Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center appoints first female director

Update: August 11, 2023

Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center appoints first female director

Goddard’s range of missions support scientific disciplines including Earth science, solar science and the sun-Earth environment, planetary studies and astrophysics. It is, for example, the operational home of the Hubble Space Telescope.

With a workforce of 10,000, both civil servants and contractors, Nasa describes it as the United States’ largest concentration of scientists, engineers and technologists dedicated to Earth and space science.

“Makenzie is a natural leader, bringing to Goddard a scientist’s drive for discovery along with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As center director, she will lead a world-renowned team of scientists, engineers, and technologists focused on Earth and space science.”

“Under her leadership, the Goddard workforce will continue to inspire, innovate, and explore the unknown for the benefit of all. I’d also like to thank Dave Mitchell for serving as acting center director since January and ensuring a seamless transition. We look forward to Dave resuming his role at headquarters.”

Prior to NASA, Lystrup was vice president and general manager of Ball Aerospace’s Civil Space Strategic Business Unit, responsible for the company’s civil space systems spanning fields such as operational weather and Earth observation.

In this role, she led Ball’s contributions to missions such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), Landsat 9, and the Roman Space Telescope. More information on Lystrup can be found online.

Pictured above, Lystrup poses for a photo following her swearing-in ceremony last week at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington DC.

One of the agency’s largest field centers, Goddard includes its primary campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification & Validation Facility in West Virginia, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the White Sands Complex in New Mexico, and the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Texas.

See also: Picture of the day: NIRSpec’s microshutter array captures early Universe

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