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flag Maj. Steven J. Butow,
Research Scientist SETI Institute
Senior Pilot, U.S. Air Force (ACC)


Last updated: October 2002
E-mail: Steve.Butow [at] CAMOFF.ANG.AF.MIL

Brief Biographical Information:

Major Steve Butow began his flying career with the United States Air Force in 1986. He was selected as a pilot candidate in 1988 and completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, Texas, in 1990. Today, he is a Senior Pilot with 2000 flying hours, which includes 1600 hours in the HC-130 and 200 hours in the T-38. He is presently assigned to the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard at Moffett Federal Airfield, California, under the Air Combat Command (ACC).

During his tenure with the 129 RQW, he has deployed in support of numerous worldwide operations including Desert Storm, Southern Watch and Provide Comfort. As an Aircraft Commander, he is well versed in planning long range international missions requiring diplomatic clearances. His Air Force decorations include the Air Medal for the first long range overwater rescue mission flown with Night Vision Goggles, two Aerial Achievement Medals earned in southwest Asia, and numerous commendations. He is the recipient of the Air Force Association's T.E. Ford OUtstanding Oficer Award and is a co-recipient of the 1987 Pizenbarger Trophy. Most recently, he was acknowledged by the 12th Air Force Inspector General as an outstanding performer during a recent Operational Readiness Inspection.


In 1992, he began his career at NASA Ames Research Center as a student research assistant to Dr. Friedemann Freund of the Space Science Division. This work was funded by grants received from the National Science Foundation and the IBM Almaden Research Center through San Jose State University. He continued to work on the design and development of instrumentation for Mars surface investigations, and the study of Mars mineral analogs by means of Charge Distribution Analysis (CDA) under the Planetary Instrumentation Design and Development Program (PIDDP).

Steve Butow is working towards an advanced degree in Physics and Physical Chemistry at San Jose State University. He is presently employed by the SETI Institute as a Research Scientist in support of Leonid MAC.

Research on Leonid MAC:

Since July of 1998, Steve Butow has been the logistics officer of the NASA and USAF sponsored Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign, working with Dr. Peter Jenniskens. During the mission, he provides overall coordination and technical support for camera operation for the overall documentation and imaging of meteors. Publications include several review articles of the Leonid MAC missions and work on meteor influx and meteoroid stream dynamics.

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