Associate Administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA
Kathryn Lueders is the associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As SOMD AA, Lueders oversees the International Space Station (ISS), Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN), Launch Services Program (LSP), Human Spaceflight Capabilities, including the Human Research Program, flight operations and the astronaut office; and commercial spaceflight with a primary focus on commercial crew, and building a strong commercial economy in low-Earth orbit (LEO) through the Commercial LEO Development Program, including private astronaut missions and commercial space stations. In addition, Lueders is working closely with the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate as the agency organizes the exploration programs to prepare NASA for operating for the next 20 years of human space exploration. Lueders previously served as the first female associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, managing the agency’s full human spaceflight portfolio.
Before joining NASA Headquarters, Lueders was the manager of the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, leading NASA’s mission of facilitating the United States’ commercial industry development of safe, reliable, and cost-effective human space transportation between Earth and the space station. As a result of her leadership, for the first time in NASA’s history, the agency is partnering with private industry partners SpaceX and Boeing to transport NASA astronauts to and from the ISS.
Prior to CCP, Lueders served as the ISS Transportation Integration manager, planning, developing, and implementing key ISS transportation strategies, policies, and procurements with private industry, culminating in the award of two ISS Commercial Resupply Services contracts worth $3.6 billion to private industry that was able to begin providing cargo transportation to the ISS.
Lueders began her NASA career in 1992 at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, where she was the Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot manager.
Lueders holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration finance from the University of New Mexico and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University.
In recognition of her continued and sustained distinguished performance, Lueders has received numerous NASA achievement, honor, and performance awards, including the NASA Superior Achievement Award, the Space Flight Awareness Award, the prestigious Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, Distinguished Service Medal, the IAASS Leonardo da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Medal, the SpaceNews Government Leader of the Year, the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award and was recently inducted into the Space and Satellite Hall of Fame.
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