Marshall Space Flight Center Gets New Director

Marshall Space Flight Center Gets New Director

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson appointed Joseph Pelfrey as the new Director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL today. Pelfrey has been acting Center Director since Jody Singer retired last summer.

Joseph Pelfrey, Director, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Credit: NASA

Pelfrey began his NASA career in 2004 after working in industry developing space station payload hardware.

An aerospace engineer, his first assignment at Marshall was in the Science and Mission Systems office. He went on to leadership positions elsewhere at the Center in the International Space Station Program, the Marshall Engineering Directorate, and the SLS Spacecraft/Payload Integration and Evolution Office. He was manager of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Project at Marshall, manager of the Exploration and Space Transportation Development Office in the Flight Programs and Partnerships Office, and manager of Marshall’s Human Exploration Development and Operations Office.

He was appointed Deputy Center Director in 2022 and became Acting Center Director in July 2023.

In a statement, Nelson said “Joseph is a respected leader who shares the passion for innovation and exploration at NASA Marshall. As center director, he will lead the entire Marshall workforce, which includes a world-renowned team of scientists, engineers, and technologists who have a hand in nearly every NASA mission.”

A native of Cheraw, SC with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Auburn University, Pelfrey said: “We will continue to shape the future of human space exploration by leading SLS and human landing system development for Artemis and leveraging our capabilities to make critical advancements in human landing and cargo systems, habitation and transportation systems, advanced manufacturing, mission operations, and cutting-edge science and technology missions.”

With an annual budget of about $5 billion, Marshall is one of NASA’s largest centers and oversees a broad range of human spaceflight, technology development, and science programs. Among them are critical components of the Artemis campaign to return astronauts to the lunar surface including the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Human Landing Systems (HLS). Boeing is the prime contractor for SLS and the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, LA, where SLS is built, is managed by Marshall. HLS is being developed through Public-Private Partnerships with SpaceX and Blue Origin. NASA’s HLS program office is at Marshall. Among its myriad other responsibilities, the Center oversees NASA’s Discovery and New Frontiers planetary science programs, the Chandra X-ray telescope, and development of nuclear thermal propulsion technologies.

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