Morrow Becomes Acting Director of Goddard Space Flight Center

Morrow Becomes Acting Director of Goddard Space Flight Center

George Morrow will become Acting Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center tomorrow, succeeding Chris Scolese who is taking the helm of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  Morrow has worked at Goddard for most of the past four decades and has been Deputy Director since 2015.

George Morrow, incoming Acting Director, Goddard Space Flight Center. Credit: NASA

A chemical engineer, Morrow joined Goddard in 1983 as the Lead Spacecraft Battery Systems Engineer in the Space Power Applications Branch. He worked on prominent programs including Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Landsat, Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), whose scientific results earned Nobel Prizes for John Mather and George Smoot.

Hubble became a focus of his career in the 1990s serving in positions including Deputy Project Manager of HST Flight Systems and Servicing Project and Deputy Associate Director of HST Flight Projects.

From 1998-2001, he was Project Manager for one of the three Earth Observing System (EOS) spacecraft, Aqua (then called EOS-PM).  After that he left NASA and worked in the private sector for two years, returning to Goddard in 2003 where his responsibilities grew and he became Director of Flight Projects at the Center in 2007.  In 2015, he was chosen to be Deputy Center Director.

Morrow has a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Engineering Administration from George Washington University. He is the recipient of many awards including the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious service, the NASA Exceptional Service Award, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and Goddard Robert C. Baumann Award for Mission Success.

Goddard is best known for its main campus in Greenbelt, MD, but it also manages Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, VA; the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, TX; the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, WV; and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City.  It also manages operations of NASA’s Space Network of Tracking and Data Relay satellites in Earth orbit and their ground stations in White Sands, NM and Guam.

Named after Robert H. Goddard, the father of American rocketry, the Center was established in 1959.  Goddard employs approximately 3,000 civil servants and 6,000 on-site contractors with a budget of about $3.7 billion plus another $1.5 billion in reimbursable work for other agencies, especially NOAA.

Scolese was nominated by President Trump to be NRO Director in February.  After confirmation hearings by the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, he was confirmed by the Senate on June 27.  He is the first Senate-confirmed NRO Director, pursuant to the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act.  Previous Directors were appointed.  He succeeds Betty Sapp, who retired earlier this year.  NRO builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites.


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