Example Profile

Senior Staff Scientist
Nicolas Flagey headshot

Since joining STScI late in 2020, Dr Nicolas Flagey has been dedicated to the commissioning of the Webb Space Telescope's Optical Telescope Element (OTE). His role in the Wavefront Sensing and Control (WFSC) Software Subsystem (WSS) Team is to "Shadow" the role of the WSS operator. This role is critical in that it covers multiple aspects of the OTE commissioning: review visit files and observation plan, perform quicklook data quality checks of images, check for "tilt event", and perform the data analysis in parallel with WSS.

Before that, Dr Flagey was one of the core members of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Project Office since 2015. MSE is the 11m aperture telescope fully dedicated to highly multiplexed visible and near-infrared spectroscopic surveys that is expected to replace and transform the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). In his role of System and Operations Scientist, Dr Flagey was the key element at the interface between the science team and the engineering team, worldwide distributed. He was responsible for many aspects in the development of the project, from system budgets closely related to scientific capabilities (e.g., throughput, noise, fiber injection efficiency), to operations concept and staffing, to management of several work packages with the international partners (e.g. spectrographs, operations software).

Dr Flagey obtained his PhD on 2008 on the topic of interstellar dust properties and evolution, at the Université de Paris XI and the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France. His early-career research was focused on infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope and he naturally joined the Spitzer Science Center (SSC) in Caltech as a postdoctoral researcher. He then joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to pursue his scientific interest with the Herschel Space Observatory. At SSC and JPL, with Spitzer, Herschel, and other projects that would later become SPHERE-X and the Roman Space Telescope, Dr Flagey was offered opportunities to participate in astronomical space endeavors much bigger that his own research. Slowly but surely, he dedicated more of his time to contributing to these missions by developing his expertise on the ground too. Once in Hawaii, at the Institute for Astronomy, he volunteered is time to CFHT, becoming an additional "resident astronomer" there and later officially joining the observatory and the MSE project.


PhD in Astronomy, Université de Paris XI and Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale
MS in Astronomy, Université de Paris XI / Observatoire de Paris-Meudon / Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan
BS in Physics, Université de Paris XI / Observatoire de Paris-Meudon / Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan
Agrégation de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan / Education Nationale de France


Science Interests:

  • Dust in our Galaxy and Beyond
  • Interstellar and Circumstellar Medium
  • Infrared Images and Spectra


Research Topics: Interstellar Medium, Dust


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8763-1555


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