Erick Young, a widely recognized authority on infrared astronomy, is Science Mission Operations Director for SOFIA. Young, who specializes in designing science instruments, has participated in most of NASA's space infrared astronomy missions to date. Most recently, Young was responsible for developing the far-infrared detector arrays on the Spitzer Space Telescope’s Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). The instrument provided both imaging and spectroscopic data at far-infrared wavelengths. Young is the recipient of the George Van Biesbroeck Prize as well as five NASA Group Achievement Awards.
As SOFIA Science Mission Operations Director, Young directs, supervises, and provides technical and management guidance for the combined Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Deutsches SOFIA Institute (DSI) staff. He also manages the airborne observatory's equipment, instruments, support facilities, and infrastructure. As Director, Young is responsible for the overall scientific productivity of the facility, including the Guest Investigator program.