Marshall Space Flight Center Director Steps Down

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2003

NASA Associate Administrator of Space Flight William F. Readdy today announced the reassignment of Arthur G. Stephenson, Center Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Ala., effective June 15. Stephenson decided to step down from his current position and move to an important role in promoting NASA's Education efforts until his retirement in January 2004.

"I worked closely with Art in the Office of Space Flight, and I'm thankful for what he has done for the Marshall Space Flight Center, the people of Alabama, and the entire NASA family," said Readdy in making the announcement.

"I have the deepest respect and appreciation for Art and his dedication to public service," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "Art, with his exemplary private sector experience, brought a contemporary business management practice to our advocacy of next generation technology, and has been a staunch champion of education for our future explorers."

Stephenson will serve as Special Assistant to Dr. Adena Loston, the Associate Administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters, Washington, and will be based at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville. The NSSTC is a partnership between MSFC, Alabama universities, federal agencies, and industry. NSSTC is a laboratory for cutting-edge research in selected scientific and engineering disciplines.

"The job of Center Director at Marshall is without a doubt the best job I have had in my career. The people at Marshall and Huntsville are my family, but after five years, I felt it was time to consider new challenges," Stephenson said. "With NASA preparing to implement a comprehensive 'Return to Flight' effort, I felt the timing for this move is in the best interest of the agency, Marshall, and me, personally. I want to assist Adena and NASA in advancing the agency's important education initiatives," added Stephenson. "And I want to spend a lot of time advancing the important work of the NSSTC and its mandate to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers for space-based research," he said.

Stephenson was named Marshall's center director in 1998, where he directed work on critical NASA initiatives such as development of new reusable launch vehicles, Space Shuttle propulsion, advanced space transportation systems, research in microgravity, and science payload operations aboard the International Space Station, as well as the launch and continuing successful operation of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the world's most powerful X-ray telescope.

Stephenson came to NASA with more than 35 years experience in the space industry. His career started in 1964 with TRW, working on the design of test equipment for the Lunar Module Abort Guidance System in the Apollo program. During the next 27 years, he took on even greater roles in the nation's space exploration efforts. He led the development of the Pioneer Jupiter Spacecraft Receiver, the first spacecraft to exit our solar system, and the development of the Space Shuttle Orbiter S-band Network Transponder still in use today.

He managed several spacecraft and space transportation programs before leaving TRW in 1992 to become vice president of Oceaneering Space Systems in Houston. In 1997, he became president of Oceaneering Technologies, which includes divisions working with the U.S. Navy, NASA, Department of Energy, and the entertainment industries.

For his contributions to America's space program and the nation, Stephenson has been recognized with the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Group Achievement Award, and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of Alabama System and was selected by the American Society for Engineering Management as the 2001 Engineering Manager of the Year. Most recently, he received the Career Achievement Award from the University of Redlands, Calif.

Marshall is one of NASA's largest field installations, with more than 6,500 civil service and contract employees. The center manages a broad range of research and development activities, including next-generation propulsion technology and the International Space Station's Payload Operations Center, which controls all onboard Station experiments.

Additional information about NASA, the Marshall Space Flight Center, and the National Space Science and Technology Center is available on the Internet at:

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