Doug McCuistion

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Doug McCuistion
Doug McCuistion of NASA Mars Exploration Program.jpg
NationalityUnited States
Scientific career
InstitutionsU.S. Navy
National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Science Mission Directorate - Planetary Science Division

Doug McCuistion was the Director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. He is now the Chief Operating Officer of X-Energy, LLC, a nuclear energy company developing high-temperature gas-cooled reactors located in Greenbelt, Maryland.


McCuistion was NASA's third and longest-running "Mars Czar", leading the NASA Mars Exploration Program from NASA Headquarters for 8.5 years. Under his leadership the Mars Reconnaissance Orbtier (MRO), Phoenix Lander, and Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover were completed and launched, and the MAVEN mission nearly ready for its 2013 launch. He led expansive international program efforts during his tenure, including a multi-national Mars Sample Return study called iMARS, and a merging of the NASA and European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars programs (which was later dissolved due to US financial constraints). Prior to his taking the helm of the NASA Mars Exploration Program, he was the Director of Flight Programs for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise. Prior to coming to NASA Headquarters McCuistion held management and engineering positions in Earth and space science at the Goddard Space Flight Center, working on the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), Geosynchronous Operations Environmental Satellite (GOES), Landsat, NEXUS (a James Webb Space Telescope precursor), and as a Deputy Director in the Information Systems engineering division. Prior to his career at NASA, McCuistion was a commissioned officer in the U. S. Navy flying F-14 Tomcats and worked on the Navy's Geodetic Satellite (GEOSAT) Follow-On mission. He retired from the U. S. Navy at the rank of Commander in 1998. Recently he has written about international collaboration in Mars exploration[1] and education and public outreach efforts in planetary science.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

McCuistion has been recognized with the rank of Meritorious Senior Executive, and was awarded two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and a variety of NASA, Navy, and other agency individual and group achievement awards.


  1. ^ "Potential International Collaboration for Mars Sample Return, 37th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, July 13–20, 2008, Montreal, Canada" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Year of the Solar System: New Worlds, New Discoveries and Why People Should Care, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, December 13–17, 2010, San Francisco, CA" (PDF).

External links[edit]