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Arthur F. 'Rick' Obenschain, Goddard Deputy Director, 2007-2015

[image-62]Arthur F. "Rick" Obenschain was the deputy director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center from August 2007 until his retirement on March 31, 2015. He shared with the deputy director for science and technology responsibility for executive leadership and overall direction and management of the center and its assigned programs and projects. He was also responsible for providing executive oversight and technical evaluation for the development, delivery for launch and operations of the space systems assigned to Goddard.

Before then-Center Director Rob Strain was appointed on Aug. 4, 2008, Obenschain served as the acting director of the Goddard Space Flight Center. He was named to that position by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin in May 2008 after the previous center director, Dr. Ed Weiler, was named the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate.

Previously, Obenschain was appointed as the director of Flight Projects Directorate in September of 2004 and was responsible for the day-to-day management of the more than 40 space and Earth science missions in formulation or implementation at Goddard as well as the coordination of the Earth Science Technology Office.

Obenschain began his career with NASA at Goddard in the early 1960s as a summer engineering aide, accepting a full-time position in the power systems development area in 1966 upon his graduation. He has worked almost exclusively on hardware development projects since 1966, with emphasis in electrical systems. In 1982, after serving five years as a supervisor in the Goddard Engineering Directorate, Obenschain assumed the position of observatory manager for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.

Upon his return to NASA in 1988 after working in private industry as a program manager for an aerospace company, Obenschain served as the deputy project manager for the Goddard Space Station Freedom Development Project. In October 1989, he was appointed project manager for the EOS Platforms Project, a position he maintained until his selection as the GOES project manager. With the successful launch and in-orbit checkout of GOES-8, Obenschain transferred to the Landsat Project.

Obenschain was appointed to the position of project manager in September 1994 with the transfer of Landsat-7 from the Department of Defense. In December 1996, he was appointed project manager of the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project, a position he held until October 1998, when he assumed responsibility for the leadership of the Electrical Systems Center within AETD.

Obenschain was selected as the director of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate in June 2000, having previously served as the Deputy Director of AETD since October 1999.

Obenschain earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is the recipient of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal, Exceptional Service Medal, Outstanding Leadership Medal, Equal Opportunity Medal and Goddard's Award of Merit. He is the 1995 recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management.

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Suited Rick Obenschain on a blue background with flag in left corner
Goddard Deputy Director Rick Obenschain (retired).
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NASA Goddard/Pat Izzo
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Page Last Updated: March 31st, 2015
Page Editor: Rob Garner