Center Director

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Orlando Figueroa, Deputy Director for Science and Technology
NASA portait of Orlando Figueroa Deputy Director for Science and Technology Orlando Figueroa. Credit: NASA/Goddard
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Mr. Orlando Figueroa was appointed the Deputy Center Director for Science and Technology at the Goddard Space Flight Center in January 2010. In this position, he is responsible for formulating the Center’s future science and technology goals, and leading an integrated program of investments aligned to meet those goals.

Mr. Figueroa has been a U.S. Government Senior Executive since 1996. Throughout his career he has a record of consistent achievements in the planning, design, development and oversight of multi-faceted scientific space missions. Well versed in interacting with multiple national and international government and non-government organizations, and considered a highly competent strategist and director of scientific systems and technology, with vast experience in the management of complex multi-project programs with total budgets in excess of $4 billion, and the management of a 1300 employee multi-disciplinary engineering organization.

His past experiences include the following positions: Director for the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center, the following NASA Headquarters positions: Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the Science Mission Directorate; Director for the Solar System Exploration Division; Director for Mars Exploration; and NASA Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems Engineering. Experience prior to NASA Headquarters include 22 years at Goddard as: Director of Systems, Technology and Advanced Concepts; Explorers Program Manager; Manager for the Small Explorers (SMEX) project; Manager for the Superfluid Helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Shuttle Experiment; Head of the Cryogenics Technology Section; and Lead Cryogenic Engineer for the Cosmic Background Explorer mission.

Throughout his career, Mr. Figueroa has received numerous awards. Among them are: the 2005 Service to America Medal Federal Employee of the Year, the 2004 Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, and the 2002 Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for sustained extraordinary accomplishment in management of programs of the United States Government; Hispanic Business Magazine ranking as one the most influential Hispanics in the Nation in 2004 and 2005; the 2002 Pioneer Award from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation for his contribution to the advancement of science and technology and for promoting the education of our youth; NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals in 2004 and 1993; and the 1994 Community Stars Award from the Maryland Science Week Commission, for his work and support of innovative education programs between NASA, industry and Maryland Schools.

Mr. Figueroa received an honorary doctorate degree in science from Dominican College in New York in 2004. He is the author of several technical publications in the field of cryogenics, the SMEX missions, and the Mars Exploration Program. He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, in 1978, and completed advanced courses in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. Mr. Figueroa is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.