Steve Cheston understood that as humanity becomes a spacefaring civilization we inevitably will take our social institutions, interactions, and problems with us. In many ways, his life illustrates the range and depth of his commitment to assist our cosmic evolution.
Dr. Cheston was born in Buffalo, NY and lived as a child in Latin America, where his father worked for U.S. Steel. Dr. Cheston later served in the Peace Corps in Colombia, forging lifelong friendships as he assisted in developing agricultural cooperatives.
He was a graduate of Clark University and received a doctorate in Russian History from Georgetown University. Dr. Cheston's academic career kept him at Georgetown from 1972 to 1983 as assistant dean, associate dean, and acting dean of the graduate school, as well as history research professor.
While at Georgetown, Dr. Cheston's interest in, and influence over, the emerging field of space utilization reached a peak. Present and contributing at the creation of almost all of the significant new space organizations arising in the mid-1970s, he became the person in Washington whose judgement guided a new generation of entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and academics.
His space related activities included: founding the Institute for the Social Science Study of Space; serving as a director of the Space Studies Institute (Princeton); editing a series of journals and books on space utilization; testifying before Congress; participating as a delegate at the World Radio Conferences of the International Telecommunications Union; and membership on the industry advisory committee of the Federal Communications Commission.
One of Steve's most enduring contributions to the field of space utilization was inspiring and tutoring many who shared his interests and vision. He was always available to counsel, instruct, or simply enjoy the friendship of the constant stream of students arriving at his doorstep.
Dr. Cheston successfully made the transition from academia to industry in 1983 when he co-founded Geostar Corporation, a pioneering venture in satellite positioning systems. In 1991 he joined Motorola Corporation's satellite division, ultimately rising to director of international government affairs for Motorola's innovative Iridium venture.
Steve's wife, Arleen, and two sons Aric and Thor, chose the Celestis service for Steve knowing that he would follow his close friend, Dr. Gerry O'Neill, into Earth orbit. It is altogether fitting that these two pioneers of the modern space age are symbolically linked and honored as they travel through the heavens together.