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Denise Morris

NASA Program Manager for Centennial Challenges

Mrs. Morris is currently serving as the NASA Program Manager for Centennial Challenges, as of February, 2022.  Prior to this she was the NASA Deputy Program Manager for Centennial Challenges. She is responsible for directly engaging the public in the process of advanced technology development. Ms. Morris is currently assisting in the  management of the budget that offers incentive prizes to generate revolutionary solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the nation. She seeks diverse and non-traditional sources for the innovations to stimulate innovation in basic and applied research, technology development, and prototype demonstration that have the potential for application to the performance of the space and aeronautical activities of the administration.  Mrs. Morris consistently interfaces with other NASA center’s management and directors, such as NASA Headquarters, Johnston Space Center, Kennedy Space Center and Glenn Research Center.  She is currently leading the Watts On The Moon Centennial Challenge that is a top agency priority for going to the Moon in 2024.

Mrs. Morris was previously the NASA HPO1 Technical Assistant, where she interfaced with HP  leadership and supports workforce planning, PPBE discussions, Gateway, Commercial Crew Program and Center Management meetings and discussions.  She represented HP on Award Panels, furlough lessons learned meetings, Small Business Symposiums, Feds Feed Families, Facilities Utilization Review Committee (FURC) and the Flexible Workday (FWD) committee.  She was assigned to manage all non-personnel CAITS actions and represents HP for review and selection of CIFs and TIPs in support of the CSDSG.

Mrs. Morris joined NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in 2000 as a Payload Operations Director (POD).  While training to be a POD, she was also assigned to certify and serve as a Payload Communicator (PAYCOM).  In this role, she was responsible for space-to-ground communication with the ISS crew and payload crew training facilitation.  She also served as the Lead for developing the procedures, products and crew training material for one of the first NASA payloads onboard ISS.

In her role as a POD, Mrs. Morris led a 24×7 ground control team in performing science operations on  ISS.   She managed and directed the technical workforce in both the increment planning preparation and real-time operations phase to ensure successful and safe mission operations and execution of NASA science payloads.  She provided technical guidance in the payload operations concepts, processes and procedures development and currency of the Flight Rules, NASA Payload Regulations, Operations Interface Procedures and the Payload Operations Handbook.  She was the technical leader representative and NASA board chair responsible for the interface to the European Space Agency for all NASA payload technical interfaces and issues. Ms. Morris served as the Lead POD for all Rodent Research Payloads.

During her role as a POD, Mrs. Morris has led and engaged students and educators in discovering the unique NASA payloads onboard ISS.  Her outreach includes being a member of the InSPIRESS (Innovative System Project for Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM Students) Team, serving a judge for the finalists.  She has orchestrated and led tours of the ISS payload operations for educators, students, educational institutions, the media, public, community leaders and elected officials.

She has been the recipient of numerous NASA awards, including the Silver Snoopy Award (1997), which is given by the NASA Astronauts for professionalism, dedication and outstanding support to space flight mission success, a Space Flight Awareness Award, a JSC Director’s Innovation Award, several European Space Agency Awards, four NASA Silver Medal Group Awards and numerous NASA Individual and Group Achievement Awards.  She was also nominated in 2017 for the Ames Research Center special appreciation award for her work with Ames Research Center related to Rodent research on ISS.

Mrs. Morris holds a B.S. in mathematics and computer science from Athens State University in Athens, Alabama (1988).  She also holds a Comprehensive Science Degree. (1990) and has completed all coursework to teach any mathematics or science for 7th – 12th grade.