JSC director Geyer speaks of America’s space leadership role today, in the future

October 1st, 2018

By Mary Alys Cherry and Kathryn Paradis

Knowing the human tendency to overlook the value of many outstanding things in our daily lives – things that become “old hat” – Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer reminded Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership members of the great value of the International Space Station, which has been circling the Earth for the past 18 years.

“Station is an incredible international achievement,” he said as he opened his address, “and I want to talk about the different pieces that make ISS so special. People may not be aware of the details surrounding the amount of utilization that is happening every day on Space Station.

“There are payload experiments – things we are pushing the envelope on – on how to live and work in space, which is really going to be important when we go to the moon and on to Mars. A Mars journey could take three years or longer. We’re learning about how the human body behaves and how it changes. We’re learning how to mitigate those things through exercise and nutrition. There’s an incredible amount of work that goes on every day; plus, we get some cool pictures!”

It also has helped the United States and Russia become space buddies, he explained.

Their space friendship began back at the turn of the century when the first international crew, commanded by American astronaut William M. Shepherd, arrived on a Russian Soyuz that launched on Oct. 31, 2000. Since that day, he said there has always been an American onboard Station.
“Station brings a symbol of national leadership in the world. We lead the rest of the world in space. I had a chance to meet with the U.S. ambassador in Russia when I was over there for a launch. He told me that as difficult as relationships are with the Russians, Space Station is the one thing, the one positive thing that we are doing together. That’s important.”

Then he cautioned, “Another thing to remember is that if the United States doesn’t lead in space, there’s another county that cannot wait to lead in space, and that’s China. We know that they are making efforts to do that.”

After briefly talking about the commercialization of space, he took the crowd into the future — the commercial opportunities the ISS offers and plans to build the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in the 2020s to launch the Orion spacecraft on 21-day missions past the moon and back. And, how JSC will continue to be a key part of the integration of that program.

And, what about new NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine? “He is extremely personable and very open, Geyer says. “He really likes to meet with teams and talking with the interns. He’s trying very hard, listening to people. I love working for him; he’s a great guy.”

Geyer, who was introduced by BAHEP Chairman and San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, began his NASA career in 1990 at JSC and has been here ever since. He has witnessed much during the ensuing years – both triumph and tragedy. His presentation left many with the feeling, however, that the best is yet to come both for NASA and for Johnson Space Center.

NASA Announces new deputy director of Johnson Space Center

August 12th, 2018

Vanessa Wyche has been named deputy director of the Johnson Space Center, becoming the first African American to hold the post.

In her new job, she will assist JSC Director Mark Geyer in leading one of NASA’s largest installations, which has nearly 10,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and a broad range of human spaceflight activities.

“Vanessa has a deep background at JSC with significant program experience in almost all of the human spaceflight programs that have been hosted here,” Geyer said in making the announcement. “She is respected at NASA, has built agency wide relationships, throughout her nearly three-decade career and will serve JSC well as we continue to lead human space exploration in Houston.”

Wyche recently served as director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate (EISD) and completed a detail as the JSC deputy director in February 2018.

“I am incredibly humbled to take on this role at JSC, and also excited to assist Mark with leading the home of human spaceflight”; Wyche said. “I look forward to working with the talented employees at JSC as we work toward our mission of taking humans farther into the solar
system.”

The South Carolina native is a graduate of Clemson University, where she earned both her B.S. in Materials Engineering and a Master of Science in Bioengineering. Wyche is the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals and two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals.

Before joining JSC in 1989, Wyche worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. She began her career with NASA in the Space Life Sciences Directorate as a project engineer. She has held several key center leadership positions including assistant center director, associate director of EISD and acting director of Human Exploration Development Support.

She also served in the Constellation Program as director of operations and test integration and in the Space Shuttle Program as a flight manager for several space shuttle missions. She was manager of the Mission Integration Office, and she completed a detail in the Office of the NASA Administrator.

For more information about Wyche, visit:

 

NASA names Mark Geyer new JSC director

May 14th, 2018

Official NASA executive portrait of JSC Deputy Center Director, Mark Geyer. PHOTOGRAPHER: BILL STAFFORD

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Monday the selection of Mark Geyer as the next director of the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He’ll assume the director’s position on May 25, when current Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, a former astronaut, retires after 30 years at the agency.

As JSC’s director, he’ll lead one of NASA’s largest installations, which has about 10,000 civil service and contractor employees — including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M. — and oversee a broad range of human spaceflight activities.

“Mark brings with him almost three decades of distinguished NASA leadership experience at the program, center and headquarters levels – he’s managed and he’s worked his way through the ranks and knows what it’s going to take to get our astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars.

“Johnson has been NASA’s home base for astronauts and mission control throughout our history, and Mark is eminently qualified to carry on this historic legacy,” Bridenstine said. “I also want to thank Ellen for her years of service to America and this agency. Her legacy and contributions to this center and to NASA are timeless. She will be missed.”

Geyer currently is serving as the acting deputy associate administrator for Technical for the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. In this position, which he assumed Oct. 1, 2017, he’s responsible for assisting the associate administrator in providing strategic direction for all aspects of NASA’s human spaceflight exploration mission. Before that, Geyer served as deputy center director at Johnson until September 2017.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to lead the men and women of this proud center,” Geyer said. “The Johnson Space Center has unique capabilities that are critical to NASA’s ability to execute our mission to take humans farther into the solar system, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you on the ambitious tasks ahead.”

Born in Indianapolis, Geyer earned his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics Engineering, as well as his Master of Science in Aeronautics from Purdue University in Indiana. He is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Executive Rank Award and the Distinguished Executive Rank Award.

For more information about Geyer, visit https://go.nasa.gov/2rwRxc9