For The 1st Time, A Black Woman Will Lead A NASA Center

Vanessa Wyche has worked for NASA since 1989, and has held multiple key leadership positions with the agency. Now, she will be the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.


Richard Carson / REUTERS
Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” arrives at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston after the journey from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, June 3, 2012.

NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston has a new leader: Vanessa Wyche, who will be the first Black woman to serve as director of a NASA center.

She will lead the center’s efforts in human spaceflight missions, the nation's astronaut corps, International Space Station mission operations and the Orion Program.

"It is just an honor to know that I will have the opportunity to lead these efforts as we're moving forward,” she told a Houston ABC affiliate.

Bill Stafford - NASA - JSC
Vanessa Wyche, director of the NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

Wyche expressed gratitude and excitement at the opportunity to lead Johnson Space Center as it embarks on a new era of space flight and exploration.

"We'll have the opportunity to have robotic missions as well as human missions going to the moon and working in tandem together. So, yeah, now is an extremely exciting time,” she said.

Wyche has held multiple key leadership positions with NASA, as director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate and flight manager of several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program.

She began her career at the Johnson Space Center in 1989 and has received many prestigious awards, including two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and two NASA Achievement Medals.