Monday, October 22, 2007

Dr Miriam Baltuck: Director, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Dr Miriam Baltuck is Director of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC), a NASA facility managed by O.

The CDSCC is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network, a set of three facilities spaced equally around the Earth to allow constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates. The network supports interplanetary spacecraft missions, radio and radar astronomy observations and Earth-orbiting missions.

Dr Baltuck has been honoured by the designation of Minor Planet Baltuck.

O Materials Science and Engineering manages NASA activities in Australia on behalf of the Australian Government. The CDSCC is their largest undertaking.

O enters into contracts with Australian industry for the necessary staff and infrastructure while NASA provides all funds associated with the operation of the CDSCC.

The function of the CDSCC is covered by a treaty-level agreement between the governments of the US and Australia.


Dr Baltuck became Director of the CDSCC in 2006.

Prior to that, she was Director of University Advancement at the Australian National University, in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.

From September 2001-April 2005, Dr Baltuck pioneered a position in Australia as Science and Technology Advisor at the US Embassy in Canberra, assisting US organisations in developing cooperative activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Prior to this, from mid-1997, she had been NASA's Attaché at the US Embassy in Canberra. Her duties included pursuit of cooperation in NASA Programs with Australia, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.

Prior moving to Australia in 1994, Dr Baltuck was seconded to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to chair twenty-five federal agencies in the development of a National Earthquake Loss Reduction Strategy, which was forwarded for implementation to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1995.

In 1986 Dr Baltuck joined NASA to manage NASA’s Solid Earth and Natural Hazards Branch. While in this assignment she secured resources for 11 new flight projects including the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), considered the most universally useful Shuttle flight in NASA’s history.

Dr Baltuck has also been Professor of Geology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Paris, France, and worked on the US Deep Sea Drilling Project.

Her graduate work included geologic field mapping, blue water oceanographic research cruises and laboratory geochemical analyses.

Academic qualifications

Dr Baltuck has been awarded a:

Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Michigan, USA

Doctorate in Earth Sciences by the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, USA, in 1982.


Dr Baltuck's achievements include:

minor planet 5701 designated Baltuck, in 2005

US Department of State Superior Honor Award for outstanding successful negotiations for the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement in 2004

NASA Office of External Relations Director Award, 2003-1998 (each year, inclusive)

Royal Aeronautical Society (Australian Division) Lawrence Hargrave Medal, for presentation on Living in Space in 2001

Australian National Press Club Telstra Medal for presentation on Life Beyond Earth; NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program in 2000

Outstanding Annual Performance Appraisals across 1990-97 - highest possible rating every year this system was applied while a US civil servant

NASA Office of Mission to Planet Earth Director’s Award in 1997 and 1996

NASA Group Achievement Award - NASA Science Institutes Planning Team in 1996

US Government Senior Executive Service certification awarded in 1995

NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, for leadership as SIR-C and SRTM Program Scientist 1995

Director Performance Award, twice in 1994

Selection into first cadre of NASA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program participants (58 selected out of 1 100 applicants) in 1993

LAGEOS II Program Scientist certificate of accomplishment in 1993

Group Achievement Award (LAGEOS--Laser Geoscience Satellite) in 1992.

Learn about the facility: Canberra: NASA Deep Space Complex (ACT).