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NASA Administrator Announces New Marshall Space Flight Center Director

Official portrait of Joseph Pelfrey, director, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Monday named Joseph Pelfrey director of the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, effective immediately. Pelfrey has served as acting center director since July 2023.

“Joseph is a respected leader who shares the passion for innovation and exploration at NASA Marshall. As center director, he will lead the entire Marshall workforce, which includes a world-renowned team of scientists, engineers, and technologists who have a hand in nearly every NASA mission,” said Nelson. “I am confident that under Joseph’s leadership, Marshall will continue to make critical advancements supporting Artemis and Moon to Mars that will benefit all humanity.” 

NASA Marshall is one of the agency’s largest field centers, and manages NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where some of the largest elements of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis campaign are manufactured. The center also is responsible for the oversight and execution of an approximately $5 billion portfolio comprised of human spaceflight, science, and technology development efforts. Its workforce consists of nearly 7,000 employees, both civil servants and contractors. 

“Marshall is renowned for its expertise in exploration and scientific discovery, and I am honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the center into the future,” said Pelfrey. “We will continue to shape the future of human space exploration by leading SLS and human landing system development for Artemis and leveraging our capabilities to make critical advancements in human landing and cargo systems, habitation and transportation systems, advanced manufacturing, mission operations, and cutting-edge science and technology missions.”

Prior to joining NASA, Pelfrey worked in industry, supporting development of space station payload hardware. He began his NASA career as an aerospace engineer in the Science and Mission Systems Office, going on to serve in various leadership roles within the International Space Station Program, the Marshall Engineering Directorate and the SLS Spacecraft/Payload Integration and Evolution Office. He also served as manager for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project at Marshall and the Exploration and Space Transportation Development Office in the Flight Programs and Partnerships Office.

Appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2016, Pelfrey served as the associate director for operations in Engineering, later becoming deputy manager and subsequently manager for Marshall’s Human Exploration Development and Operations Office. He was appointed as Marshall’s deputy center director in April 2022.

Pelfrey received a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University in 2000.

Learn more about Pelfrey in his biography online at:


Faith McKie / Cheryl Warner 
Headquarters, Washington 
202-358-1600 /  

Lance Davis
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.



Last Updated
Feb 05, 2024