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James Free, Catherine Koerner Appointed to New Leadership Posts at NASA

Executive movement

James Free, Catherine Koerner Appointed to New Leadership Posts at NASA

Jim Free, associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, has been promoted to associate administrator of the agency, succeeding Robert Cabana, who is retiring at the end of 2023 after serving two years at the post.

Catherine Koerner, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, will succeed Free and assume responsibility for developing the Moon to Mars architecture and Artemis missions, NASA said.

Free will lead the agency’s center directors and mission directorate associate administrators when he assumes his new role. He will also serve as acting chief operating officer for an annual budget of over $25 billion and as senior adviser to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy, a 2023 Wash100 winner.

Free left NASA in 2017 after serving as the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s deputy associate administrator for technical. He spent time working in the private sector before rejoining the agency in 2021.

Meanwhile, Koerner previously served as Orion program manager at Johnson Space Center, overseeing the spacecraft’s design, development and testing.

She also served as director of the Human Health and Performance Directorate.

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Category: Space