Kenneth Reightler

Faculty, Aerospace Engineering Dept., United States Naval Academy, Former NASA Astronaut Captain Kenneth S. Reightler, USN (Ret)

Ken Reightler is currently the Tig H. Krekel, Class of ’75 Distinguished Chair in Space Science at the U.S. Naval Academy. Prior to this appointment, he served for five years as the Robert A. Heinlein Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Academy.  Before joining the faculty in August 2012, Mr. Reightler was Vice President, Engineering Services, for ATK Spacecraft Systems & Services, Beltsville MD. In that role, he was responsible for the overall management, strategy development, program execution, and business development of engineering services serving the NASA, defense, intelligence, and adjacent markets.

Previously, Mr. Reightler spent fifteen years as an executive with Lockheed Martin serving in a variety of senior leadership roles, including President, Lockheed Martin Space Operations; Senior Vice President (COO), Lockheed Martin Space Operations; Vice President, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company; Vice President and Program Manager, Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC); and Vice President, Science, Engineering, Analysis and Test (SEAT) Operation. A former NASA astronaut, and pilot of two successful space shuttle missions, Mr. Reightler also held a number of senior management positions in the astronaut office at the Johnson Space Center.He also has a strong defense background serving as a Naval Aviator in both land and carrier based assignments. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and served two tours at the Naval Air Test Center as a test pilot, project manager, and flight test instructor pilot. Mr. Reightler holds a BSAE degree from the U.S Naval Academy, a MSAE degree from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and a MSSM degree from the University of Southern California. In 1997 he was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame, and is also the recipient of numerous military and NASA awards.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, he is also the Treasurer of the organization. Other boards that he is currently on include the National Institute of Aerospace, the International Space University, and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement.