- Press Release
- Dec 7, 2022
James Turner Named to Senior Executive Service as Deputy Manager of Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems at NASA’s Marshall Center
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – James Turner has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service position of deputy manager in the Engineering Directorate’s Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system covering top managerial positions in some 75 federal agencies.
In his new position, Turner will help manage the integrated technical design, development, test and evaluation of spacecraft and vehicle systems assigned to the Marshall Center. From advanced materials to systems engineering, Marshall has the unique expertise to develop and operate the space systems America needs to get back to the moon.
Throughout his 25-year NASA career, Turner has made significant contributions to NASA’s space exploration and manned spaceflight programs. He began his career at Marshall in 1981 as an engineering aide in the Reliability and Quality Assurance Office. In 1983, he became a full-time quality engineer, assisting in the investigation of nozzle erosion on shuttle solid rocket motors. He also served as the onsite quality representative for the Hubble Space Telescope Project at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.
Turner joined the Marshall Center’s Materials and Processes Laboratory in 1985 and has held increasingly challenging technical and managerial positions, including executive assistant to the Marshall Center director from 1991 to 1993; Space Shuttle Main Engine Project engineer from 1993 to 1996; chief engineer of the Advanced Reusable Transportation Technologies Project from 1996 to 1999 and the project’s manager from 1999 to 2000.
In June 2000, Turner was selected to serve as deputy manager of the Subsystem and Component Department in the Marshall Center’s Engineering Directorate and in 2005 was named chief of operations for the Propulsion Systems Department, supervising approximately 400 civil servants and contractor employees and managing a budget in excess of $30 million.
As lead engineer for NASA’s Constellation Launch Abort System Smart Buyer Team from January through April, 2006, he led a team of 40 engineers from across the agency developing a design of a launch abort system for the Ares I rocket. Ares I, NASA’s newest launch vehicle, will send crew members on board the Orion crew launch vehicle into space, paving the way for NASA’s new human exploration endeavor to the moon and beyond.
Turner received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in materials engineering, both from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. He has received numerous awards, including NASA’s Medal for Outstanding Leadership, Space Flight Awareness Award, and two Invention Awards. He is a graduate of NASA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, and has completed high-level management courses at the University of Texas at Austin Institute for Managerial Leadership, the Brookings Institution in Washington, Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University in Washington.
A native of Huntsville, Turner and his wife, the former Susan Gattis, have one son Eric, and reside in Huntsville.