Harald Frey received his education in Germany and after 3 years in industry and 6 years at the Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial physics he joined SSL in 1997. Since he has been working on the detection and analysis of optical phenomena in near-Earth space using cameras on satellites and on the ground. He was the instrument scientist for the Far Ultraviolet imager on the NASA IMAGE mission that observed the aurora in response to external driving by the solar wind. He was the US project scientist for the Imager for Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning (ISUAL) which was a collaboration between the Taiwanese Space Program Office (SPO) and SSL to observe sprites, elves, halos, and gigantic jets from space. He is a co-investigator for the Ground-Based Observatories of the NASA THEMIS mission and instrument scientist for the Far Ultraviolet Imager on the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON).
Besides working at SSL as a research physicist Harald is also a senior fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS). He has co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and published 29 as first author.