Julie Robinson Deputy Director, Earth Science NASA
AIAA SciTech Forum 2023
Dr. Julie A. Robinson is Deputy Director for Earth Science at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this role, she supports the director in overall management for the entire agency’s Earth Science portfolio, including, research and applications, data access, technology, mission development and operations. NASA’s Earth Science mission is to understand our changing planet including the development of the new Earth System Observatory—a set of five satellite missions to provide critical data on climate change, severe weather and other natural hazards, wildfires, and global food production.
Robinson spent much of her earlier career managing science in human spaceflight. From 2020-2022 she was Chief Scientist and Manager for Science & Technology Utilization in the Exploration Systems Mission Development Directorate at NASA Headquarters. In this role, she worked across mission directorates with Science, Space Technology, and Space Operations to develop the strategy and plans for research in human spaceflight and provided strategic advice at the highest levels of the agency. Her breadth of responsibility included ISS, commercial low-Earth orbit, the Artemis return to the moon, and future missions to Mars. In 2018 she served as Associate Director of NASA’s Human Research Program, coordinating development of a cross-platform research strategy for using ISS and Artemis to reduce the risks to the crew and prepare for human missions to Mars.
From 2007-2018, Robinson served as Chief Scientist of the International Space Station (ISS) Program at NASA Johnson Space Center and oversaw the laboratory from the assembly period to full utilization with hundreds of experiments and scientists active at any given time. She oversaw the expansion of ISS research to include Earth science and astrophysics instruments, the use of the ISS National Laboratory by other government agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations, and international collaboration and effective use of ISS by scientists from four ISS international partner agencies and over 100 countries. She led development of the influential ISS Benefits for Humanity series to communicate about the interdisciplinary scientific results from ISS and their impacts on our daily lives.
Dr. Robinson has an interdisciplinary background in the physical and biological sciences. Her professional experience has included research activities in a variety of fields, including virology, analytical chemistry, genetics, statistics, animal behavior, field biology, Earth science and remote sensing. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Biology from Utah State University in 1989 and Ph.D. from the University of Nevada Reno in 1996. Prior to joining NASA in 2004, Robinson began her career with Lockheed Martin as a NASA-funded Earth Science Applications investigator. Her research focused on coral reefs, conservation biology and urban change while she also trained the first NASA-Mir and ISS astronauts to understand and communicate their observations of our changing planet as they conducted longer missions in orbit.
She has received numerous accolades for her scientific leadership and mentorship, including commencement speeches and distinguished lectures, an honorary Doctor of Science from Utah State University in 2021, the Samuel Abraham Goudsmit Medal from the University of Nevada in 2020, and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2011.