Steven L. Smith currently serves on the CASIS Board of Directors and is a former NASA astronaut. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, all from Stanford University. The focus of Smith’s engineering master’s degree was on semiconductor fabrication, and his MBA focus was on strategic planning and decision making in complex situations under uncertainty.
Prior to joining NASA, Smith worked for IBM as a technical lead in the Large-Scale Integration (semiconductor) Technology group, where he guided a team developing new electron beam lithography processes to fabricate semiconductor masks. As a Hardware Systems Group product manager, he co-led the definition of a telephony product as the liaison between customers and the engineering team.
Smith is a veteran of four space flights covering 16 million miles and has completed seven spacewalks. At the completion of his flying career, his spacewalk time placed him second on the all-time American and third on the all-time world historic spacewalk lists, and he remains in the top ten on both lists. Smith joined NASA’s Mission Operations Directorate in 1989. As a Payload Officer, his duties included preflight payload integration—in which he worked with spacecraft owners and operators to successfully fly and operate spacecraft on the space shuttle—and real-time flight controller support in Mission Control. He was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1992. He has made hundreds of public appearances for NASA.
In September 1993, Smith became the first member of the 1992 astronaut class to receive a flight assignment. Between his flights he served in multiple roles such as the Astronaut Office representative for the space shuttle main engines, the solid rocket boosters, and the external tank. In this capacity, Smith provided the Astronaut Office launch readiness opinion on these critical vehicle areas. He was assigned to the Kennedy Space Center as a member of the astronaut support team. This team was responsible for space shuttle prelaunch vehicle cockpit setup and checkout, crew ingress and strap-in prior to launch, and crew egress post landing. Smith also served in the Deputy Chief Astronaut position, a role in which he supervised the Astronaut Corps leadership group, consisting of 10 veteran astronauts, and managed the daily operations of the 125-member Astronaut Corps and its 80 support personnel.
Smith served as the NASA International Space Station Program Liaison to the European Space Agency until mid-2015. In this role, Smith represented NASA on-site in Europe in diplomatic, technical, and business discussions.
Smith has been awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, four NASA Space Flight Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and an IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. He was a seven-time high school and collegiate All-American in swimming and water polo, a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion in water polo at Stanford, and captain of the 1980 NCAA Championship team. He serves on the Lindbergh Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance, and is a former board member of Special Olympics Texas and the Cousteau Society.