Press Release

James Free Named Glenn’s Space Flight Systems Director

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2009
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CLEVELAND – NASA’s Glenn Research Center Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. recently named James M. Free as the new director of the Space Flight Systems Directorate.

In his new position, he oversees more than 100 civil servants, supported by approximately 75 contractor employees. This Directorate is responsible for managing Glenn’s activities that include significant roles in the agency’s Constellation, Space Shuttle and International Space Station, Human Research and Science Programs.

“Jim is exceptionally qualified for this position,” said Whitlow. “His technical expertise and leadership capabilities will serve to keep Glenn in a position of strength for meeting the nation’s space exploration goals.”

Prior to this appointment, Free served as chief of Glenn’s Orion Project Office, responsible for projects including the Orion Service Module design and development, space environmental testing facility project and development of seals for Orion’s new low impact docking system. Orion is NASA’s next generation human space transportation vehicle.

Before joining Glenn in 1999, Free began his career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., working in various capacities on Earth observing and communications spacecraft. At Glenn, he developed electric actuation technologies for the Next Generation Launch Technology Project and served as International Space Station liaison for the Fluids and Combustion Facility. More recently, Free served as the Orion Service Module manager and as the Orion Test & Verification manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Free earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s degree in space systems engineering from Delft University, the Netherlands.

A print quality photo of Free is at:

SpaceRef staff editor.