WASHINGTON — Astronaut Ellen Ochoa will replace Michael Coats as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston come January, the agency announced Nov. 16.

NASA also announced that Ramon Lugo, director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland since 2010, will be replaced by his deputy, James Free.

Ochoa, a four-flight veteran of the space shuttle program, has been Johnson’s deputy director since 2007. Coats, a former space shuttle commander and Lockheed Martin Space Systems executive, returned to NASA in 2005 to run Johnson.

Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. He was named senior staff writer in 2004, a position he held...