NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Janet Petro as the new director on Wednesday, making her the first woman to lead the Kennedy Space Center. She will be in charge of the spaceport at the centre, which will serve both commercial customers and NASA’s science and human exploration missions.
‘It’s an honor to be selected to lead Kennedy Space Center,’ Petro said. ‘Having grown up on Florida’s Space Coast and being the second generation in my family to work at Kennedy Space Center, it’s truly exciting to help grow the multi-user spaceport as we prepare for Artemis and continue launching commercial crew missions to the International Space Station.’
According to NASA, Wyche will lead a centre that is critical to the agency’s human spaceflight missions and houses the nation’s astronaut corps, International Space Station mission operations and the Orion Program, among other things. Petro had been the Kennedy Space Center’s deputy director since 2007 and was named acting director earlier this year after previous director Bob Cabana was promoted as NASA’s associate administrator.
Wyche said she is ‘honoured’ to take on the role and is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the space station. ‘ I believe we will see humans on Mars in the next 20 years’ she predicted. ‘Right now, we’re working on hardware systems that will allow us to travel deeper into the solar system than we’ve ever gone before.’
‘Both Vanessa and Janet are exceptional leaders who will help propel NASA forward as we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before,’ said Nelson. ‘It’s an incredible time at NASA, and with Vanessa and Janet leading the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, NASA will embark on a new era of space exploration – starting with the Artemis I launch to the Moon later this year.’