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August 28, 2020

NASA appoints acting director of International Space Station

By Ellen Daniel

Robyn Gatens has been appointed by NASA as the acting director of the International Space Station.

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations announced that Gatens had been appointed as the former director Sam Scimemi begins a new role as a special assistant for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

“Robyn has demonstrated her leadership and strategic vision for the International Space Station and our efforts to enable a robust low-Earth orbit economy, and I am confident she will continue to do so as acting director,” said Lueders.

Prior to this, Gatens was the deputy director for the International Space Station, with responsibilities including day-to-day management, strategic planning and responding to an independent external review of the operations and management of the International Space Station US National Laboratory.

In addition, she was the systems capability leader for environmental control and life support and crew health and performance systems.

In her new role, for which she was appointed on 25 August, Gatens will lead strategy, policy, integration, and stakeholder engagement for the space station programme, working closely with the International Space Station Program Manager at at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

Gatens has been at NASA for 35 years, starting her career at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Her previous roles while at NASA have included systems lead for the International Space Station’s regenerative environmental control and life support system (ECLSS), ECLSS division chief, and manager for the Orion Crew Support and Thermal Systems. She has also been awarded NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Exceptional Achievement Medals. 

So far, 240 people from 19 countries have visited the station, which has been the location of more than 3,000 research investigations from researchers from 108 countries and areas.


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