Press Release

NASA Promotes Howard Hu to Lead Orion Ahead of First Artemis Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
February 28, 2022
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NASA has selected Howard Hu as the Orion Program manager, based at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In this role, he will be responsible for the design, development, production, and operations of the agency’s Orion, which is poised to make its first uncrewed flight test around the Moon in the coming months. Hu begins his new position effective Monday.

Hu succeeds Catherine Koerner, who has accepted a position as deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“The Orion team is comprised of highly talented and dedicated individuals across NASA, the European Space Agency, and industry,” Hu said. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to help lead our teams as we are set to begin our Artemis voyages to deep space. With the upcoming Artemis I mission, we are on the cusp of another major milestone toward NASA’s goals of landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and preparing for human missions to Mars.”

Hu brings more than 30 years of NASA experience to this role, most recently serving as the Orion Program’s deputy manager. He has also served in a number of key Orion leadership positions, including manager of avionics, power, and software, as well as deputy manager of the Vehicle Integration Office. Prior to joining the Orion Program, Hu held several key technical and leadership positions in support of NASA human exploration initiatives, the International Space Station, and Space Shuttle Program.

“With Howard’s many years of technical and leadership experience within key NASA programs, I’m confident he will have a bright future leading the Orion team through the challenges and rewards of successfully sending the spacecraft and astronauts to the Moon,” said Vanessa Wyche, Johnson director. “Working with our partners, NASA is working to build a long-term human presence on and around the Moon that will benefit people on Earth.”

A native of Seattle, Hu holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Washington. Throughout his career, Hu has been recognized for his achievements, including two Johnson Director’s Innovation Awards, the Orion EFT-1 Outstanding Leadership Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Team Award, and the Johnson Director’s Commendation Award.

Orion, the Space Launch System, and Exploration Ground Systems programs are foundational elements of Artemis. NASA’s Artemis missions at the Moon will allow the agency and its partners to practice procedures and test technologies needed to explore farther into the solar system in preparation for human missions to Mars. 

For more information about Orion, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.