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NASA Deputy Administrator tours Marshall’s Composites Center

Robotic arm at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Composites facility photo credit Scott Johnson SpaceFlight Insider

New robotic composite fiber placement system at Marshall Space Flight Center’s Composites Technology Center. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA’s new Deputy Administrator, Dava Newman, completed a tour of the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) located in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, she, along with other NASA officials, reviewed the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing Composites Technology Center and the innovative systems being utilized there.

NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman discusses NASA's deep space exploration efforts during a tour held on Aug. 6. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider

NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider

Newman, who was selected by President Barack Obama as a replacement for Lori Garver in the number two position with the space agency in October of 2014, conducted her tour on Thursday, Aug. 6 at around 2:30 p.m. CDT.

The Composites Technology Center has a newly installed robotic fiber placement system which, among other things, may produce components for NASA’s new super heavy-lift booster, the Space Launch System (SLS).

Newman was joined by NASA’s Senior Technical Officer, Jeffrey Sheehy, who is based out of the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters and MSFC Director Patrick Scheuermann.

They, along with the Director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate Chris Singer, and NASA’s Manager for Advanced Manufacturing, John Vickers, reviewed the technology that the agency hopes to use to construct the vehicles which will return NASA astronauts to the business of space exploration.

Since the close of the Space Shuttle Program in the summer of 2011, NASA has worked to modernize many of the systems and facilities under its purview. It has also reaffirmed existing ties within the aerospace industry – and established new ones.

As the agency continues to enable commercial industries to transport crews to the International Space Station, it will, in turn, work to regain the capability of sending crews to destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

While the space agency has no directive as specific as President Kennedy’s mandate to send astronauts to the Moon, or as under the now-cancelled Vision for Space Exploration, it has been directed to carry out an Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) sometime in the 2020s and has made numerous statements about sending crews to Mars sometime in the 2030s.

NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman discusses NASA's deep space exploration efforts during a tour held on Aug. 6. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider

NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman discusses NASA’s deep space exploration efforts during a tour held on Aug. 6. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider

 

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Scott earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in public administration, and a law degree, from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Scott first remembers visiting Marshall Space Flight Center in 1978 to get an up-close look at the first orbiter, Enterprise, which had been transported to Huntsville for dynamic testing. More recently, in 2006, he participated in an effort at the United States Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) to restore the long-neglected Skylab 1-G Trainer. This led to a volunteer position, with the USSRC curator, where he worked for several years maintaining exhibits and archival material, including flown space hardware.

Scott attended the STS – 110, 116 and 135 shuttle launches, along with Ares I-X, Atlas V MSL and Delta IV NROL-15 launches. More recently, he covered the Atlas V SBIRS GEO-2 and MAVEN launches, along with the Antares ORB-1, SpaceX CRS-3, and Orion EFT-1 launches.

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