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kathryn koerner 2023

Catherine Koerner

Deputy Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, NASA

As deputy associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, Catherine Koerner provides leadership and management of human spaceflight development and operations related to NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration goals. In this role, Koerner is responsible for establishing and defining future space exploration architectures while overseeing development of new space transportation systems and supporting capabilities that are critical for human-led deep space exploration and scientific research. In her most recent position, Ms. Koerner was the manager for the agency’s Orion Program, where she was responsible for the development and operations of NASA’s newest spacecraft that will carry astronauts on Artemis missions to the Moon and return them safely to Earth.

Koerner began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as a mission design engineer. In 1991, she joined the agency’s Johnson Space Center in the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) and served there in progressively more responsible roles, including flight controller, space shuttle flight director and International Space Station flight director, coordinating the near real-time engineering evaluation and maintenance support for station operations spanning 20 Expeditions, 12 space shuttle-supported station assembly missions, and 63 complex spacewalks. She also served as the MOD Space Shuttle Manager overseeing the mission operations support to the Space Shuttle Program and supported the International Space Station Program, where she held various leadership positions including deputy manager of the International Space Station Vehicle Office and manager of the Transportation Integration Office. Koerner also served as deputy director and later the director of the Human Health and Performance Directorate.

Koerner earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous awards including a Presidential Rank Award in 2019, two Outstanding Leadership Medals (2006, 2013), NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal (2007), Johnson’s Center Director Commendation (2017) and numerous Group Achievement Awards.

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