Joseph Pelfrey is acting center director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He leads Marshall’s nearly 7,000 onsite and near-site civil serviceand contractor employees and oversees its annual budget of approximately $4 billion. He also helps guide Marshall's broad portfolio of human spaceflight, science, andtechnology development efforts, which touches nearlyevery mission NASA pursues. Pelfrey previously served as deputy center director since his appointment in April 2022.
Previously, Pelfrey was manager of Marshall’s Human Exploration Development and Operations Office from 2020-2022, overseeing management and implementation of Marshall's work portfolio in the areas of human exploration and transportation projects; habitation systems, payload and mission operations and integration; and International Space Station payload, facility, environmental control and life support systems project development and integration. He also served from 2018-2020 as deputy manager of that organization.
Throughout his NASA career, he has served in multiple technical leadership positions at Marshall. He began his career as an industry partner, supporting development of space station payload hardware, and joined Marshall full-time in 2004 as an aerospace engineer in the Science and Mission Systems Office. He went on to serve in various leadership roles within the ISS Program, overseeing the development, integration, and operations of multiple payload facilities and science experiments.
In 2008, Pelfrey joined Marshall's Engineering Directorate to serve as the design integration lead for the Ares I Upper Stage, the rocket that would inform development of NASA’s Space Launch System. In 2011, he was named engineering task manager for the Space Launch System’s Spacecraft/Payload Integration and Evolution Office and, subsequently, manager of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project at Marshall.
In 2012, Pelfrey was appointed deputy manager and then manager of the Exploration and Space Transportation Development Office in Marshall’s Flight Programs and Partnerships Office. In 2016, he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service post of associate director for operations in Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system covering most top managerial, supervisory and policy positions in the executive branch of the federal government.
A native of Cheraw, South Carolina, Pelfrey received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University. He resides in Huntsville, AL with his wife Nicole and daughter.
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