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Physicist and former astronaut John Grunsfeld currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Space Science Telescope Institute in Baltimore, which manages the science program of the Hubble Space Telescope and is a partner in the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. His background includes research in high energy astrophysics, cosmic ray physics, and more recently in the emerging field of exoplanet studies with specific interest in future astronomical instrumentation. A veteran of five space shuttle flights, he visited Hubble three times as an astronaut, performing a total of eight spacewalks to service and upgrade the observatory.

NASA has named Grunsfeld as the new Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Grunsfeld will take the reins of the office effective January 4, 2012. He succeeds Ed Weiler, who retired from NASA on Sept. 30.

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Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Coyle (Coyle Studios for STScI)