Blogs  |  10.29.2015

Kent Rominger Leadership Profile

Lisa Vernal, VP, Communications & Center Relations

Kent Rominger is Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Orbital ATK and the current Chairman of Challenger Center’s Board of Directors. A veteran of five spaceflights – three as pilot and two as commander – Rominger was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May of 2015.

Kent RomingerWho was your role model as a child? Alan Shepherd (first American in space) and Neil Armstrong.

What was your favorite subject in school and why? Advanced math was my favorite class, I had a very good instructor that challenged us.

Did you always want to be an astronaut? From the time I was five years old and flew in a small plane with my father, I wanted to be a pilot. It wasn’t until I was a Navy F-14 pilot that I set my sights on becoming an Astronaut.

What is your favorite memory as an astronaut? I loved being part of the entire NASA team that was responsible for Space Shuttle flights. I will never forget the first time I launched on Space Shuttle Columbia and all of the excitement that this first flight brought.

Why did you decide to get involved with Challenger Center? I decided to get involved when I was approached by a former Space Shuttle crewmate that was on the board of directors and explained what Challenger Center was all about. I immediately knew that this was something that I wanted to be part of!

Kent ProfileIn your opinion, why is STEM education so critical? I really believe that STEM education is key to the continued success of our nation on many fronts, including human space flight. Most traditional aerospace companies have a very old engineering work force, the majority of which will approach retirement age in the next five to seven years.

As we prepare for the 30th anniversary of the Challenger accident and organization’s 30th year, what do you think has been Challenger Center’s biggest success? I believe our biggest success is in the millions of young students that we have had the opportunity to excite about being a part of our space program.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in STEM subjects and want to pursue STEM-focused degrees and careers? I try to pass along the many exciting experiences that I have been afforded because I studied STEM subjects and it resulted in a very exciting and rewarding career.

What advice would you give to teachers and parents of students who are intimidated by math and science? I agree that math and science can be intimidating and that as adults we need to do our part to help students through their challenges with these subjects. Encouragement alone can be enough to transition students from being intimidated by math and science to enjoying these subjects.

More about Kent

What is your favorite food? Filet mignon

What do you like to do in your free time? I love to snow ski, water ski, dirt bike, fly light airplanes, spend time with my family

If you could have dinner with any 2 people, who would they be? President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush

Have you seen The Martian? If so, what did you think? I read the book and saw the movie. Both were outstanding and make me want to go to Mars more than ever!

What is your favorite U.S. city? Salt Lake City, Utah (where I currently live)

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Hawaii and Southern Colorado (where I grew up)

Read Kent’s Bio