Headshot of Leroy Chiao

Leroy Chiao

Baker Institute Rice Faculty Scholar | Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering


Leroy Chiao, Ph.D., is a Rice Faculty Scholar in space policy at the Baker Institute and a former NASA astronaut and International Space Station commander. Chiao works in business, consulting, executive coaching and space education. He is co-founder and CEO of OneOrbit, which provides training for businesses and schools. Chiao also holds adjunct appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and he is an advisor to the Houston Association for Space and Science Education. A veteran of four NASA space missions, Chiao logged over 229 days in space, over 36 hours of which were spent on extravehicular activities (EVAs), or spacewalks. He has also worked closely with Russian, Japanese and European astronauts and their affiliated space agencies, and he is an expert in all facets of U.S. and Russian EVA hardware and operations. In 2006, he became the first American to visit the Astronaut Research and Training Center of China, and he currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council. Prior to his 15-year career with NASA, Chiao worked as a research engineer at Hexcel Corporation and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Contact at leroychiao@gmail.com or 713-348-4906.