Orion And SLS Program Managers Named Deputy Directors For NASA

Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

August 25, 2015 – NASA has made two significant announcements this week, naming Orion program manager Mark Geyer as the new deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and the manager of the Space Launch System program, Todd May, as the new deputy director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The announcements serve to underline NASA’s current focus on human space exploration and the journey to Mars.

Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems leads the Orion industry team as the prime contractor building the Orion spacecraft. Orion will carry astronauts on deep-space missions beyond the moon, to asteroids, and eventually Mars.

NASA envisions multiple Orion capsules, which will launch on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, currently being developed at Marshall. The first test of the fully integrated Orion and SLS system will be Exploration Mission-1 in 2018, which will send Orion to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon.

JSC Deputy Director Mark S. Geyer

Mark Geyer will begin his role as the deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in mid-September. Image Credit: NASA

Mark Geyer will begin his role as the deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in mid-September. Image Credit: NASA

Mark Geyer will begin his role as the deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in mid-September. In his position, Geyer will work with Center Director Ellen Ochoa to manage one of NASA’s largest installations, with nearly 14,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and an annual budget of approximately $5.1 billion. Geyer will help oversee a broad range of human spaceflight activities.

Prior to being named deputy center director, Geyer has served as manager of the Orion Program since 2007. In this position, Geyer is responsible for directing the development of Orion, implementing program policies, planning and ensuring effective cost control of the program. Under Geyer’s direction, Orion was successfully tested in space in 2014 for the first time, bringing NASA a step closer to sending astronauts to deep space destinations.

Geyer also served as Deputy Program Manager of the Constellation Program from 2004 to 2007. Along with the program manager, he was responsible for the day-to-day management, development, and integration of Program elements for the deep space exploration program.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Geyer joined NASA in 1990. He began his career as a Systems Engineer in the Lunar and Mars Exploration Office.

He was quickly recognized for is leadership abilities, and in 1999 he became an increment manager for the International Space Station, responsible for integrating operations requirements between NASA, the Russian Space Agency and their contractors prior to arrival of the first International Space Station crew.

In 2000, Geyer became manager of the International Space Station Integration Office, responsible for definition of the International Space Station assembly sequence. This was the primary office for technical integration of space station elements between the international partners.

Then in 2004, Geyer began supporting the Development Program Division of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington as the manager of Systems Engineering and Integration.

Geyer has been recognized with NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal in 2000, the Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award in 2003, and the NASA Commendation Award in 2011, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2015. He was also a nominee for the Federal Engineer of the Year Award in 2012.

Geyer earned Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University. He and his wife Jacqueline have three children, Samantha, Russell, and Andrew.

Marshall Deputy Director Todd May

Todd May was appointed deputy director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on Aug. 25, 2015, by Marshall Director Patrick Scheuermann. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

Todd May was appointed deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on Aug. 25, 2015, by Marshall Director Patrick Scheuermann. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

Todd May today was appointed deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, by Director Patrick Scheuermann. May succeeds Teresa Vanhooser, who has been Marshall’s deputy director since November 2012 and is retiring this month after a 35-year NASA career.

Prior to being named deputy center director, May served as manager of the Space Launch System program since August 2011. SLS, now under development, is 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 program is managed at Marshall, and May has led the SLS program through a series of milestones, including engine tests and an in-depth critical design review in July.

As deputy director of Marshall, May will help manage one of NASA’s largest field installations, with nearly 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion.

“I’m confident that Todd will apply the excellent leadership skills he’s demonstrated as SLS manager to the entire spectrum of space exploration, science and technology missions Marshall manages or supports for NASA,” Scheuermann said. “With more than two decades of NASA experience, Todd is well prepared for this next assignment.”

May began his NASA career at Marshall in 1991 as an engineer in the Materials and Processes Laboratory. He has served in a variety of leadership and program and project management roles spanning all of NASA’s space-related mission directorates.

He relocated to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1994 to support the International Space Station Program as deputy manager of the Russian Integration Office. In 1998, he returned to Marshall to manage the successful integration, launch and commissioning of the space station’s “Quest” airlock. He then joined the team that launched the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In 2004, May assumed management of the Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, created to explore the solar system with frequent unmanned spacecraft missions. He joined the Constellation Program in 2006 as associate program manager, at the same time also serving as deputy director of Marshall’s Science and Mission Systems Office.

May was a deputy associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington from 2007 to 2008. Returning to Marshall in June 2008, he was named Marshall’s associate director, Technical, a post he held until being named SLS program manager.

May earned a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1990. His many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the John W. Hager Award for professionalism in materials engineering. He has been named a Distinguished Engineer by his alma mater, Auburn University. In 2014, he received Aviation Week’s Program Excellence Award, as well as the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Award in recognition of the SLS team’s many accomplishments.

May, a native of Fairhope, Alabama, and his wife, Kelly, have four children and reside in Huntsville.