Todd May today was appointed deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, by Director Patrick Scheuermann. May succeeds Teresa Vanhooser, who has been Marshall’s deputy director since November 2012 and is retiring this month after a 35-year NASA career.
Prior to being named deputy center director, May served as manager of the Space Launch System program since August 2011. SLS, now under development, is the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The program is managed at Marshall, and May has led the SLS program through a series of milestones, including engine tests and an in-depth critical design review in July.
As deputy director of Marshall, May will help manage one of NASA’s largest field installations, with nearly 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion.
“I’m confident that Todd will apply the excellent leadership skills he’s demonstrated as SLS manager to the entire spectrum of space exploration, science and technology missions Marshall manages or supports for NASA,” Scheuermann said. “With more than two decades of NASA experience, Todd is well prepared for this next assignment.”
May began his NASA career at Marshall in 1991 as an engineer in the Materials and Processes Laboratory. He has served in a variety of leadership and program and project management roles spanning all of NASA’s space-related mission directorates.
He relocated to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1994 to support the International Space Station Program as deputy manager of the Russian Integration Office. In 1998, he returned to Marshall to manage the successful integration, launch and commissioning of the space station’s “Quest” airlock. He then joined the team that launched the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
In 2004, May assumed management of the Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, created to explore the solar system with frequent unmanned spacecraft missions. He joined the Constellation Program in 2006 as associate program manager, at the same time also serving as deputy director of Marshall’s Science and Mission Systems Office.
May was a deputy associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington from 2007 to 2008. Returning to Marshall in June 2008, he was named Marshall’s associate director, Technical, a post he held until being named SLS program manager.
May earned a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1990. His many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the John W. Hager Award for professionalism in materials engineering. He has been named a Distinguished Engineer by his alma mater, Auburn University. In 2014, he received Aviation Week’s Program Excellence Award, as well as the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Award in recognition of the SLS team’s many accomplishments.
May, a native of Fairhope, Alabama, and his wife, Kelly, have four children and reside in Huntsville.
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Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama