Welcome Home, Clayton Anderson

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) & Aerospace Museum welcomes Clayton “Astro Clay” Anderson, Nebraska’s only NASA astronaut, as its president and chief executive officer.

Anderson started his new position at the beginning of May.

“The stars have aligned to have Nebraska’s first — and currently only — astronaut lead the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. Clay’s unique professional experiences align perfectly with the mission of the Museum,” said Gary Gates, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors. “One of the exhibits at the Museum is a celebration of Clay’s space exploration. We are very excited to have Clay’s visionary skillset at the helm of the organization.”

Anderson succeeds Jeffrey Cannon, who led the Museum since 2018. Cannon stepped down due to health reasons. Cannon’s tenure at the Museum includes advancing the Museum’s education efforts and the successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Succeeding in one of the most difficult and coveted jobs in the world, Anderson’s tenure at NASA spanned three decades. As an astronaut, he was a part of four space missions enabling him to spend 167 days in space, executing six spacewalks. Anderson retired from NASA in 2013. Anderson is a Professor of Practice at Iowa State University teaching intro to Aerospace Engineering for first-year students, including topics of the Space Environment, the History and Future of Space, Spacecraft Environmental Control Systems, Ethics, and Teamwork. He is also the author of five books, three written for children about space.

“The opportunity to come back home to Ashland, Nebraska, to lead the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum is the culmination of a career dedicated to space exploration and education. As we head toward the Museum’s 25th anniversary in 2023, I look forward to collaborating with communities throughout the region to tell the powerful story of Nebraska and America’s role in military command and its relationship with our nation’s aerospace exploration.” – Clayton Anderson

Anderson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Hastings College and received a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University. Throughout his career, he has earned numerous honors and awards including the Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Honor (2011); NASA Spaceflight Medal (2008, 2011); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2008, 2011); and Outstanding Alumnus at Iowa State University (2008) and Hastings College (2008) among other recognitions.

The Museum has exciting summer programs for students, families, flight enthusiasts, historians, and others. Helicopter Day is May 21, 2022, and visitors will see helicopters arrive, land, and the opportunity to visit with the pilots to learn more about the amazing machines. Registration is still open for a variety of Summer Camps, and programming includes aerospace, drones, gaming, weird science, robotics and more. Explore the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum’s webpage to learn more.