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Todd May retires, Jody Singer acting Marshall Space Flight Center director

Brandon Moseley

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Marshall Space Flight Director Todd May is retiring. Jody Singer will take over as acting director.
Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, who is Vice-Chair of the House Space Subcommittee, praised Director May and congratulated incoming acting director Jody Singer on her appointment.

Brooks said, “Throughout his career, Todd May’s work at NASA has been key to expanding America’s space exploration. Todd has been an exceptional leader and excellent partner to me on numerous issues important to the Marshall Space Flight Center in the Tennessee Valley— one of NASA’s largest field installations. His leadership at Marshall as center director, deputy center director, and SLS program manager helped propel NASA’s overall mission success and helped guide Marshall as policy changes in Washington impacted the center. I wish Todd well in his next endeavor, and I am pleased he will remain in the Tennessee Valley.”

Todd May has been the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center since February 1, 2016 and was the acting director since November 13, 2015. He was named deputy director in August 2015.

Since its inception in 2011, May led the Space Launch System (SLS) program through a series of milestones, including a successful in-depth critical design review. SLS, now under development, is the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately on a journey to Mars. May’s NASA career began in 1991 in the Materials and Processes Laboratory at Marshall. He was deputy program manager of the Russian Integration Office in the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1994. May managed the successful integration, launch and commissioning of the station’s Quest airlock in 1998. He also joined the team that launched the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

May earned a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1990. He is a native of Fairhope, Alabama, May and his wife, Kelly, have four children and live in Huntsville.

Joan A. “Jody” Singer who takes over as acting director was appointed deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, by Director May.

The Marshall Space Flight Center is one of NASA’s largest field installations, with nearly 6,000 civil service and contractor personnel, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions contributing to the nation’s space program. Those include the Space Launch System — the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.

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“I offer my congratulations to Jody Singer on being appointed as acting director of Marshall Space Flight Center,” Rep. Brooks said. “Jody has a tremendous depth of experience at NASA, and as Vice-Chair of the House Space Subcommittee I look forward to working closely with her to maintain and expand Marshall’s role in current and future missions. With a career spanning 30 years at NASA, most recently as deputy director of Marshall, Jody has extensive knowledge of the projects most important to the center and she has the proven ability to lead Marshall during America’s exciting return to manned deep space exploration.”

Singer has over 30 years with NASA, Singer has held leadership positions in a variety of engineering, propulsion and spaceflight development programs. Singer was the Deputy Director at Marshall. Before that she had been manager of the Flight Programs and Partnerships Office at Marshall, where she held primary responsibility for the center’s work with human exploration projects, flight mission programs and International Space Station hardware integration and operations, including life support systems, research facilities, and payload integration and operations. The office also develops and maintains partnerships with other government agencies and international and commercial partners that will help achieve NASA’s vision.

Prior to that, Singer was appointed deputy program manager of SLS in August 2011. She was deputy manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at Marshall from 2007 to 2011, helping lead the organization responsible for manufacturing, assembling and operating the space shuttle main engines, external tank and solid rocket boosters. In 2010, she assumed additional responsibilities as deputy for the Ares Project Office. In this dual leadership capacity, Singer helped ensure the successful conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011 and the transition of the workforce and assets to support the work of NASA and its partners for the development of SLS.

She was manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Booster Project Office from 2002 to 2007, supervising NASA and contractor engineers and technicians responsible for the flight safety, performance and hardware integrity of the space shuttle reusable booster hardware. She also was responsible for ensuring safety through the critical ground test program and led the team through Return-to-Flight activities after the Columbia accident.

She was named assistant manager of the Shuttle Projects Office in 2000. In 2002, after being appointed to the Senior Executive Service — the personnel system covering top managerial positions in federal agencies — she was named the office’s deputy manager.

From 1990 to 2000, Singer served in progressively responsible positions in the External Tank Project Office, including business manager, assistant manager, and deputy manager. Prior to that, from 1986 to 1990, she was an engineer in the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project Office. She joined NASA in 1985 as an engineer in the professional intern program.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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