Bob Goss, Chief Engineer of the Flight Projects Directorate at NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been appointed to the government
Senior Executive Service.

As chief engineer, Goss is responsible for the technical success of several
key Marshall Center projects, including the International Space Station, Space
Station Environmental Control and Life Support Systems, Space Station Node modules,
Multi Purpose Logistics Module, Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support
Structure Carrier, and EXPRESS payload racks for the Space Station. He also
oversees various advanced projects still under study, including solar power
electrical stations in orbit that would provide power to the Earth by using
microwave transmission.

The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system that covers most of the
top managerial, supervisory and policy positions in the executive branch of
the federal government.

Goss came to NASA for the reasons many have — a fascination with the space
program and an intense curiosity about how things work.

“In third grade, I was very interested in rockets and missiles and test pilots,
as were a lot of other boys in the mid to late 1950s,”he said. “Three of us
started to get interested, and we were always looking for an opportunity to
give a report to the class about things like breaking the sound barrier and
rocket planes. I was good at math and science and decided to be an engineer.”

Goss began his NASA career in 1966 as a Cooperative Education Program student
in Marshall Center’s Aero-Astrodynamics Laboratory. After graduating from college,
he returned to Marshall in 1970 in the Analytical Aerodynamic Design Branch,
where he worked on Space Shuttle designs and other studies.

One of his most rewarding efforts was the development of a makeshift blanket
to shield the Skylab space station from the Sun after its own shield was accidentally
ripped off during launch. Goss’ job was to calculate the effect of the Apollo
spacecraft’s steering thrusters on the paper-thin shielding of the makeshift

“I have a lot of curiosity about a lot of things in nature, physics and chemistry,”
said Goss, recalling the challenges during his career. “I get a lot of satisfaction
about solving problems and helping people solve problems.”

Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, he worked on a variety of projects, such as
heavy-lift launch vehicles, space power generation, orbital transfer vehicles,
and space robotic servicing. Goss worked in the Space Station Project Office
from 1985 to 1989, and then became Mission Chief Engineer for the Spacelab-J
science mission aboard the Space Shuttle. Since that flight, he has held increasingly
challenging jobs in the Chief Engineer Office, leading to his selection as chief
engineer of the Flight Projects Directorate in 1997 and his leading technical
role in the Space Station program.

“The biggest technical challenge of the Space Station program is the “tremendous
number of interfaces you have to understand and making sure you meet all the
requirements of those interfaces,”Goss said. “You have to be careful your
design is safe, as well as successful.”

Goss is a native of Fort Myers, Fla. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace
engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He has completed
numerous executive and management-level training courses and has received several
awards, including the Silver Snoopy Award and the NASA Exceptional Achievement

Goss and his wife, Rose Ann, who works in the Marshall comptroller’s office,
live in Huntsville. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics and is a volunteer with Technology Assistance For Special Consumers
and the Huntsville Track Club.

The Marshall Center is NASA’s lead center for development of space transportation
and propulsion systems and advanced large optics manufacturing technology, as
well as microgravity research — scientific research in the unique low-gravity
environment inside the International Space Station and other spacecraft. The
Marshall Center also provided the Saturn V vehicle that took us to the Moon
and developed the propulsion systems on the Space Shuttle.