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NASA announced Wednesday that Administrator Bill Nelson has named Vanessa Wyche director of the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Wyche has served as the acting director of Johnson since May 3.

As Johnson’s director, Wyche will lead a center that is central to NASA’s human spaceflight missions and home to the nation’s astronaut corps, International Space Station mission operations, the Orion Program, and more. Wyche is the first African American woman to lead a NASA center.

“I’m humbled and honored to be chosen to lead the more than 10,000 employees at Johnson Space Center, who work each day to enhance scientific and technological knowledge via space exploration to benefit all of humankind,” Wyche said. “As the home to America’s astronaut corps, International Space Station mission operations, the Orion and Gateway programs, and a host of future space developments, Johnson is a world leader in human space exploration and is playing a key role in the next giant leaps in American excellence in space. I look forward to working with everyone as we push forward to the Moon and inspire a new generation of explorers to reach for the stars.”

Wyche, a 31-year NASA veteran has served as a flight manager for multiple space shuttle missions and has led other center-level technical and program organizations. Over the span of her career, she has held leadership positions in the Space Shuttle program, Constellation, Human Exploration Development Support Directorate, and the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate. Wyche has served as a co-executive sponsor of “Emerge,” an employee resource group for early-career employees.

Within her community, she is a passionate promoter of science, technology, engineer, and math (STEM), leading efforts to oversee an annual science fair at an underserved elementary school and supporting STEM-outreach activities via her affiliations with The Links, Incorporated, Boy Scouts of America and Jack and Jill of America.

A South Carolina native, Wyche graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in bioengineering. Before joining JSC in 1989, she worked for the Food and Drug Administration.

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