WASHINGTON — NASA’s program managers for the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket and its Orion deep-space crew capsule will become the deputy directors of the two field centers in charge of those marquee projects, the agency announced this week.
Mark Geyer, who has managed Orion since 2007, will become deputy director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston in mid-September, NASA announced Aug. 24. He will succeed Kirk Shireman, who was named the new manager of the International Space Station program earlier this month.
JSC, NASA’s human spaceflight hub, employs about 14,000 civil servants and contractors on a $5.1 billion annual budget.
Meanwhile, SLS Program Manager Todd May will become the new deputy director for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, following the retirement of current deputy director Teresa Vanhooser, according to an Aug. 25 note posted to Marshall’s website.
Vanhooser, a 35-year NASA veteran who has been deputy director since 2012, will retire this month, NASA said.
May, who has been with NASA for 24 years, now becomes second in command of a center with a $2.5 billion annual budget that employs about 6,000 civil servants and contractors. Marshall has been NASA’s main rocket-development center since the beginning of the space age.
SLS is slated to make its maiden flight in 2018, when it will carry an empty Orion to a distant lunar retrograde orbit. The same stack will fly with a crew to the same orbit in 2021.