Steve Jurczyk Appointed NASA Associate Administrator, Melanie Saunders Named Acting Deputy Associate Administrator
By NASA // May 22, 2018
appointed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Steve Jurczyk as associate administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant position. Jurczyk has been serving in the position in an acting capacity since March 10.
In addition, Melanie W. Saunders has been assigned as the acting deputy associate administrator, effective June 10.
“I want to thank Steve for stepping up to the plate as acting associate administrator these past months, and look forward to his counsel going forward,” said Bridenstine. “I also want to thank Krista for her distinguished service to NASA and welcome Melanie to Headquarters. The agency has greatly benefited from the talents of all these dedicated civil servants.”
Until his appointment as associate administrator, Jurczyk had been associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate since June 2015. In this position, he formulated and executed the agency’s space technology programs, focusing on developing and demonstrating transformative technologies for human and robotic exploration of the solar system in partnership with industry and academia.
He previously was director at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Named to this position in May 2014, he headed NASA’s first center, which plays a critical role in NASA’s aeronautics research, exploration and science missions. Jurczyk served as Langley’s deputy center director from August 2006 until his appointment as director.
Jurczyk began his NASA career in 1988 at Langley in the Electronic Systems Branch as a design and integration and test engineer developing several space-based Earth remote sensing systems. From 2002 to 2004 Jurczyk was director of engineering, and from 2004 to 2006 he was director of research and technology at Langley, where he led the organizations’ contributions to a broad range of research, technology and engineering disciplines contributing to all NASA mission areas.
He has received many awards during his career, including two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 2006, and the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive in 2016 — the highest honors attainable for federal government leadership.
He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1984 and 1986.
Saunders has been acting deputy center director at the Johnson Space Center in Houston since Feb. 1, where she helps to manage one of NASA’s largest installations, with almost 11,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and an annual budget of approximately $5 billion. She was previously Johnson’s associate director, and oversaw a broad range of human spaceflight activities.
Prior to being named associate center director, Saunders served as associate manager of the International Space Station Program from 2005 to 2009, during the most intensive phases of space station assembly. From 2003 to 2005, she was deputy manager of the station’s External Relations Office. Saunders began her NASA career in 1994 as the manager for International Policies for the International Space Station Program, where she negotiated international agreements.
During her NASA career, Saunders has been recognized with the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, a Silver Snoopy, and numerous other individual and group achievement awards.
She also was profiled in the inaugural edition of Women@NASA, and in Summer 2017 was featured in Profiles in Diversity, Women Worth Watching. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis.
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