John Horack

Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy

John Horack

College of Engineering
Phone: 614-292-4362
Topics: space, spaceflight, space policy


PhD, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Astrophysics

MS, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Astrophysics

BS, Northwestern University, Physics and Astronomy

John M. Horack is the Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy, and holds a joint appointment between the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in the College of Engineering, and the John Glenn College of Public Policy.

Horack’s professional experience in aerospace innovation and leadership dates back to 1987. Before joining Ohio State in 2016, he was vice president of the International Astronautical Federation, was vice president for research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, achieved the level of senior executive service at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and most recently served as vice president of Teledyne Brown Engineering’s Space Systems group. At TBE he oversaw all government and commercial space programs, including science, International Space Station payload operations, test support, flight hardware, launch vehicle and component development, and Earth imaging.

He is the author or co-author of over 100 scientific papers, conference proceedings, and publications across subjects including space policy, atmospheric physics and high-energy astrophysics. He was an important member of the scientific teams which discovered the existence of flashes of gamma-rays from terrestrial thunderstorms, and the breakthrough scientific discovery that gamma-ray bursts originate from cosmological distances.

Horack is also a leading science communicator. He founded the Science@NASA portal ( in 1998, winning one of the first-ever Webby Awards for Best Science Site on the Internet. He represents science, space and technology extensively across television, radio, print, internet and social media. He has served as a NASA spokesperson, subject matter expert, and media contact for CNN, CCTV and Bill Nye the Science Guy, among others.

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