Dr. Lisa Watson-Morgan has been named program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System, tasked with rapid development of the lander that will safely carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon’s surface in 2024. That voyage, a critical milestone in NASA’s bold new Artemis Program, will pave the way for a long-term human presence on the Moon by 2028, reigniting America’s leadership in crewed exploration of the solar system and taking the next giant leap toward sending human explorers to Mars.
Watson-Morgan, a 30-year NASA veteran engineer and manager, previously served as deputy director of the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“Lisa’s appointment to this key role not only reflects NASA’s confidence in her visionary leadership, but confidence in the proven expertise and world-class capability that define Marshall’s contributions to safely landing humans on the Moon and launching complex spacecraft to the Moon and Mars,” said Marshall Director Jody Singer.
As program manager, Watson-Morgan will oversee testing of landing systems working with U.S. industry to develop, integrate and conduct crewed demonstrations. She will further manage lunar landing system integration with the Orion deep space crew vehicle, launched by the Space Launch System, that will carry Artemis explorers to and from the Gateway lunar orbital platform. From the Gateway, explorers will board the lunar landing system for missions to the surface of the Moon.
The goal is to deliver a landing system to sustainably ferry astronauts and technology demonstrators to and from the surface, yielding new science and material resources – and leveraging the Moon as a proving ground for future Mars missions.
Watson-Morgan began her NASA career in 1989. Since her appointment in 2013 to the Senior Executive Service, the personnel system covering top managerial positions in federal agencies, she has served as manager of Marshall’s Chief Engineer’s office, director of the Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department, associate director of operations for the Engineering Directorate and, most recently, as deputy director of that organization, Marshall’s largest, with more than 2,000 civil service and contractor personnel.
A Huntsville native, Watson-Morgan graduated from the University of Alabama in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. She also received a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1994 and a doctorate in engineering management in 2008, both from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has received numerous NASA awards, including a Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2018, Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2010 and the Exceptional Service Medal in 2001. She and her husband live in Huntsville and have three children.
For more information about Artemis and NASA’s goals to return to the Moon and journey on to Mars, visit:
For more information about the work of the Marshall Center, visit: