John Mankins is a member of the technical staff in the Office of Space Flight at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He is currently serving as the Manager of Advanced Concepts Studies for the Human Exploration and Development of Space Strategic Enterprise, including studies of space solar power, highly reusable space transportation, and affordable human exploration approaches.
John Mankins is the creator of several innovative concepts, including the "MagLifter" electromagnetic launch assist system, the Internet-based NASA "Virtual Research Center", and the "SunTower" space solar power system.
During 1994-1996, John Mankins was the Manager of Adanced Concepst Studies for the Office of Space Access and Technology. In 1993-1994, he served as the Manager of the Aerospace Industry Technology Program (AITP), a cooperative agreement-based, industry-led, industry-NASA technology research and development program. In 1990-1991, he was the chief architect and author of the NASA Integrated Technology Plan, developed in response to the Report of the Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program (the so-called "Augustine Committee"). In previous years, John Mankins managed NASA's Pathfinder and Exploration Technology Programs, focusing on research and technology for human and robotic deep space exploration. Before coming to NASA, he held a variety of positions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including serving as technologist for the Systems Division, manager for Space Station Requirements Analysis at JPL, and Manager for Mars Rover and Sample Return pre-Project technology requirements.