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Todd May, Director, Marshall Space Flight Center

Todd May

Former Director at Marshall Space Flight Center (2016–2018)

Todd May was director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center from February 2016 to July 2018. Prior to becoming center director, May served as deputy director of Marshall from August 2015 to November 2015 and served as acting director from November 2015 until being appointed director. Prior to that, he was 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 led SLS through a series of milestones, including engine tests and an in-depth critical design review.

Todd May speaks while at his desk
Marshall Space Flight Center Director, Todd May in his office in August 2015.

From June 2008 until becoming SLS program manager, May was Marshall’s associate director, technical, where he was responsible for ensuring that all center activities, processes and policies are consistent with the nation’s Space Exploration Policy. He was a deputy associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington from 2007-08, responsible for a $5 billion portfolio of robotic programs and projects, including more than 100 spacecraft at various stages of formulation, development and operations.

In 2006 at Marshall, he was associate program manager for the Constellation Program. At the same time, he also served as deputy director of Marshall’s Science and Mission Systems Office, helping lead the organization responsible for all Marshall non-launch vehicle programs and projects. In 2004, he was manager of the Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, which were created to explore the solar system with frequent unmanned spacecraft missions.

May managed the successful integration, launch and commissioning of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock in 1998. He also joined the team that launched the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In 1994, he was deputy program manager of the Russian Integration Office for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. May’s NASA career began at Marshall in 1991 as an engineer in the Materials and Processes Laboratory.

Portrait of Todd May
Portrait of Todd May in the building 4220 lobby at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in April 2017.

A native of Fairhope, Alabama, 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 and his wife, Kelly, have four children and live in Huntsville.