- Press Release
- Feb 8, 2023
Four tapped for key positions at Marshall Center
James W. Kennedy has been named deputy director of NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., succeeding Carolyn Griner, who
retired Jan. 3.
Marshall Center Director Art Stephenson also tapped three others for
key positions at the Center: Axel Roth has been named associate director;
John W. Kilpatrick Jr. was appointed director of the Engineering
Directorate; and Dr. Jan Davis was chosen director of the Flight Projects
Kennedy, who joined the Marshall Center in 1969 when he transferred
as a cooperative education student from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., has
served as Marshall’s Center director of engineering since June 1999.
Previously, Kennedy served as deputy director and acting director
for the former Science and Engineering Directorate. A native of Riverdale,
Md., Kennedy has played an increasingly crucial role in NASA’s Space Shuttle
program and ultimately served as project manager of the Solid Rocket Booster
Project Office. Additionally, he was assigned to the Advanced Space
Transportation Project, where he served as project manager of the DC-XA and
Roth, in his position as associate director, will provide executive
leadership by reviewing and making decisions on overall Center management
policies. Prior to this appointment, Roth, a native of Darmstadt, Germany,
was director of the Flight Projects Directorate.
A charter member of the Marshall Center team, Roth has held a series
of increasingly responsible positions, including Payload Operations director
for the Spacelab-2 Mission; manager of the Operations Office and
Habitability Module Office, Space Station Projects Office; chief engineer of
Spacelab Payload Integration; deputy manager of the Space Station Projects
Office; deputy director and director of Program Development; and director of
the Flight Projects Directorate.
Kilpatrick, who will assume the duties previously performed by
Kennedy, served as deputy director of the Engineering Directorate prior to
A native of Chamblee, Ga., he joined Marshall in 1968 as an
aerospace engineer in the former Missions Operations Office. He has
contributed to such major programs as Skylab, Spacelab, the International
Space Station, and payload development in various laboratories within the
Science and Engineering Directorate.
In 1985, Kilpatrick was appointed team leader of the Flight
Requirements Team in the Systems Analysis and Integration Laboratory — the
first of numerous key positions within the former Science and Engineering
Directorate. He advanced in 1986 to chief of the Flight Operations Branch of
the laboratory, and in 1990 was named deputy chief of the Mission Systems
Division, as well as chief of the Operations Engineering Division – both
within the Mission Operations Laboratory. In 1998 Kilpatrick was named
director of the Systems Integration and Analysis Laboratory.
Davis — a former astronaut who flew on three Space Shuttle missions
— will assume Roth’s responsibilities as director of the Flight Projects
Directorate, where she previously served as deputy director.
A native of Huntsville, Davis began her career at Marshall in 1979
as an aerospace engineer. She subsequently supported major NASA programs and
projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray
Observatory, and the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission. In 1986, she
became a team lead and lead engineer for the redesign of the Shuttle Solid
Rocket Booster External Tank attach ring.
Davis was selected to join the astronaut corps in 1987. She spent
more than 670 hours in space over the course of her three flights: STS-47,
STS-60 and STS-85. While in the astronaut corps, she also served as the
Mission Development Branch chief in payloads, robotics and extravehicular
activity for the Space Shuttle. In 1998, Davis became the director of the
Human Exploration and Development of Space Independent Assurance Office for
She returned to Marshall in 1999 as deputy director of the Flight