David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington                               
Sept. 6, 2011
RELEASE : 11-290
NASA Chief Technologist Braun Returning to Georgia Tech
WASHINGTON -- Bobby Braun, who served as the first NASA chief technologist in a decade, will leave the agency in October to return to the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Braun's service at NASA was possible through a two-year intergovernmental personnel agreement with Georgia Tech.

During his tenure at NASA, Braun served as the agency's principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning agency-wide technology policy and programs. Braun also was responsible for the formulation and initial implementation of NASA's Space Technology Program, which develops crosscutting technologies and advanced capabilities to enable NASA's future space missions.

"When I asked Bobby to join the NASA leadership team and establish the new Office of the Chief Technologist, I had to pull him away from his family and his work as a professor and researcher at Georgia Tech," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Bobby has rebuilt our basic and applied research capabilities, created technology programs to enable our agency's future success, and clearly articulated the importance of NASA's technology investments as an integral component of our nation's space policy. He's done an incredible job, and we're indebted to him for his exemplary public service."

Joseph Parrish, the deputy chief technologist, will serve as acting NASA chief technologist. Parrish joined the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) in January from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where he was responsible for technology assessment and mission architecture planning for future robotic missions to Mars.

Before joining JPL, Parrish was the president of Payload Systems Inc. and the vice president for research and development at Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., two small businesses in Cambridge, Mass. Besides his corporate responsibilities at those companies, Parrish served in project management and principal investigator roles for many technology development projects for NASA and other customers.

Michael Gazarik has been named director of NASA's Space Technology Program within OCT. Until recently, Gazarik served as the deputy chief technologist at NASA Headquarters, focusing on enabling effective implementation of the Space Technology programs.

Prior to his appointment, Gazarik was the deputy director for Programs in the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. In that role, he balanced the directorate's engineering and fabrication capabilities across projects that ranged from conceptual design to spaceflight operations, focused the directorate's resources to deliver flight hardware for numerous flight programs, and led the formulation of a variety of programs in science and human exploration.

For Braun's biography, visit:


For Parrish's biography, visit:


For Gazarik's biography, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



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