Bob Cabana to replace Jurczyk as NASA associate administrator

Bob Cabana, a former astronaut and long-time leader of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, will take the position of NASA associate administrator later this month, replacing Steve Jurczyk.

In distinct announcements on May 10, NASA says that Jurczyk will retire from the organization in effect from May 14. Cabana will take the position of associate administrator, the highest civil service status at the organization, on May 17.

Jurczyk has been an associate administrator ever since May 2018. He serves as the organization’s interim administrator from Jan. 20 to May 3, when Bill Nelson was on oath into office as an administrator. Jurczyk spends 32 years at NASA, comprising time as an executive of the Langley Research Center and associate administrator for space technology.

“It remains an honor to take the lead at NASA and watch the organization’s phenomenal growth and revolution throughout my time here,” Jurczyk says in a statement about his retirement. “I am so lucky to have been a representative of the NASA family.”

Cabana, a U.S. Navy test pilot, joins NASA as a space traveler in 1985. He flies on four shuttle operations from 1990 through 1998, containing commanding STS-88, the first shuttle operation. The mission devotes to the construction of the International Space Station. He was later assistant director of the Johnson Space Center and chief of the Stennis Space Center prior to being named to lead KSC in 2008.

Cabana has been extensively touted for leading a revolution of KSC following the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011. This converts the center into a “multi-user spaceport” with tenants such as:

  • Blue Origin
  • Boeing
  • SpaceX

“This shift was not simple; however, it was compulsory,” he says at a Space Transportation Association webinar on May 6. “It was a reiterative procedure. We had this concept, and we got the squad to buy into the concept and own it.”

“Under his guidance, Kennedy has become known as a modern, world-class multi-user spaceport, associating with commercial consumers. Also, encouraging NASA’s science and human discovery operations,” Nelson says of Cabana in an announcement. “Bob is the actual pact — he has the concept and administration skills to make NASA to much greater heights.”

Janet Petro, deputy director of KSC since 2007, will take charge as acting director of the center after Cabana quits.

The promotion of Cabana to associate administrator is the newest in a series of executive rearranges tied to the new administration and the new administrator. NASA says on May 5 that Susie Perez Quinn, who was chief of human resources to Nelson when he was a governor, will be NASA chief of the workforce. Bhavya Lal, acting NASA chief of staff ever since the launch of the Biden administration in January, is now a senior consultant for budget and finance.

“NASA is in a new age of infinite opportunities as we mission out to discover the cosmos,” Nelson says in a memo to NASA workers soon after staying on oath as administrator past week. “We are moving to land the first woman and individual of color on the Moon and, ultimately, put American boots on Mars.”

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