NASA Names New Goddard Space Flight Center Director


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has sworn in Makenzie Lystrup as the new director of the Goddard Space Flight Center. She succeeds acting center director Dave Mitchell, who has held the position since January 2023 and will be returning to his previous role as chief program management officer at NASA headquarters. NASA noted that Goddard is one of its largest field centers, employing more than 10,000 people and having responsibility for the “oversight and execution of a $4 billion portfolio.”

“Makenzie is a natural leader, bringing to Goddard a scientist’s drive for discovery along with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge,” said 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.”

Lystrup holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Portland State University and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from University College London. She previously worked as vice president and general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace where she is credited with leading the company’s participation in projects including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), Landsat 9 and the Roman Space Telescope. In addition, she has served on boards and committees for organizations such as the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the University of Colorado and the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Lystrup! I wonder what the history is behind having the appointee place their hand on, in this case, the Carl Sagan book “Pale Blue Dot”. There must be some interesting tradition there. In any case, keep cranking out spectacular science and exploration spacecraft!!

  2. I can’t think of a better “bible” for that organization.

    As for “appointees in this administration”: apparently you are so partisan (or deluded) that you think the previous ones were better. The previous guy left half of those positions empty to save money, and run by “acting” bureaucrats. We’ll be digging out of that hole for years.