-30 technology, engineering and flight development projects. He leads integration with the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and programs within other HEOMD divisions including International Space Station and Exploration Systems Development.

Using an integrated approach that leverages public-private partnerships, industry, international partners, and academia, Mr. Crusan serves as the senior leader for AES across all NASA centers which involves: developing and maintaining critical human spaceflight capabilities; maturing new integrated systems, instruments, and ground systems; and delivering critical multi-million dollar flight hardware for NASA. He provides the executive management and leadership needed to develop effective technology development strategies, system acquisition strategies, contracting mechanisms, joint investment models and partnerships—in short, he develops the innovative approaches needed to maximize NASA’s access to new technologies and capabilities for human spaceflight.

Before becoming director of the agency’s new Advanced Exploration Systems organization in 2012, Crusan fostered innovation at NASA in many key roles beginning in 2005. He served as chief technologist for space operations, and successfully directed various technical and strategic initiatives as program executive or project manager. He was part of the Miniature Radio Frequency Program (Mini-RF), which flew two radar instruments to the moon to map the lunar poles, search for water ice, and demonstrate future NASA communication technologies. Currently, he also serves as the Director of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) formed to advance the utilization of open innovation methodologies within the U.S. government.

Crusan holds bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics, a master’s degree in computer information systems, and is currently a candidate for a doctorate in Engineering Management at George Washington University. Mr. Crusan is married and has two children.