Bolden Announces NASA Leadership Shakeup

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced changes to elements of NASA's senior leadership. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

Changes are underway at NASA. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced today that his senior leadership team – will undergo some restructuring. Chris Scolese, who is currently NASA’s associate administrator will now serve as director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center which is located in Greenbelt, Md. Robert Lightfoot, who is currently the director of the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will take over Scolese’s position as associate administrator. The changes will take effect on March 5.

Scolese took over for Robert Strain who, like many others, left the space agency in January. Scolese has been with NASA for about 25 years. Lightfoot has 23 years with the agency.

“I am excited with the depth and diversity of experiences Chris and Robert will bring to their new roles,” Bolden added. “I know the entire NASA family will wish them continued success as they begin these new challenges.” 

By becoming NASA’s associate administrator, Lightfoot will be NASA’s highest-ranking civil servant. His responsibilities will center around oversight and integration of the space agency’s human space flight efforts. Scolese, meanwhile, will oversee Goddard’s unmanned initiatives which deal with astronomical, space physics, Earth observation and other scientific efforts. 

“Both Chris and Robert are dedicated public servants who have a passion for NASA and exploration,” Bolden said. “We are fortunate to have such talented and experienced leaders who are capable of assuming these critical responsibilities during this important time.”

Scolese has a long history within NASA’s leadership hierarchy. He served as NASA’s acting administrator in 2009 before Bolden took the helm. Scolese also served as the agency’s deputy associate administrator, chief engineer and deputy director of Goddard. Both he and Lightfoot have earned the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and other NASA medals for leadership.

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