Suggested Searches

Joseph Pelfrey

Director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Follow Joseph

Joseph Pelfrey is the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He leads Marshall’s almost 7,000 onsite and near-site civil service and contractor employees and oversees an annual budget of approximately $5 billion. He also helps guide Marshall’s broad portfolio of human spaceflight, science, and technology development efforts, which touches nearly every mission NASA pursues. Pelfrey previously served as deputy center director since his appointment to the position in April 2022.

Throughout his NASA career, Pelfrey has served in multiple technical leadership positions at Marshall. He began his career as an industry partner, supporting development of space station payload hardware, and joined Marshall full-time in 2004 as an aerospace engineer in the Science and Mission Systems Office. He went on to serve in various leadership roles within NASA’s International Space Station Program, overseeing the development, integration, and operations of multiple payload facilities and science experiments.

In 2008, Pelfrey joined Marshall’s Engineering Directorate as the design integration lead for the Ares I Upper Stage, the rocket that would inform development of NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System). In 2011, he was named engineering task manager for SLS’ Spacecraft/Payload Integration and Evolution Office and, subsequently, manager of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project at Marshall.

In 2012, Pelfrey was named deputy manager and then manager of the Exploration and Space Transportation Development Office in Marshall’s Flight Programs and Partnerships Office. In 2016, he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service post of associate director for operations in Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system covering most top managerial, supervisory, and policy positions in the executive branch of the federal government.

Pelfrey served as deputy manager of Marshall’s Human Exploration Development and Operations Office from 2018 to 2020 and became manager of that organization from 2020 to 2022. In this role he oversaw management and implementation of Marshall’s work in the areas of human exploration and transportation projects; habitation systems, payload and mission operations and integration; and International Space Station payload, facility, environmental control and life support systems project development and integration.

A native of Cheraw, South Carolina, Pelfrey received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University in 2000. He resides in Huntsville with his family.