Steven D. Howe former Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR), Idaho National Laboratory
AIAA SciTech Forum 2023
Dr. Steven D. Howe received his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Kansas State University after completing his thesis research in experimental particle physics at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1980. After a one year stay at the Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe in West Germany as a visiting scientist, he returned to Los Alamos as a staff member in the Thermonuclear Applications Group. During the four years in the group, he was appointed design physicist for two nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site and supervised research efforts investigating fundamental physics in dense, high temperature plasmas.
Dr. Howe then joined the Laboratory’s systems analysis group that analyzed various concepts proposed for the Strategic Defense Initiative. During this time, he became involved in examining potential Laboratory programs and technologies pertinent to future space missions such as space radiation modeling, antimatter physics, Mars Mission requirements, space debris mitigation, and advanced propulsion technologies.
Dr. Howe has extensive experience in radiation transport modeling. In August, 2015, Dr. Howe stepped down as founding Director of the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, ID.
For 10 years he led the CSNR in facilitating research and education of nuclear technologies for space exploration. At the CSNR, he initiated the development of a radioisotope-powered Mars Hopper, a revolutionary, small, radioisotope power source for micro-satellites, a new nuclear rocket design that uses low enriched uranium, and the fabrication of tungsten-based fuels for nuclear reactors for power and propulsion in space. He also initiated and oversaw the CSNR Summer Fellows program which has educated over 150 participants from 27 states over a 10-year period in the issues of nuclear technologies in space.