MIT Engineer Dava Newman Nominated as NASA Deputy Administrator

MIT Engineer Dava Newman Nominated as NASA Deputy Administrator

President Obama has nominated Dava Newman to be the new NASA Deputy Administrator.  The post has been vacant since Lori Garver left in September 2013.

Newman is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT and is perhaps best known for her design of spacesuits specifically for use on Mars.  She explains the theories behind the design in a YouTube video posted in 2011.

In a press release issued by MIT, Newman calls her nomination “very exciting, and an enormous honor” adding that NASA has a “clear vision” with Mars as the destination in its long term plan.  She is very familiar with NASA’s current challenges in the human spaceflight arena having served as a member of the Technical Panel of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) “Pathways” report on the future of human spaceflight released this summer.  She is also a member of the NRC’s Space Studies Board.

MIT’s Dr. Dava Newman.  Photo Credit:  MIT.

In addition to her duties as an engineering professor, she is director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, Director of the MIT Portugal Program, co-director of the Man-Vehicle Laboratory at MIT, and a Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences and Technology faculty member.  She has a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and two S.M.’s (one in aeronautics and astronautics, the other in technology and policy) and a Ph.D. (in aerospace biomedical engineering) from MIT.

Her nomination must be approved by the Senate.  Congress returns on November 12.  Whether the Senate will have time to consider her nomination before the 113th Congress adjourns is unclear.  There are few legislative days remaining, but that hurdle is surmountable if both sides of the aisle agree.

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