Nebraska Astronaut Anderson To Pilot SAC Museum

Photo: Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum

(Ashland, NE) -- Retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson is the new president and CEO of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. Anderson was with NASA for three decades. He took part in four space missions and spent 167 days in space which included six spacewalks.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) & Aerospace Museum welcomes Clayton “Astro Clay” Anderson, Nebraska’s only NASA astronaut, as its president and chief executive officer. Anderson started his new position at the beginning of May.  


The stars have aligned to have Nebraska’s first — and currently only — astronaut lead the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. Clay’s unique professional experiences align perfectly with the mission of the Museum,” said Gary Gates, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors. “One of the exhibits at the Museum is a celebration of Clay’s space exploration. We are very excited to have Clay’s visionary skillset at the helm of the organization.” 


Anderson succeeds Jeffrey Cannon, who led the Museum since 2018. Cannon stepped down due to health reasons. Cannon’s tenure at the Museum includes advancing the Museum’s education efforts and the successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


Anderson retired from NASA in 2013. Anderson is a Professor of Practice at Iowa State University teaching intro to Aerospace Engineering for first-year students, including topics of the Space Environment, the History and Future of Space, Spacecraft Environmental Control Systems, Ethics, and Teamwork. He is also the author of five books, three written for children about space.   


“The opportunity to come back home to Ashland, Nebraska, to lead the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum is the culmination of a career dedicated to space exploration and education,” Anderson said. “As we head toward the Museum’s 25th anniversary in 2023, I look forward to collaborating with communities throughout the region to tell the powerful story of Nebraska and America’s role in military command and its relationship with our nation’s aerospace exploration.”  


Anderson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Hastings College and received a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University. Throughout his career, he has earned numerous honors and awards including the Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Honor (2011); NASA Spaceflight Medal (2008, 2011); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2008, 2011); and Outstanding Alumnus at Iowa State University (2008) and Hastings College (2008) among other recognitions.

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