Bob Cabana, who has been director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center since 2008, has taken on the new role of agency associate administrator beginning May 17. He succeeds Steve Jurczyk, who retired May 14 after 32 years with NASA.
“I first met Bob in 1985 while training to fly on the space shuttle and when Bob arrived at NASA as an astronaut candidate,” NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson said. “He has a relentless determination to expand America’s role in space.”
As Kennedy director, Cabana managed all NASA programs and activities at the spaceport. Kennedy’s team of civil service and contractor employees operate some of NASA’s most critical programs, including the Commercial Crew Program. Under Cabana’s leadership, Kennedy emerged as a modern, world-class multiuser spaceport, partnering with commercial customers and supporting NASA’s science and human exploration missions.
A veteran of four space shuttle missions, Cabana logged 38 days in space, serving as the pilot on STS-41 and STS-53 and mission commander on STS-65 and STS-88. His fourth flight was the first assembly mission of the International Space Station in December 1998. He went on to become deputy director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center before being reassigned to Kennedy.
Cabana graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971 with a degree in mathematics. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps and completed Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola, Florida, in 1972. He was designated a naval aviator in September 1976 and went on to log over 7,000 hours of flight time in more than 50 aircraft types.
“Bob is the real deal,” Nelson said. “He has the vision and management skills to bring NASA to even higher heights, and I’m excited to see all he will accomplish as associate administrator.”
Jurczyk had been associate administrator since May 2018, and was acting administrator from Jan. 20 to May 3 of this year. He oversaw the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars, a successful Green Run test of the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket, the naming of the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building, the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 to the International Space Station, and the return of Crew-1 back to Earth.
Before being named associate administrator, Jurczyk’s roles included associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate and director and deputy director of NASA’s Langley Research Center.
“It has been an honor to lead NASA and see the agency’s incredible growth and transformation throughout my time here,” Jurczyk said. “The NASA workforce is what makes this agency so special, and I’m incredibly grateful for their amazing work, especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic. At NASA, we turn dreams into reality, and make the seemingly impossible possible. I am so fortunate to have been a member of the NASA family.”
Cabana joins a senior NASA headquarters team that includes: Pam Melroy, nominee for deputy administrator; Margaret Vo Schaus, nominee for chief financial officer; Bhavya Lal, senior advisor for budget and finance; Marc Etkind, associate administrator for communications; Alicia Brown, associate administrator for legislative and interagency affairs; and Susie Perez Quinn, chief of staff.
Janet Petro, who has been deputy director at Kennedy since 2007, will be the center’s acting director.