Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Kenneth G Carpenter


Kenneth G Carpenter's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.3453
Org Code: 667
Mail Code 667
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Kenneth Carpenter is currently the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Operations Project Scientist and the Ground System Scientist for the Roman Space Telescope. He leads the Stellar Imager (SI) Vision Mission concept development and was selected as a NIAC Fellow to develop a lunar-based variant of SI called Artemis-enabled Stellar Imager (AeSI). He also provided scientific guidance to the OpTIIX ISS-based technology demonstration project. His scientific interests include studies of the chromospheres, transition regions, winds and circumstellar shells of cool stars, as well as the calculation of model atmospheres and synthetic spectra and investigations of line fluorescence processes; hardware interests include development and operations of UV spectroscopic instruments and large baseline space interferometers. He is currently a member of the "Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory" at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.



NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

August 1988 - Present


Operations Project Scientist for Hubble Space Telescope

Ground System Scientist for Roman Space Telescope

NIAC Fellow, Artemis-enabled Stellar Imager (AeSI)

Principal Investigator, Stellar Imager (SI) Vision Mission Concept

Lead Scientist for OpTIIX ISS-based technology demonstration mission

Research Interests

Stellar Astrophysics and Space Instrument/Mission Development

Astrophysics: Stars

Ultraviolet spectroscopy. Chromospheres, transition regions and winds of cool stars. Stellar activity. Model atmospheres and synthetic spectra. Line fluorescence processes. Chemically peculiar stars. Instrument development, in particular development and calibration of UV spectrographs. Long-Baseline Imaging Interferometry.

Carpenter is the lead scientist/architect for a long-term study of the outer atmospheres and winds of stars cooler than the sun, utilizing IUE, HST, ground-based and other space-based facilities. Core HST/GHRS results, based on combined GTO and GO programs, have been published in an ApJ series: ``GHRS Observations of Cool, Low-Gravity Stars. I-V''. He has collaborated in studies of stellar activity/chromospheric heating in Hyades F stars and of the origin of Ba-star abundances anomalies with E. Bohm-Vitense (U. Washington) and shared leadership (with H. Johnson/Univ. of Indiana) of large, international consortium study of carbon stars with HST. He has been involved in a multiple-cycle HST program to determine masses of Cepheid variables, published frequently-cited UV reference spectra for cool stars, obtained first measurements of turbulence and plasma downflows in the chromosphere of a cool giant star, and published a definitive summary of fluorescence in cool giant atmospheres (in collaboration with C. Jordan/Oxford U., England and S. Johansson/U. Lund, Sweden). He has also computed detailed, line-blanketed model atmospheres, including magnetic pressure, for upper main sequence stars to study effect of magnetic-field on structure and emergent spectrum and the degree to which line strength peculiarities in chemically peculiar stars can be explained without recourse to anomalous abundances.

Current Projects

HST Operations Project Scientist

Technology & Missions

Carpenter is currently the Operations Project Scientist for Hubble Space Telescope and provides scientific leadership, advice, guidance, and oversight to the Operations Project Manager and Staff, monitors budgeting activities as related to HST mission scientific requirements and participates in tradeoff decisions, monitors in-orbit performance of flight instruments & other spacecraft systems, provides scientific guidance in the assessment and resolution of spacecraft anomalies, supports the development of future science operations concepts, and oversees current STScI science operations.

Ground System Scientist for Roman Space Telescope

Technology & Missions

Carpenter is the Ground System Scientist for the Roman Space Telescope and supports mission concept and ground system design and implementation efforts via the GSFC Roman Project Science Office.

NIAC Fellow, leading the Artemis-enabled Stellar Imager (AeSI) Concept Study

Technology & Missions

Selected as a NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) Fellow 2024 to develop a mission concept for a lunar-based variant of Stellar Imager called the Artemis-enabled Stellar Imager (AeSI).

GSFC Lead Scientist for OpTIIX

Technology & Missions

Carpenter provides scientific guidance to the JPL/GSFC/JSC/STScI Optical Testbed and Integration on ISS eXperiment (OpTIIX) Team.

Principal Investigator, Stellar Imager (SI) Vision Mission

Technology & Missions

He is the Principal Investigator of the Stellar Imager (SI) Vision Mission Study - a concept for a large, space-based UV-optical interferometer designed to image the surfaces of nearby stars, probe their subsurface layers through asteroseismology (acoustic imaging), and improve our understanding of solar and stellar dynamos and thus our ability to predict solar/stellar activity and its effect on the habitability of planets, planetary climates, and life.

Principal Investigator, Fizeau Interferometer Testbed (FIT)

Technology & Missions

Carpenter led the Fizeau Interferometer Testbed (FIT) experiment, a ground-based laboratory testbed located at GSFC. This testbed developed and tested algorithms for closed-loop control of actuated multi-element (7-20) sparse aperture systems, using feedback from Phase Diversity analysis of the combined beams - a critical technology for future long-baseline Fizeau Interferometers and Sparse Aperture Telescopes.

GHRS Investigation Definition Team Co-I for Science Operations

Technology & Missions

Previously, Carpenter was GHRS (Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph) Investigation Definition Team Co-Investigator for Science Operations and guided GHRS Operations Development, Science Verification/Guaranteed Time Observer science program implementation, and helped ensure the high science productivity of the GHRS when it was installed on HST.


B.A. (Astronomy) Wesleyan University - 1976 Cum laude
M.A. (Astronomy) Wesleyan university - 1977
Ph.D. (Astronomy) Ohio State University - 1983
Ph.D. Thesis: "A Study of Magnetic, Line-Blanketed, Model Atmospheres"

Professional Societies

International Astronomical Union

Member of IAU Commission 29 (Stellar Spectra), Organizing Committee - Commission 29, Commission 44 (Space & High Energy Astrophyics), and Commission 54 (Optical & Infrared Interferometry)

1988 - Present

American Astronomical Society


1977 - Present


NASA Awards:

Selected as a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Fellow, Jan. 2024

GSFC Astrophysics Science Division Peer Award 2012: For demonstrating timely and dedicated professionalism to both the Astrophysics Science Division and Goddard Space Flight Center (by providing Scientific Leadership and Guidance to the OpTIIX Project)

Special Act Award-Individual (Outstanding Oversight of HST

Operations Project, leading to the success of SM4), August 2009

Performance Award, August 2009

JSC Group Achievement Award/STS-125 STOCC Team, July 2009

Special Act Award-Individual (HST SM4 Prep.), August 2008

Twenty Year Service Award, August 2008

Special Act Award (Stellar Imager/Fizeau Interf. Testbed Dev.), May 2006

Outstanding Teamwork--HST Robotic Serv./De-Orbit Mission Team, 2005

Fifteen Year Service Award, August 2003

Performance Award, March 2002

JSC Group Achievement Award HST SM3b, March 2002

Group Achievement Award--HST SM3a Team, Sept. 2000

National Resource Award--HST SM2, Feb. 1999

Special Act Award, Sept. 1998

Ten Year Service Award, August 1998

Performance Award, June 1998

Performance Award, 1996

Group Achievement Award--SL9 Jupiter Impact Observation Team, 1996

Quality Increase Award, 1995

Performance Award, 1994

Special Act Grp. Award--HST Continuous Process Improvement Team, 1994

Group Achievement Award--HST First Servicing Mission Science Team, 1994

Quality Increase Award, 1992

Certificate of Outstanding Performance, 1992

Special Act Award (GHRS/MAMA), April 1992

Certificate of Outstanding Performance 1991, Oct. 1991

Group Achievement Award (GHRS Development Team), March 1991

Performance Award, March 1991

Special Act or Service Award (GHRS Development Team), Sept. 1990

Viking (Mission to Mars) Internship, 1976

Other Awards:

Certificate of Appreciation, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 2008

The Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship, 1982-83

Franklin B. Littell Prize for Astronomy, Wesleyan University 1976

National Merit Scholarship, 1972-76

State of Connecticut Scholar, 1972

Other Professional Information

70 Refereed Papers
93 Other Major Publications and Review Talks
80 Abstracts of Meeting Presentations