NASA Space Technology Chief Leaving for Ball Aerospace

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WASHINGTON — NASA space technology chief Michael Gazarik is moving to Boulder, Colorado, to lead technology development efforts at spacecraft builder Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Gazarik, an electrical engineer who has spent the past 11 years at NASA including the past two years as associate administrator for space technology, is slated to begin as director of Ball’s Office of Technology effective March 2.

“Mike is extraordinarily respected in the technology community and Ball feels fortunate to have landed someone with his background and knowledge,” Ball Aerospace President Robert Strain, who spent four years as director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center before joining Ball in 2012, said in a statement announcing Gazarik’s hiring. “For nearly 60 years, Ball has been known as a leader for technical innovation and we anticipate Mike’s expertise will add to that legacy.”

Here’s Ball’s full press release on the company’s newest NASA hire:

Ball Aerospace Names Michael Gazarik as Technology Director

BOULDER, Colo.Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has hired Michael Gazarik as Director for its Office of Technology on the Boulder campus effective March 2.

Dr. Gazarik will lead the alignment of Ball’s technology development resources with business development and growth strategies.

“Mike is extraordinarily respected in the technology community and Ball feels fortunate to have landed someone with his background and knowledge,” said Ball Aerospace President, Robert Strain. “For nearly 60 years, Ball has been known as a leader for technical innovation and we anticipate Mike’s expertise will add to that legacy.”

Gazarik joins Ball following an 11-year career with NASA. He has over 25 years’ experience in the design, development, and deployment of spaceflight systems. He has contributed to the development of technology with application to NASA’s exploration, space operations and science missions. His most recent role has been the Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters where he led NASA’s rapid development and incorporation of transformative technologies that enable the Agency’s missions, and address the Nation’s aerospace community’s most difficult challenges.

While at NASA, Gazarik supported Ball’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission, a non-toxic propellant technology demonstration scheduled to launch in 2016, because it has the potential to revolutionize how we travel to, from and in space.

Earlier in his career, Gazarik served as deputy director for programs at NASA’s Langley Research Center in the Engineering Directorate. Prior to joining NASA, Gazarik served as project manager for the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. He also led the development of the Airborne Sounder Testbed-Interferometer, an instrument that helps scientists understand temperature and water vapor profiles of the Earth’s atmosphere. Gazarik also worked in the private sector on software and firmware development for commercial and government applications including telecommunications and signal processing.

Gazarik earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. He earned an M.S. in 1989 and a Ph.D. in 1997, both in electrical engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Gazarik has received numerous awards, including NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and a Silver Snoopy Award, one of NASA’s highest honors.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information, visit http://www.ballaerospace.com/.

Ball Corporation (NYSE:  BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2013 sales of $8.5 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.