- Press Release
- August 15, 2022
Martin P. Kress Named Director of National Space Science and Technology Center
Martin P. Kress, a former deputy director at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, has been named executive director of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Founded in 2000, the National Space Science and Technology Center is jointly operated by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and the Alabama Space Science and Technology Alliance, a consortium of state research universities. Researchers at the science facility conduct cutting-edge scientific study in various disciplines, including Earth science, atmospheric science and climatology, space science, optics and information technology development. The center also fosters the education of future generations of scientists and engineers, and supports educators at the elementary and secondary levels through science-related programs, workshops and curricula support.
Kress most recently was vice president and relationship manager of the NASA/Space Group with the National Security Division of Battelle Science and Technology International in Columbus, Ohio. Battelle is a global, not-for-profit research enterprise that develops and commercializes technologies and manages laboratories nationwide for its government and industry customers.
The challenge of operating an innovative science and technology institute and helping expand its portfolio of research and activities is what motivated Kress to join the Huntsville science center, he said.
“The world is changing rapidly, and I see an opportunity for doing some very innovative things at the National Space Science and Technology Center,” Kress said. “Being a part of a team to help frame those changes and make it work is very exciting. I’m intrigued by the fact that we can create an innovative science and technology model well-aligned with the needs of NASA and other key federal agencies here in Huntsville.
“I also am very encouraged after meeting with the Marshall Center leadership and key university officials that they too fully support this transition,” Kress said. “This, combined with the opportunity to work with the talented folks at the space science and technology center and the participating universities, is what draws me to this job.”
Huntsville is the perfect environment to make those changes, he said. “This community is focused on the future, has phenomenal assets and has a great appreciation for science and technology. I am eager to be part of the Huntsville community and I hope that I can further expand the role of the National Space Science and Technology Center in the community’s strategic plans.”
“We’re pleased and honored to bring Marty Kress to Huntsville to lead the National Space Science and Technology Center,” said Marshall Center Director David King. “For five years, it has established itself as a leading national resource – conducting some of the most important scientific endeavors tied to NASA’s mission in space, while simultaneously supporting advancement of science and math education initiatives in Alabama.
“I’m confident Marty will use these foundational successes – and his own accomplished record as a manager and leader – to lead the space science and technology center toward even greater achievements,” King said.
Dr. Ron Greenwood, executive director of the Alabama Space Science and Technology Alliance, said Kress’s background should help the center flourish. “Mr. Kress brings a wealth of valuable experience that we believe will be of great benefit to Alabama and to the state’s research universities,” said Greenwood, who also serves as vice president for research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “As NASA moves forward with implementation of its space exploration initiative, the National Space Science and Technology Center and Alabama can play a critical role in the future of America’s space program.”
Kress joined Battelle in 1999 after serving more than 20 years in senior management and staff positions in NASA and the U.S. Senate. From 1995 to 1999, he was deputy director of Glenn Research Center – then known as Lewis Research Center. He also served at NASA Headquarters in Washington as deputy director of the National Wind Tunnel Program Office in 1994, and deputy director of the Space Station Freedom Program from 1992 to 1993. In the latter role, Kress managed operational planning for the proposed orbiting research facility, which later became the International Space Station.
He came to NASA in 1990, as associate administrator for legislative affairs in Washington, where he was responsible for formulating NASA’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill.
Prior to joining NASA, Kress served the U.S. Senate for more than a decade. From 1979 to 1983, he was the senior energy analyst on the Senate Budget Committee. From 1983 to 1990 he was the senior staff member of the Science, Technology and Space subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In the latter capacity, Kress served under former U.S. Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama, who was subcommittee chair at that time. That relationship, he said, means he comes to Huntsville with a good knowledge of the community and its key role in the nation’s civil and defense space activities.
Kress, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1970 from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He received a master’s degree in public administration in 1974 from Northeastern University in Boston. He earned a second master’s degree in management in 1995 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. He also has pursued doctoral coursework in political science at Georgetown University in Washington.
From 2004 to 2005, Kress was a visiting lecturer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he taught a course in science and technology policy. He is a past vice president for public policy for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a past member of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee and past member of the board of governors of the Sloan Fellows Program at MIT in Cambridge. Currently, he chairs the planning committee for the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Buckeye Regional, a high school robotics competition.
Kress and his wife, the former Maryellyn Bailey, will reside in the Huntsville area.
For more information about the National Space Science and Technology Center, visit:
For more information about science objectives at NASA’s Marshall Center, visit: