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Black woman to lead Johnson’s Space Center in Houston

DATE: 10-6-14LOCATION: Bldg 2s - PAO Studio ASUBJECT: Women@NASA project - Vanessa WychePHOTOGRAPHER: Lauren Harnett

Well women will definitely not be HIDDEN FIGURES behind space exploration anymore! That’s because NASA has promoted two women as directors of the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Proudly, one of them – Vanessa Wyche – is making history as the first woman and first person of color in her new role.

Wyche, an African American, will take the reins at JSC and Janet Petro will lead KSC as they prepare for the Artemis 1 launch to the moon scheduled for later this year.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said both women are exceptional leaders who will help propel NASA forward as we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before.

“It’s an incredible time at NASA, and with Vanessa and Janet leading the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, NASA will embark on a new era of space exploration,” Nelson said.

Before being named acting director on May 3, Wyche had served as deputy director of JSC since August 2018. Before that, the 31-year NASA veteran held other key leadership positions to include: assistant and deputy director of Johnson; director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate, flight manager of several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program, executive officer in the Office of the NASA Administrator, and led additional center-level technical and program organizations. Before joining NASA in 1989, Wyche worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington D.C.

Wyche is a native of South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Bioengineering from Clemson University. In recognition of her contributions to the engineering profession she was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University in 2019.

Wyche has received many prestigious awards including two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two NASA Achievement Medals, and is a “Women at NASA” awardee. She’s been recognized as a national “Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, an “Inspiring Woman from South Carolina” by Coastal Carolina University. She is a current fellow of the International Women’s Forum,

Wyche is married to George Wyche Jr. Esq, and has one son, George Wyche III.

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Wyche, who is being hailed as a tenacious leader who has broken down many barriers throughout her career, says she is “humbled and honored to be chosen to lead more than 10,000 employees at JSC as they push ahead to the moon and beyond.”


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