Todd May
Todd May had been serving as acting director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center since mid-November. Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON — Less than six months after being named deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Todd May has won a promotion to center director, the agency announced Feb. 1.

May had been serving as acting director of the Huntsville, Alabama, center since Nov. 13, when the previous director, Patrick Scheuermann, retired to take a position in industry. May was the deputy director of the center at the time of Scheuermann’s retirement, a position he took only last August.

“He brings his expert program management and leadership skills and sense of mission to this new role, and I look forward to having him at the helm of Marshall,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement announcing the promotion of May to center director.

May is best known in the space community for serving as the original program manager for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket. May oversaw early development of the SLS, including completion of the vehicle’s critical design review last July.

May joined NASA in 1991 and served in a variety of positions, including work on the International Space Station program and Gravity Probe B, a NASA mission to study general relativity. He served as manager of NASA’s Discovery and New Frontiers planetary science mission programs, run at Marshall, and served as the center’s associate director, technical, prior to being tapped to lead SLS.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...