NASA announced the selection of N. Wayne Hale, Jr. as NASA's deputy associate administrator for strategic partnerships on Friday. John Shannon, a Mission Management Team chairman and Hale's deputy since November 2005, will succeed him as the Space Shuttle Program manager.
Wayne Hale and John Shannon together in Mission Control in 2001
"Wayne has done so much for the human spaceflight program and built a strong team. The momentum he created will continue," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "We know John will do an outstanding job as the program manager after his tremendous leadership as Wayne's deputy."
Hale has served as the manager of the Space Shuttle Program since September 2005. In his new position, he will work in Houston as a senior NASA official in the Space Operations Mission Directorate, providing strategic leadership to foster cooperative partnerships that help achieve NASA goals, build alliances across the public and private sectors, and improve U.S. competitiveness and economic growth.
As the Space Shuttle Program manager, Hale led the shuttle's Return to Flight missions, along with six subsequent flights that successfully continued construction of the International Space Station.
"John Shannon is completely ready to take the reins in NASA's most critical program," Hale said. "His leadership skills are well established, and the shuttle program will do well under his care."
As the manager of the shuttle program, Shannon will be responsible for overall management, integration, and operations. He began his NASA career as a flight control officer in the Mission Control Center in 1988.
Shannon was selected as the head of Space Shuttle Guidance, Navigation and Flight Control in 1992 and became a space shuttle flight director in 1993, supporting 58 shuttle missions. He holds the distinction of being the youngest flight director in NASA history. After serving as deputy director of the Columbia Task Force in 2003, Shannon was selected to create the Space Shuttle Program's Flight Operations and Integration Office.
Hale's new job is the latest in a career of more than three decades at NASA.
Before becoming the manager of Space Shuttle Program, Hale served as the program's deputy manager following the Columbia accident and chaired the program's Mission Management Team. Before that, he was the launch integration manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Hale began his career with NASA in the Propulsion Systems Section of Flight Operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, in 1978. He became a lead propulsion systems officer in Mission Control and later headed the Propulsion Systems Section from 1985 to 1988. Hale also oversaw flight control teams in Mission Control during all aspects of 40 space shuttle missions, including 28 overseeing the critical ascent and entry phases. His last two years as a flight director were spent as deputy chief flight director for shuttle operations.