Lynn Cline is the first to tell you she’s all talk. But
that’s no shortcoming for NASA’s Deputy Associate
Administrator for the Office of Space Flight in Washington.
For Cline, talk is action. After all, in the mid-1990s, she
led NASA’s effort to organize the coalition of nations that
would build and fly the International Space Station.

Cline pinpoints her professional communication skills as a
primary factor in her 28 successful years at NASA. Born in
Montclair, N.J., Cline grew up in nearby Tom’s River. Her
first love was language. While pursuing a degree in French
from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., she was
confident her fluency would lead to a career as an interpreter
or perhaps as a professor of French literature.

But another opportunity presented itself in September 1975, a
cooperative education internship with NASA’s international
affairs office in Washington. “I wasn’t sure what I might be
getting myself into,” Cline recalled. “But NASA seemed like an
interesting opportunity,” she said.

Timing was perfect. NASA and the then Soviet space agency had
just conducted the Apollo-Soyuz test mission, the first manned
space mission conducted jointly by two nations. Cline helped
compile flight data and planned future partnerships. “Everyone
was so committed, so enthusiastic about the work,” she said.
“It was contagious. I came in on a three-month assignment and
just never left,” she said.

She reflects on her early career goals and offers some advice
to young people pondering future careers. “It struck me to
realize you don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer to
work for NASA,” Cline said. “Certainly, the majority of NASA
employees are technicians, scientists and engineers, but you
can work in a host of different fields and still contribute to
the space program. Your options in the work world are endless,
if you take the time to investigate every opportunity as a
potential for success,” she said.

Cline tackled a number of foreign-relations positions, and she
became NASA’s deputy director of international relations in
1990. Cline maintained NASA’s relations with the European
Space Agency, Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, India, Russia
and China. She often found herself arguing space policy with
roomfuls of officials, many of whom spoke little or none of
each other’s language.

In 1993, newly appointed as director of space flight for
NASA’s Office of External Relations, Cline took on the task of
launching a permanent, orbiting science facility in space.
Cline traveled monthly to partner nations to hammer out the
new contracts, relying on her communication skills, if not
fluency in all partners’ native tongues, to win approval. The
art of negotiation isn’t just words, she points out, but also
meaning and context.

Her efforts paid off in 1998, when all the partners, including
the Russian delegation, traveled to the United States to sign
agreements to commence work on the Space Station.

Cline plays a key role in making NASA policies and allocating
resources to support the whole spectrum of American space
flight, from the Space Shuttle and Space Station to space-
based communications and Earth science missions. She
occasionally misses her international role, but considering
the Office of Space Flight manages approximately 40 percent of
NASA’s budget and oversees key technology development at four
agency field centers; she’s busier than ever.

And there’s always an opportunity to stop and reflect on a job
well done. “Whenever the Station is flying overhead, I go out
on my deck to catch that bright streak in the sky,” she said.
“And I think, you know, I had something to do with that!”
Cline concluded.

For more information about the International Space Station, on
the Internet visit:

Media organizations interested in interviewing Cline should
contact Allard Beutel, NASA Public Affairs, at: 202/358-4769.