Dr. Lu served as a NASA Astronaut for 12 years. He flew the Space Shuttle twice, the Russian Soyuz, and a 6 month tour on the International Space Station. Altogether he logged over 206 days in space and an EVA (spacewalk) totaling 6 hours and 14 minutes. Dr. Lu flew as a mission specialist on STS-84 in 1997, as a payload commander and lead spacewalker on STS-106 in 2000, as flight engineer of Soyuz TMA-2, and served as NASA ISS science officer and flight engineer on ISS Expedition-7 in 2003.
In 2003, in the weeks following the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Dr. Lu was called upon by NASA to launch to the International Space Station in order to maintain operations on orbit with a 2 person skeleton crew. He completed the Russian Soyuz training in just 9 weeks and became the first American to launch as the Flight Engineer aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko then spent 6 months aboard the ISS, demonstrating that the Space Station could be maintained while carrying on productive scientific research with just 2 people.
Recognitions in this twelve year NASA career include NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, as well as the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Russian Medal of Merit for Spaceflight, Gagarin Medal, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Komorov Medal, Beregovoy Medal and three (3) NASA Spaceflight medals.
Dr. Lu has served as a scientific advisor to the White House and NASA on space technology and policy issues. Dr. Lu also helped drive energy policy work for Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. In this role he testified before the US Congress on energy issues, and met with officials on both the Federal and State level to ensure that consumers are granted access to their own home energy use information. In addition, he has testified before both the US Senate and House of Representatives on aerospace issues. He recently served as a commissioner with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on US/China Relations.
From 2007 to 2010 Dr. Lu served as Program Manager for Advanced Projects at Google Inc. He was responsible for a diverse group of projects ranging from Google Street View imaging, book scanning technology, imaging for Google Maps/Earth, and energy projects including Google PowerMeter, an online tool for monitoring home energy usage.
Dr. Lu currently serves as an advisor to energy firms, and works with several entrepreneurial companies in Silicon Valley including Hover Inc and Liquid Robotics.
Dr. Lu has been an active research scientist working in the fields of solar physics, astrophysics, plasma physics, and planetary science. He held positions at the High Altitude Observatory, the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, and the Institute for Astronomy.
Dr. Lu is known for developing a number of new theoretical advances which have provided for the first time a basic understanding of the underlying physics of solar flares. He is also known as the co-inventor of the Gravity Tractor, a practical and controllable means of deflecting asteroids. He has published articles in peer reviewed journals on a wide range of topics including solar flares, cosmology, solar oscillations, statistical mechanics, plasma physics, and Near-Earth asteroids.
Dr. Lu’s continuing interest in asteroid deflection lead to formation of the nonprofit B612 Foundation for which he serves as Chairman and CEO. www.b612foundation.org
Dr. Lu received a PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.
Dr. Lu is a licensed commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings. He has over 1600 hours of flight time in aircraft ranging from aerobatic biplanes to supersonic jets. He is currently writing a book on his experiences aboard the International Space Station.