Press Release

Keith Hefner Named Space Launch System Program Planning and Control Office Manager

By SpaceRef Editor
November 15, 2012
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Keith Hefner has been named to the Senior Executive Service, or SES, position of manager of the Program Planning and Control Office for NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, Program at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. In this position, he will formulate and execute all SLS resource plans, laying the foundation for efficient and affordable management of the largest rocket ever built.

The SES is the personnel system covering top managerial positions in approximately 75 federal agencies.

Hefner also will serve as liaison among the program, center and agency to develop resource requirements and implement strict budget and schedule controls to deliver a launch vehicle fulfilling NASA’s performance requirements within the target schedule and budget.

The Space Launch System is an advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle allowing science and human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. Managed by the Marshall Center, SLS will give the nation a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching beyond our current limits and open new doors of discovery from the unique vantage point of space.

Hefner previously served as manager of the Science and Space Technology Projects Office within the Science and Technology Office where he oversaw a portfolio of programs and projects, including an annual budget of approximately $100 million and a combined workforce of over 300 civil service and contractor scientists, engineers and administrative staff. He also had responsibility for the Marshall Center’s X-Ray and Cryogenic Facility, currently being used to test major James Webb Space Telescope hardware elements.

Starting in 2002 until his appointment to SLS, Hefner served as the Chandra X-ray Observatory Program manager, responsible for planning, budgeting and managing Chandra operations. From 2006 to 2011, in addition to his Chandra responsibilities, he led the new Space Systems Programs and Projects Office within the Science and Mission Systems Office, overseeing the planning, scheduling resources, support requirements, management systems and concepts required for managing the Chandra Program; as well as the Hinode Project — an international collaboration with the Japanese Space Agency; the James Webb Telescope test activities; and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor Project.

In 1986, he was assigned to the Observatory Projects Office, where he specialized in project and resource management with the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope programs. He served as the Chandra Program Control lead throughout the development phase of the program and into the early operations phase.

Hefner joined NASA in 1985 and was assigned to the Program Development Directorate as a program control engineer trainee. After completing this training program, he was assigned to the Observatory Projects Office where he initially supported the Hubble Space Telescope Program until its launch in 1990.

Hefner has distinguished himself throughout NASA and other federal agencies as a subject-matter expert in financial management and program and project management. He possesses extensive experience developing life cycle cost estimates and detailed phasing plans and has formulated, executed and overseen budgets ranging from small activities to major programs in excess of $3 billion. Hefner routinely provided programmatic advice and guidance and serves as an expert consultant on such projects and programs as Chandra and James Webb Space Telescope.

For his service to the space program, Hefner has received numerous awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, a Space Flight Awareness Award, the Silver Snoopy Award, multiple Center Director Commendations, and numerous group achievement awards.

A native of Boaz, Ala., Hefner attended Snead State Community College in Boaz and graduated in 1984 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. He resides in Huntsville.

SpaceRef staff editor.