Press Release

Rae Ann Meyer Named Deputy Manager of In-space Propulsion Technology Projects Office at NASA MSFC

By SpaceRef Editor
April 14, 2004
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Rae Ann Meyer has been named deputy manager of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Projects Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The office, part of the Space Transportation Directorate at Marshall, is responsible for researching and developing alternative propulsion systems that one day could carry scientific missions to any point in the Solar System — faster and with more capability than ever before.

“The work being done by our team in the In-Space Technology Projects Office is inspiring because it’s the first step toward exploring our Solar System, including Mars and beyond,” says Meyer, who has served as technical assistant for the office since 2003. “We have the potential propulsion technology that could significantly enhance our scientific return on investment and offer new direction in space exploration.”

In her new position, Meyer shares responsibility with Manager Les Johnson for overseeing all technical development efforts within the office, including feasibility assessment, definition and design of advanced in-space propulsion technologies. These technologies include aerocapture, advanced chemical propulsion, electric propulsion, solar sails and new or “emerging” propulsion technologies, such as tethers or ultra-light solar sails.

“Rae Ann shares the vision for the next generation of in-space propulsion technologies,” Johnson says. “Solar sailing between planets, ion propulsion systems sending robotic probes to the edges of the Solar System — Rae Ann will be a key leader in making these technologies a reality.”

Meyer joined the NASA team as an electrical engineer in 1989, initially responsible for the integration and testing of high-powered propulsion systems in the Marshall Center’s Propulsion Laboratory. She became team leader in 1997.

Since then, Meyer has held several management positions, including assistant manager of the Space Transfer Technology Project at Marshall from 2000 to 2002. She planned and managed the funding for in-space technology development areas — simulated fission, electrical, solar thermal and advanced chemical propulsion — at NASA centers nationwide.

In 2002, Meyer was named technical assistant to the Space Transportation’s in-space investment area, which in 2003 became the In-Space Technology Projects Office. Meyer continued to serve as technical assistant to the projects office until her recent appointment as deputy manager.

A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Meyer graduated from Hixson High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1989 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Meyer has received numerous NASA honors and awards, including NASA Special Service Awards in 2002 and 2003 for helping to lay the groundwork for the creation of the In-Space Technology Projects Office. She received a Space Act Board Award in 1995 from the NASA Inventions and Contributions Board for the invention of high power electromechanical actuators to provide thrust vector control of engine nozzles. The actuators provided a potential replacement for hydraulic systems.

Meyer and her husband reside with their two children in Madison, Ala.

SpaceRef staff editor.