Melroy Officially Onboard at NASA

Melroy Officially Onboard at NASA

Col. Pam Melroy (Ret.) is now officially the Deputy Administrator of NASA. Confirmed by the Senate last week, she was sworn in during a ceremony at NASA on June 21. She joins two fellow former astronauts, Bill Nelson and Bob Cabana, at the top of the agency’s leadership.

An Air Force test pilot, Melroy joined the NASA astronaut corps in 1994.  She flew three space shuttle missions: pilot of STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and commander of STS-120 in 2007. She and Eileen Collins are the only two women to command space shuttle missions.

Pam Melroy is ceremonially sworn-in as the 15th NASA Deputy Administrator by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, as her husband, Doug Hollett, holds their family Bible, June 21, 2021, Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

After leaving NASA in 2009, Melroy served in leadership positions at Lockheed Martin; the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation; DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office; Nova Systems Pty, Australia; and as an advisor to the Australian Space Agency.

Nelson flew on a 1986 space shuttle mission, STS 61-C, as a payload specialist when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He and Melroy are political appointees. The third highest ranking position at NASA, Associate Administrator, is held by the agency’s top civil servant. Bob Cabana took on that role last month and is another former shuttle astronaut. He was the pilot of STS-41 (1990) and STS-53 (1992) and commander of STS-65 (1994)and STS-88 (1998).  He stayed at NASA after leaving the astronaut corps and was Director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center and most recently Kennedy Space Center.

In a statement, Melroy said “It is a joy to be back in the NASA family” and teamed with Nelson and Cabana. “We do have a lot of work to do, but it’s our intention not to just lead today’s NASA, but also lead us forward into the future and support the generations of fantastic things that NASA will continue to do.”

Nelson called it a “grand occasion for us! Pam is extremely skilled, experienced, and ready for this job.”

Melroy, 59, was nominated by President Biden on April 16 and confirmed by the Senate on June 17.  She is the fourth woman to serve as NASA Deputy Administrator.  Shana Dale was first during President George W. Bush’s second term while Mike Griffin was Administrator. Lori Garver and Dava Newman were Deputy Administrators during the first and second terms, respectively, of the Obama presidency while Charlie Bolden was Administrator.

One other NASA official is still waiting for Senate confirmation: Margaret Vo Schaus to be NASA’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  She was nominated by President Biden on April 22.  The NASA CFO slot is categorized as a “privileged nomination” that does not require committee action. It can be taken up directly by the Senate at any time. With a two-week recess coming up, it would not be surprising to see the Senate confirm a lot of nominations this week.

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