- Press Release
- August 7, 2022
Leaders Named for New NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC)
NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe announced the team that
will lead the new NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).
The NESC is an independent organization, chartered in the wake
of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, which will coordinate
and conduct robust engineering testing and safety assessments
to support critical NASA projects and programs.
“I based the NASA Engineering and Safety Center at the
agency’s original field center, the Langley Research Center in
Hampton, Virginia, and I tasked Langley’s Director Roy Bridges
to get it up and running,” said Administrator O’Keefe. “Roy
has assembled a dynamic group of recognized experts in the
fields of engineering analysis and risk mitigation, and the
NESC is open for business.”
Ralph Roe Jr. is the Director of the NESC. Roe is a former
manager of the Space Shuttle vehicle engineering office at the
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston. The Deputy Director is Dr.
Paul M. Munafo, former manager of materials, processes and
manufacturing at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC),
Huntsville, Ala. The Deputy Director for Safety is Larry
Crawford, former director of research engineering at the NASA
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
“Their combined 90-plus years of experience in engineering,
engineering analyses and problem resolution will ensure the
agency is bolstering its assessment capability and
strengthening safety policies, processes and analysis
capabilities as recommended by the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board,” Bridges said.
Roe began his NASA career as a propulsion-system test engineer
at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and later became Space
Shuttle launch director. Under Munafo’s leadership, MSFC
achieved a national reputation for the analysis and resolution
of hardware problems in flight systems. Crawford has held key
safety positions in the Army Materiel Command, at three Army
field sites and as NASA Director of Safety.
Operationally, the NESC falls under the responsibility of
NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA.) “The
NESC represents an important enhancement to the agency’s
safety and engineering oversight capabilities,” said former
astronaut and NASA’s Associate Administrator for OSMA, Bryan
As chartered, the NESC workforce will be supplemented through
partnerships with other federal agencies, national
laboratories, industry, the military and academia.
Areas for independent assessment will be carefully selected
and managed with a strong focus on customer needs. Work will
be prioritized based on technical risk, the need for
independence and the potential for value-added contribution.
For more information about NASA and agency programs on the
For more information about the NESC on the Internet, visit: