William H. Gerstenmaier, BSAAE'77; OAE'03; DEA'07 leads new NASA human spaceflight unit

Purdue alumnus William H. Gerstenmaier, BSAAE'77; OAE'03; DEA'07 has been appointed to lead NASA's new Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate.

Purdue alumnus William H. Gerstenmaier, BSAAE’77; OAE’03; DEA’07 has been appointed to lead NASA's new Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate.

The new organization, which combines the talents, skills and experiences of Space Operations and Exploration Systems mission directorates, will focus on International Space Station operations and human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. It more fully integrates the operation of NASA's in-space assets and current capabilities with planning for the agency's future, including the size and type of the work force, facilities and contracts.

The directorate also will manage commercial crew and cargo developmental programs; construction of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a spacecraft designed to travel beyond low Earth orbit; development of a new heavy lift rocket, known as the Space Launch System; and other programs within the directorates.

Gerstenmaier received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1977 and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio, in 1981. In 1993, he completed course work at Purdue for a doctorate in dynamics and control, with a minor in propulsion. Gerstenmaier previously served as the associate administrator for Space Operations.