NASA Internal Memo: Goddard Director Announces Key Personnel

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 10:17:36 -0400
From: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Subject: Goddard Director Announces Key Personnel
Reply-To: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Goddard Director Announces Key Personnel

Goddard Space Flight Center Director Dr. Ed Weiler today announced the appointment of several key leadership positions at the Center.

Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch has been named Deputy Director for Goddard. Ryschkewitsch succeeds Chris Scolese who last week was named NASA's Chief Engineer. Ryschkewitsch currently serves as the Director of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate (AETD).

Orlando Figueroa will assume the position of Director of AETD. Figueroa recently returned to Goddard as the Director of Code 300, the Office of Systems Safety and Mission Assurance (OSSMA). Before coming to Goddard, Figueroa worked at NASA Headquarters as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the Science Mission Directorate.

Marcus Angelo Watkins has been named the Director of OSSMA. Watkins presently serves as NASA's Representative to Spain responsible for all NASA issues in Spain including Robledo Antenna Tracking Station, Center for Astrobiology, Trans Atlantic Abort Landing Sites, and various Education initiatives.

Prior to being named Director of AETD, Ryschkewitsch was the Deputy Director of that Directorate. He also served as the center's Deputy Director of the Systems, Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate.

Dr. Ryschkewitsch received a B.S. in Physics from the University of Florida in 1973 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Duke University in 1978. Prior to joining NASA, he served as a postdoctoral fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Delaware. He joined GSFC in 1982 as a cryogenics engineer. He served as Head of the Cryogenic Systems Development Section and Assistant Branch Head for the Electromechanical Systems Branch. He was selected as Associate Chief of the Space Technology Division in 1990.

He led the GSFC team that worked with Ball Aerospace to develop the concept for the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR), used in the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1992, he was selected to form, then became Chief, of the Engineering Directorate Systems Engineering Office.

He is a past recipient of the Robert Baumann Award for Mission Success. In 2004 he received the NASA Engineering and Safety Center Leadership Award.

Before returning to Goddard, Figueroa was the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the Science Mission Directorate and was responsible for ensuring that flight programs and projects are organized and conducted consistently with directorate and agency policies. He also chaired the directorate's program management council which was responsible for assessing and determining the programmatic, management and technical readiness of flight projects to proceed into formulation and/or implementation phases.

Figueroa left Goddard in February 2000 to serve as the Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems Engineering. He was subsequently named the Director, Mars Exploration in the Office of Space Science, and then named Director, Solar System Exploration.

Figueroa spent 22 years at Goddard, holding a variety of key positions, including the Head, Cryogenics Technology Section; lead cryogenic engineer for the Cryogenic Optical Assembly of the Cosmic Background Explorer; manager for the Superfluid Helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Shuttle Experiment; manager for the Small Explorers  (SMEX) project;  manager for the Explorers Program; and Director, Systems Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate.

He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1978 he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, and later completed advanced courses in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland.

Marcus Watkins presently serves as NASA's Representative to Spain. >From 2001 through his selection as NASA's Spain Representative 2003, Watkins was the Associate Director of the Sun-Earth Connection Division at the Office of Space Science (OSS).  As such, he was responsible for Headquarters planning, leading, organizing, controlling, and directing flight program definition and development for Space Science Enterprise programs delegated to the Goddard Space Flight Center, Ames Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He led a team responsible for major national and international programs supporting the Sun Earth Connection Theme and was responsible for managing several OSS cross-theme programs which included the Explorer Development Program, Discovery Program, New Millennium Flight Validation programs, Sounding Rocket Flight Program, and International Collaborations on Physics and Astronomy missions.

>From 1999 to 2001, he was Deputy Director, Flight Programs Division, Office of Space Science.  He managed several programs through launch and on-orbit operations including Hubble Servicing Mission 3A, Chandra X- Ray Observatory, the Explorer FUSE, IMAGE, MAP, HESSI, and TIMED missions, and the Discovery Genesis mission.

As the Senior NASA Representative to Los Angeles Air Force Base from 1997 to 1999, he served as Deputy Director for Civil Space and was responsible for providing coordination of NASA wide technology programs with the Air Force and other Federal Agencies.

>From 1996 to 1989, he was a Program Manager at the Office of Aeronautics Exploration and Technology, where he served as Program and Project Manager for the Small Spacecraft Technology Initiative, and Several Advanced power and propulsion technology programs.

Selected for the NASA Professional Development Program assigned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1993-1991 where he worked on the Cassini project, concentrating on delivery of major flight systems being built both domestically and internationally.  Earlier, he served as an Aerospace Technologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center managing flight subsystems and systems for satellite projects.

Selected for the GSFC Engineering degree program 1984, and received a Master's engineering degree from George Washington University in 1987 and a B.S.

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