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Universities Space Research Association Appoints Robert O'Brien Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research


WASHINGTONMarch 29, 2024 /7Newswire — Universities Space Research Association today announced the appointment of Dr. Robert O’Brien as Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research.

Rob brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of space and nuclear science. As an internationally recognized Principal Space and Nuclear Scientist/Engineer, Rob has demonstrated exemplary leadership in both research and programmatic management.

Rob comes to USRA from Idaho National Laboratory (INL) where he served as Senior Technical Advisor for Defense and Space Nuclear Technologies.  Prior to that he was a USRA Senior Scientist leading nuclear fuel and radio isotope technology development efforts and also served as CSNR’s Interim director in 2015.  Rob’s leadership experience at INL includes R&D on special reactor concepts, advanced nuclear instrumentation, nuclear fuels, various national and international programs, and other initiatives for NASA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.

His extensive research and programmatic management experience span across advanced manufacturing, space systems and instrumentation design/development, experimental payload development, defense systems and infrastructure protection, nuclear fuel performance, nuclear instrumentation, nuclear safety, irradiation testing, directed energy and laser systems, radioisotope source design, and nuclear power system design and development.

Rob’s academic background is equally impressive–he holds a PhD in nuclear engineering and physics of radioisotope and nuclear power/propulsion systems for space exploration from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, as well as a master’s degree in physics in Space Science and Technology. He holds several patents and patents pending and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

We are thrilled to welcome Rob back to USRA as the Director of our Center for Space Nuclear Research,” said Bernie Seery, Vice President for Science and Technology at USRA. “We anticipate Rob’s return to USRA as the Director of our Center for Space Nuclear Research will greatly benefit our research initiatives and enhance our position in the field of space nuclear research.”

About USRA

Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology, and engineering. USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities and conducts other major research and educational programs. It is an association with 117 university members. It engages the broader university community, employs in-house scientific talent, and offers innovative research, development, and project management expertise. More information about USRA is available at www.usra.edu.

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SOURCE Universities Space Research Association