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For release: 10-28-04
Release #: 04-259  

NASA’s Marshall Center’s Todd May selected to manage solar system exploration missions

Photo description: May

Todd May has been selected as manager of NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office at Marshall Center. The Discovery and New Frontiers office provides opportunities for the science community to propose full scientific investigations to explore the Solar System. Discovery and New Frontiers investigations are the responsibility of NASA Headquarters in Washington. The Marshall program office will assist the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters with program management, technology planning, systems assessment, flight assurance and public outreach.

Photo: May (NASA/MSFC)



Todd May has been selected as manager of NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Discovery and New Frontiers office provides opportunities for the science community to propose full scientific investigations to explore the Solar System.

Discovery and New Frontiers investigations are the responsibility of NASA Headquarters in Washington. The Marshall program office will assist the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters with program management, technology planning, systems assessment, flight assurance and public outreach.

"I'm excited about the opportunities for this program to support NASA's Vision for Space exploration and to launch unique science research missions throughout our Solar System," said May. "The teams leading these projects are modern day Lewis and Clark explorers, who charted new territory on their 1803 westward expedition. We'll be doing much the same – except we'll be setting off to explore and understand the far reaches of our Solar System."

The Fairhope, Ala., native will lead the team responsible for providing oversight of the Discovery and New Frontiers missions and assuring the availability of technical expertise to quickly assess and apply resources enabling scientific investigators to accomplish their missions.

Most recently May served as the program integration manager for the Gravity Probe B Program – the current mission, launched in April, which is testing Einstein's theory of relativity. May was responsible for managing cost, schedule and flight readiness of the spacecraft, as well as education and public outreach for the mission.

Graduating from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in materials engineering, May started his career at NASA in 1991 as an engineer at the Marshall Center's Materials and Processes Laboratory  He relocated to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in 1994, leading a team that evaluated materials and processes used for the Space Station. In 1996, he became deputy manager of the team working with Russia on the Space Station. In 1998, May returned to the Marshall Center to lead the team constructing the International Space Station "Quest" Airlock module.

The Discovery initiative includes focused, scientific investigations that complement NASA's larger planetary exploration. Its goal is to launch numerous small missions with a faster development phase — each for considerably less than the cost of larger missions. The Discovery program has launched numerous missions to date, including the Mars Pathfinder, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker, and Genesis missions.

The New Frontiers initiative addresses high-priority investigations identified by the National Academy of Sciences — a committee made up of science and technology experts who address critical national issues and offer advice to the federal government and public. NASA's first New Frontiers mission is called New Horizons, which will fly by the Pluto-Charon system in 2015 and then target other Kuiper belt objects. NASA recently selected two mission proposals under the New Frontiers program for pre-formulation study, leading to a selection of the second New Frontiers mission in May 2005.

May, his wife Kelly and their four children, Carson, Madison, Harrison, and Sarah, reside in Huntsville.

http://www.nasa.gov

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