REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Army Capt. Lawrence Hoffman will be aiming high with some of the Air Force’s and Space Force’s best and brightest at the Air Force’s Test Pilot School Space Test Course.
Hoffman was recently selected for the course, becoming the only member of the Army selected to attend the course in 2023. He said he feels incredibly fortunate to be selected.
“I know attending this course will give me an incredibly unique perspective that only a small number of Army officers have achieved,” Hoffman said.
“The course is designed to train space professionals on conducting full-spectrum tests and evaluation of space-domain mission systems as well as domain science topics such as orbital mechanics and the space environment,” Hoffman said. “With a passion for the technical side of operations and a deep love for all things space related, I couldn’t think of a better course for me to attend, both personally and professionally.”
Hoffman said he is looking forward to honing his technical skills as a space professional.
“The areas of previous jobs that I enjoyed the most were the ones that had me troubleshooting and operating systems and equipment with a hands-on approach,” Hoffman said.
Growing up, he loved watching programs about the art and science of space exploration from educators, such as Bill Nye, Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. But it was not until he read “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking in high school that he truly got into space.
”I’ve had a passion for space and scientific discovery for as long as I can remember,” said Hoffman. “I obviously didn’t understand any of the math or science at the time, but even as a kid there was such an intriguing mystery to the expansive size of the universe. I think that really influenced my interests.”
Hoffman also had a lot of military influence growing up, leading to him joining the Army, he said.
“My dad and both my grandfathers were Army officers,” Hoffman said. “While I was never pushed by any to join the Army, I was encouraged to do things that were challenging, and a military career just seemed like it made the most sense for me.”
These influences led Hoffman to major in physics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Hoffman commissioned in 2014 and was an infantry officer until becoming eligible to transfer to space operations.
“Becoming an FA40 made the most sense to me for my desired career path,” Hoffman said.
He is currently an Army fellow working as a mission integrator manager at SpaceX as part of the Army’s Training with the Industry program, and he said he is enjoying it.
“Five months into a 12-month program, it has been an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience working in one of the most advanced and fast-paced aerospace companies in the world,” Hoffman said. “I am surrounded by the most talented and hardworking aerospace engineers in the world.
He hopes to apply the knowledge and skills he gained from his time at SpaceX at the Test Pilot School Space Test Course, Hoffman said.
As he continues on in his career, Hoffman said his greatest aspiration is to become an Army astronaut.
“For me it seems like the best of both worlds to continue to serve the United States as an Army officer but to also fulfill a dream that I’ve had my whole life,” Hoffman said. “I understand becoming an astronaut, especially while in the Army, is incredibly rare and at best improbable. My belief is this: if I set up my career to even come close to eligibility for astronaut selection, I’ve probably had a successful career regardless of where I end up.”