Mary Louise Cleave
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Environmental engineer; Government research agency administrator
Leadership, Policy, and Communications
Scientific, Cultural, and Nonprofit Leadership
Mary Cleave is an environmental engineer who served at NASA from 1980 to 2007, when she retired as Associate Administrator for Science. A veteran of two Atlantis space shuttle flights, Cleave flew as a mission specialist aboard STS-61B in 1985 and STS-30 in 1989, logging more than 10 days in space. In 1989 she deployed the Magellan Venus exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission since 1978, and the first planetary probe to be deployed from the Shuttle. Magellan has been one of NASA's most successful scientific missions providing valuable information about the Venusian atmosphere and magnetic field. She led the project that developed the first global measurement of plant life on Earth.