Dr. Daniel Baker


In his role as LASP’s director, Dan is responsible for setting and implementing policy regarding its scientific, technical, and educational mission. He has led the largest research institute at CU Boulder since 1994.

Dan simultaneously serves as a professor in three University of Colorado Boulder departments, including Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, Physics, and Aerospace Engineering Sciences. He conducts research in space instrument design, space physics data analysis, and magnetospheric modeling, with a primary research interest in plasma physical and energetic particle phenomena in planetary magnetospheres and in the Earth’s vicinity. In total, Dan has published more than 900 papers in the refereed literature and has edited nine books on topics in space physics.

Dan is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dan is currently an investigator on several NASA space missions, including the Geospace Dynamics Constellation, the Magnetospheric MultiScale mission, the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, and the Van Allen Probes mission.

Gary Henry

Gary Henry

Interim Associate Director for Finance and Operations

Gary leads LASP’s administrative division, which includes human resources, financial management, contracts and compliance, and facilities and operations. Collectively, these departments provide crucial support for the institute’s development of new technologies and approaches to space science. Gary brings more than three decades of experience in operations, major system acquisition, contracting, and program management for federal agencies, state government, and the aerospace industry.  He previously served as a senior level Air Force officer in a variety of command and staff leadership roles.  Prior to coming to LASP, Gary was the Asst Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of the Office of Contracts and Grants for CU Boulder.  Gary will be working concurrently as the Asst Vice Chancellor for Research Management under CU Boulder’s Research & Innovation Office.

Dr. Frank Eparvier

Associate Director for Science

As LASP’s lead scientist, Frank manages the institute’s portfolio of scientific research projects and programs and 175 scientists. Because the external environment in which LASP operates is continually changing, Frank works to recognize these changes and to help understand what the implications are so the institute remains competitive and the research. Prior to his current role, Frank worked as a LASP researcher for more than 25 years. He’s an expert in measuring the Sun’s output of light energy and has served as the principal investigator for the EXIS instruments aboard the NOAA GOES constellation of weather satellites. He earned a Ph.D. from CU Boulder in 1991 and is the author or co-author on 75 publications.

Credit: Stephanie Eddy photography

Dr. Pamela Millar

Director of Strategic Development and Communications

Pam oversees LASP’s technology and business development and communications teams to enable growth by strategically identifying, assessing, and implementing ongoing and new research opportunities with federal agencies and the commercial space sector. Before joining LASP, Pam worked for three decades at NASA, including five years as the director of the Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) within the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters. She previously served as the program manager for three ESTO programs and as the head of the Laser Remote Sensing Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She has multiple degrees in electrical engineering, including a doctorate from Rice University, and has fostered a community of women scientists and engineers through workshops and mentoring throughout her career.

Thomas Sparn

Director of Engineering

As the leader of LASP’s engineering division, Tom oversees 48 active flight programs and the  250 professional and student engineering employees. After beginning his career at LASP as the flight dynamics lead on NASA’s Solar Mesosphere Explorer, he worked as a senior manager at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He rejoined LASP in 1997 and has since served as the program manager on numerous NASA projects, including SORCE, TSIS, and CLARREO before assuming his current role. Tom has a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and has received numerous honors, including a NASA Agency Honor Award and the Robert H. Goddard Award for TSIS-1.

Chris Pankratz. Credit: LASP/Stephanie Eddy Photography

Chris Pankratz

Director of Mission Operations and Data Systems

Chris leads LASP’s mission operations and data systems division, a group of 150 professionals and students responsible for LASP’s space mission and instrument operations and data handling systems. The division operates NASA and non-NASA spacecraft and CubeSats, plus more than 140 instruments with valuations exceeding $1 billon. Chris brings more than 30 years of engineering, science, management, operations, and data processing and analysis experience. This includes at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and at LASP, where he has served as the data systems department head since 2005. He has managed numerous mission operations and data center implementation efforts, including for SORCE, AIM, and MMS.