NASA Creates Space Technology Mission Directorate

Today, we are formally announcing the creation of a new NASA organizational entity — the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). This new Mission Directorate is an outgrowth of President Obama’s recognition of the critical role that space technology and innovation will play in enabling both future space missions and bettering life here on Earth. For him this has been a consistent point of emphasis from the campaign to today. The directorate will be a catalyst for the creation of technologies and innovation needed to maintain NASA leadership in space while also benefiting America’s economy.

The Space Technology Mission Directorate will develop the crosscutting, advanced and pioneering new technologies needed for NASA’s current and future missions, many of which also benefit America’s aerospace industries, other government agencies, and address national needs. NASA will focus leadership responsibility for the existing Space Technology Program in the mission directorate, improving communication, management, and accountability of critical technology investment activities across the agency.

A robust technology development program is vital to reaching new heights in space — and sending American astronauts to new destinations like an asteroid and Mars. A top priority of NASA is to invest in cross-cutting, transformational technologies. We focus on collaboration with industry and academia that advances our nation’s space exploration and science goals while maintaining America’s competitive edge in the innovation economy.

Associate Administrator Michael Gazarik will head the organization. He previously served as the director of the Space Technology Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist. James Reuther will serve as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in STMD. Reuther brings years of expertise in technology development, research and project management to oversee the nine programs within the mission directorate. Reuther previously served as deputy director of the Space Technology Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist. Dorothy Rasco, formerly the business manager of the Space Shuttle Program and the manager of the Space Shuttle Program Transition and Retirement, will join the directorate as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Management, assisting with the organization’s strategic planning and management.

The Space Technology Mission Directorate will employ a portfolio approach, spanning a range of discipline areas and technology readiness levels. Research and technology development will take place within NASA centers, in academia, and industry, and leverage collaboration with other government and international partners.

NASA’s Chief Technologist, Mason Peck, will continue to serve as my principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning agencywide technology policy and programs. Peck’s office will lead NASA’s technology transfer and commercialization efforts, integrating, tracking, and coordinating all of NASA’s technology investments across the agency. The Office of the Chief Technologist also will continue to develop strategic innovative partnerships, manage agency-level competitions and prize activities, as well as document and communicate the societal impacts of the agency’s technology efforts.

We are confident that STMD will greatly enhance NASA’s critical technology and innovation mission and the benefits it brings to our agency and the nation. Welcome to Michael Gazarik and the whole Space Technology Mission Directorate team. Visit to learn more about the new mission directorate.

Building a Strong Space Program

Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized that we must make America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. At NASA, we depend on a strong US-based manufacturing capability for the success of our space and aeronautics programs.

We are building the next generation of rockets and a crew capsule that will take us farther into the solar system than we’ve ever been. And while we are focusing on deep space exploration and discovery, our American partners in the commercial space industry are building rockets to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo, and will soon be launching our astronauts into space from U.S. soil.

American businesses are building the most sophisticated space telescope ever made – the James Webb Telescope – and others fabricated the robotic dust-removal tool being used by Curiosity on Mars as this car-size rover begins drilling operations on the Red Planet. U.S. companies are building expandable space habitat technology to test on orbit on the ISS, and satellites that look back at Earth and inform us of severe weather events and changes in our climate. These firms are building unmanned aerial vehicles that fly through hurricanes and above wildfires, providing critical information to forecasters and first responders, as well as scientists on the ground who analysis this life-saving data.

U.S. manufacturing is a vital part of the American space and aeronautics programs. Although we work in space and fly through the air, every dollar of NASA’s budget is spent right here on Earth. A vibrant American manufacturing sector means a strong space program with plenty of future high-tech jobs for workers now – and into the future.