Professor Stamatios Krimigis is turning his attention to his homeland after being appointed at the helm of the recently established Hellenic Space Agency in Athens.
The head emeritus of the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University’s Space Department and at NASA in the United States, he will be playing a key role over the next two years in developing an agency that unites the various state agencies under the one new body.
Despite being a significant role, the professor admits that it took him some time to agree to the Greek government’s invitation to come on board.
“I wanted certain assurances that the principles I have described will be respected and applied,” Professor Krimigis told Kathimerini.
“Another reason I agreed was that many of my colleagues here (in Greece) asked me to help in this new endeavour and I felt it was something I had to do. This is not an opportunity that comes around again.”
Born on the island of Chios, the professor commenced his tertiary studies in the United States at the University of Minnesota and completed his postgraduate degree at the University of Iowa, where he also did his PhD.
With a career that spans 50 years, he has played a pivotal role in space exploration thanks to the many instruments he has designed; his first successful mission saw the launch of the Mariner 4 spaceship for flyby exploration in 1964 to Mars.
Passionate about the field, during this time he has also been a big advocating for Greece’s involvement into the space science market since the 1980s, and says that it is the duty of all political parties to support the effort.
“We’re not trying to build a spaceship. It is technology that is also important to the country’s security and this is the only way that we can acquire it. Our eastern neighbours figured this out 20 years ago.”