NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced three changes to his senior leadership team Sept. 25.
Robert Lightfoot, acting associate administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington, will assume that role on a permanent basis. Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., will become director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Scheuermann, will replace Robin Henderson, who has filled the position on a temporary basis since Gene Goldman’s retirement Aug. 3. Lightfoot began his assignment as acting associate administrator March 5.
Scheuermann’s successor as the Stennis director is Dr. Richard J. Gilbrech, who currently serves as that center’s deputy director. All three management changes are effective immediately.
“Robert, Patrick and Rick are three of NASA’s finest public servants who will continue to play key roles in our agency’s future,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “America is fortunate to have three such talented leaders assuming these important jobs at a pivotal time for NASA and space exploration.”
As associate administrator, Lightfoot is the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant, responsible for oversight and integration of NASA’s broad efforts in human space flight, science and aeronautics. Lightfoot began his NASA career as a test engineer and manager for the space shuttle main engine technology test bed program. He then served in leadership positions at Marshall, Stennis and Headquarters. From 2003 to 2005, he was assistant associate administrator for the Space Shuttle Program, Office of Space Flight, at Headquarters.
Scheuermann has provided executive leadership, overall direction and management of Stennis since being named that center’s director in 2010. He is responsible for implementing NASA’s mission in the area of rocket propulsion testing, and developing and maintaining NASA’s world-class rocket propulsion test facilities.
Scheuermann previously served as Stennis’ deputy director and associate director, in addition to working as chief operating officer of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Since joining NASA in 1988 as a propulsion test engineer, he worked on numerous major test projects at Stennis, including serving as project manager for NASA’s Reusable Launch Vehicle program, a NASA-industry effort to develop a new generation of safe and cost-effective rockets to send payloads to space.
Gilbrech has served as Stennis’ deputy director since 2010. He began his NASA career in 1991 at Stennis in the area of propulsion test technology. From 1998 to 2000, he served as chief of the Propulsion Test Engineering Division at Stennis, and in 2003, he was named manager of the Propulsion Integration Office, responsible for managing NASA’s rocket propulsion test facilities.
Later in 2003, Gilbrech relocated to Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to become a principal engineer in the NASA Engineering and Safety Center. He later served as deputy of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center and as deputy director of Langley. In 2006, Gilbrech was named director of Stennis, serving in that role until assuming leadership of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington.
All three men are highly honored NASA leaders, earning the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and agency medals for outstanding leadership.