Carl Preston Jones has been appointed director of the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Chris Singer, who served as director since May 2011, has been appointed Deputy Chief Engineer for Engineering Integration within the Office of the Chief Engineer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Chris’ new NASA challenge is a testament to his skillful and innovative leadership of the Marshall engineering team through years of great achievements with the Space Shuttle Program, International Space Station construction and expanding science activities, and development and testing of NASA’s Space Launch System, our next great ship for the human exploration of deep space,” said Marshall Director Todd May. “We look forward to continuing to reap benefits from Chris’ talents in his new, agency-wide position for NASA.”

Jones, who served as the Marshall Engineering Directorate’s deputy director since August 2011, now leads the organization’s 1,200 civil service and 1,100 support contractor personnel. They are responsible for designing, analyzing, testing and operating flight hardware and software associated with space transportation, spacecraft systems, science instruments and payloads under development at Marshall. That includes providing critical support to SLS — the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The directorate’s responsibilities also include managing NASA Marshall’s Payload Operations Integration Center — the command post for scientific research activities aboard the International Space Station.

“We are fortunate to have in Preston a leader intimately familiar with our programs and goals as we continue developing the hardware and the knowledge we will need for the human exploration of deep space and Mars,” May said. “Over his nearly 35 years with NASA, Preston has been in the forefront of efforts to infuse new technologies into space systems to promote sustainability and affordability.”

From 2004 through 2011, Jones managed Marshall’s Propulsion Systems Department and then the Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department within the Engineering Directorate. These organizations are responsible for design and development of the nation’s next generation of spacecraft, launch vehicles and propulsion systems for human space flight and exploration missions.

Jones began his NASA career in 1982 as an engineer in Marshall’s Structural Dynamics Laboratory, where as a high frequency data analyst he worked on more than 70 space shuttle launches and postflight assessments. In 1994, he moved to Marshall’s Propulsion Laboratory, first as Liquid Engine Systems Branch chief and, subsequently, as Propulsion Test Division chief in 1997. These propulsion systems efforts and responsibilities included Space Shuttle Main Engine design and test support for development and flight, and key development roles on the Fastrac engine. He took on increasing levels of responsibility in both the Shuttle Main Engine Project Office and the Space Transportation Directorate from 2000 through 2004.

Jones received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega in 1982 and has completed engineering courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

His numerous awards and citations include the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives — one of the highest honors given for career federal employees — in 2008, recognizing his outstanding achievements at NASA; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2014, for career achievement and technical contributions; and the Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2006 for his leadership as manager of Marshall’s Propulsion Systems Department. In 1992, he was presented a Silver Snoopy Award from the Astronaut Corps for his contributions to the success of human spaceflight missions.

Jones and his wife, Betty, have three sons and two grandsons and live in Huntsville.

For more information about NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit: