I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Francis through my non-profit Higher Orbits. Our goal with Higher Orbits is to inspire the next generation of STEMists & Explorers, and I can tell you first hand, Francis is great at this mission. His passion for spaceflight makes him an amazing speaker to students of all ages. His breadth of knowledge inspires so many wonderful questions and conversations. He is a pleasure to work with in all aspects and I hope to be able to collaborate with him much more in the future.
Michelle Lucas, President, Higher Orbits Foundation
Francis brings enthusiasm to everything he does. As an educator and author, he has excited people of all ages and experiences to learn more. I have seen firsthand how he makes people feel seen and included in the conversation. Francis has many more things in store and I can't wait to see what else he has to offer.
Kristine Khieu, Sally Ride Science Educator and Bioengineer
A dynamic person like you is essential to a not-for-profit. It takes talent like yours to make museums a great experience for so many people.
Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut: Board of Directors, Infinity Science Center
Francis French is one of the best science writers and communicators I've had the pleasure of working with and listening to. He's a genuine world-class expert on spaceflight/astronomy and aviation topics, as well as extremely knowledgeable about many other aspects of science, technology, and the natural world. He knows how to effectively communicate complex information to the public in a way that is both clear and has a strong sense of humanity. Francis is also an outstanding public speaker (both on stage and on screen), and is able to effectively convey important points in an entertaining way with a sense of humor.
I was very impressed by his diverse skill set, and at his breadth and depth of knowledge on a variety of subjects. Perhaps as importantly, he is also a genuine pleasure to work with.
Burke Burnett, Executive Secretary, Pacific Science Association
One word to describe Francis: synergistic. After working with him for several years, I witnessed how collaborative, creative, and knowledgeable he could be. He often went above and beyond with his ideas and efforts in areas far outside his department. Those efforts would help the organization as a whole - a skill that only great employees possess. I personally think working with him helped me grow and improve my own skills and I hope to work with him again in the future!
Jessica Packard, former Director of Marketing and Communications, San Diego Air & Space Museum
Francis has tremendous communications skills. His writing is clear, thoughtful, and engaging; his abilities as a public speaker are equally impressive. He is able to connect with an audience -- through both the written and spoken word -- and share his significant expertise in an accessible, entertaining, and captivating way. I've been fortunate to interact with Francis in a number of settings, and it's always been a valuable and enjoyable experience. He is an insightful expert, a passionate advocate, and an inspiring teacher.
Scott Gast, Senior Associate Counsel to the President, Office of White House Counsel
I consider you to be the premier writer and communicator on space. It's hard to describe how helpful "In the Shadow of the Moon" was to me during the research and writing of "Rocket Men." The ability to bring this stuff to life for the lay person is a rare one and you certainly did that for me from the start. Finding books like yours - so accurate, informative, and readable all at once - is a rarity, so I was grateful every day to have you by my side!
Robert Kurson, New York Times Bestselling author of “Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon”
What a joy to collaborate with Francis French! The arts education non-profit where I work, Classics 4 Kids, serves almost 30,000 elementary students, teachers and parent chaperones each year. Our STEAM music programs emphasize that arts and sciences curriculum has greater impact when taught together. Francis has twice-served as the on-stage educational expert, when the orchestral music was thematically based in astronomy (Bach to the Future) and aerospace (Music Takes Flight!). Francis effortlessly communicated the material to our audience of thousands of elementary students – genuinely maintaining their interest and seamlessly linking themes of our orchestra performances to related scientific content. Participating teachers and students have loved Francis’ presentations within our arts educational events and Classics 4 Kids was thrilled to work with him, bringing science and the arts to young students!
Jennifer DeMik, Director of Development, Classics 4 Kids
The San Bernardino County Museum covers every aspect of the enormous county, and the collection reflects the diversity of the region. Francis jumped in to overhaul the education classes and tours, giving each a thorough professional rewrite and aligning them to the current standards used in the school districts. This included subjects as diverse as histories of European settlers, local wildlife, archaeology, and programs related to special traveling exhibitions such as sharks. The programs needed an enormous overhaul and update, and Francis' dedication to the task gave them new life, allowing visiting students to have true educational experiences and connections to the subject. Francis created entirely new promotional methods within the museum to get the word to the right people about the program offerings, increasing attendance. He also created new talk series programming so that the scientists and others in the museum and locally could showcase their work to the public. It was transformational. He connected to local communities with tact and respect and drew them in to feel like the museum was their home. I have remained connected to his work ever since, and have seen him have a similar effect in every cultural institution he went on to transform. He is a vital force for change, bringing imagination, curiosity and insight to everything he does.
Wendy Sparks, former Director of Education and statewide education coordinator at multiple cultural institutions
From the start of his employment at the Fleet Science Center, I knew that Francis would make his mark! His passion for space science writing, his dedication to ensuring opportunities for diverse audiences in STEM, and his ‘get it done’ approach translated to new program opportunities for the agency reaching new audiences. Francis expanded the organization’s programming by engaging nationally known authors for book talks and signings. He successfully managed summer camp programs and coordinated a collaborative programming schedule with partner agencies, meeting the needs of families. Francis did this with a playful spirit and a thoughtful approach caring about those he worked with.
When I transitioned away from the informal education arena, I felt assured that Francis would carry on and was proud when he was named Director of Events for Sally Ride Science, and then Director of Education at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
To this day, I have no doubts that Francis will continue to make his mark!
Aly Evans, former Director of Education, Fleet Science Center
Francis is an absolutely bewitching public speaker. He is an active and enthusiastic participant in Nerd Nite San Diego (it's like TED Talks, but less pretentious) and his enthusiasm infects the entire crowd. He is a rare combination of intelligent and entertaining.
Not only are his talks well-presented, but they're accompanied by entertaining slides and well-timed jokes. Francis remains the only speaker to date who has made the audience at NNSD both laugh and cry in the same talk.
He is a true delight.
Lauren Chen, Founder of Nerd Nite San Diego (second-largest global presentation series, behind TED Talks)
Spacefest has been affiliated with Francis French since 2009, when we held our event in San Diego. He has exceptional knowledge in the space history field, and has become a regular on the Astronaut scene. I always look forward to seeing him, and chatting with him (he is hilarious). Not only is Francis dependable and generous, he is so uplifting and kind! He is a fantastic moderator, and is quick on his feet in front of an audience. He is receptive and keen on feeling out everybody's energy. Most of all, he is always willing to give suggestions and help better everything he is involved with!
Kelsey Poor, Head of the annual Spacefest conference
I've had the pleasure of knowing Francis for about 5 years. In that time I have learned what a gifted writer he is and what a wealth of knowledge of space history he possesses. He has also been very encouraging and shared some great ideas for education and development with me. His personality is very charismatic, reliable, honest and thoughtful. As a speaker and educator, his presence reaches out and fills a room in a very inviting way. He's a storyteller, and a very good one, so he easily captures your attention. If you are considering him for an event, a workshop, etc... you will be making a wise choice!
Amy Young, Event Coordinator, Operations and Social Media Manager at The Space Station Museum
I met Francis when we both worked in Balboa Park at different institutes as Education Directors. He worked for the Air and Space Museum and I worked for the San Diego Art Institute. Francis is incredibly knowledgeable about science and space, but he is also quite informed on contemporary art. He was a guest curator for an exhibit at the San Diego Art Institute and has written articles of formal critique on art shows. He has offered critiques of my work as an artist which I found to be very insightful. He is informed in contemporary art trends and movements as well as art history. This blend of knowledge in science and art make him a unique educator. His passion for both of these fields show in the exemplary quality of his work.
Sheena Rae Dowling, contemporary artist and art educator
Francis is one of those rare speakers who manages to translate his passion and deep knowledge of spaceflight without ever speaking down to his audience. He’s passionate about getting history right, always educates with humour, and is unquestionably a trusted authority in all things space history. He's also one of the kindest collaborators; I admired his work as an author before beginning my own professional career and he's been an incredible and generous colleague and friend helping a young author.
Amy Shira Teitel, The Science Channel
Throughout my long time as an official of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, I have always kept a close look on the development of international co-operation in space. For many years, I was covering US manned spaceflight for Germany’s aerospace monthly Fliegerrevue, and I have been involved in the editorial work of two TV documentaries on the space race and the history of Soviet spaceflight in the 90s. I have known Francis French since he was a teenager, and his earliest magazine articles covering little-known moments in space history. His subsequent bestselling books and speaking engagements, and unique interviews with many of the original spacefarers, Russian, European and American, make his work invaluable to the field of history. In a highly technical field, he added the social dimension to spaceflight. This allowed him to capture a whole new audience now that spaceflight has almost become a part of daily life.
Jürgen Esders, Officer of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission
Francis is an expert on spaceflight and related fields and a scholar of spaceflight history. He is also a lively and highly entertaining public speaker - actually one of my favorite speakers in the spaceflight field, and that is really saying something! I've had the pleasure of working with Francis at numerous public events and I have seen him present multiple times. He is always a consummate professional who engages very well with his audience. Highly recommended.
Geoffrey Notkin, Emmy Award-winning television personality
There are only a few writers who truly know the history and development of spaceflight, and even fewer who can speak on the subject with wit and presence. If you have read any of his books, collaborations or solo work, or seen any of his presentations, you already know. If not, you should. In addition to being able to communicate the fantastic experience of spaceflight, he is a dedicated educator and scholar. Read him, hear him, hire him.
Michael Cassutt, acclaimed book author and television writer
Francis is a highly gifted communicator both via live presentations and writing. His numerous books have become authoritative references for many aspects of the human spaceflight efforts of the space age, and his live presentations are highly sought. He is highly telegenic, and appears on television regularly to comment on spaceflight topics. Additionally, his experience in educational outreach gives him valuable insights into STEM and general education communication issues. My professional interactions with Francis have included general and technical editing on my own books, and his input has been invaluable. A highly recommended partner in all his professional roles.
Rod Pyle, Senior Editor, Ad Astra Magazine
I have been honored to have known Francis for several years as a friend and colleague. He is great at encouraging other writers and historians in their work, and always is there to offer constructive comments and advice regarding projects. His priceless encouragement has aided me in getting many writing projects off the ground. Francis is a well-respected, much appreciated member of the spaceflight community.
Emily Carney, author and historian
Francis is a well-known space historian, educator and author. He is both authoritative and passionate about his chosen subject. His books possess technical depth, a flair for history, and a warm human insight. Francis has a gift for communication and is a able and funny public speaker, who illuminates his subject and brings others gracefully into the conversation.
Keith Haviland, Film Producer