WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's springboard for discovery, innovation and deep space exploration has a new chief. The agency has named Kirk Shireman as the new manager of its International Space Station (ISS) Program, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, where Shireman has served as deputy center director since 2013.
"Kirk brings considerable space station experience to this new leadership role. He will manage the overall development, integration and operation of the program," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. "As program manager, Kirk will work directly with international partners to ensure safe and reliable operation of the orbiting laboratory, and foster continued scientific research that benefits humanity and helps prepare the agency for its journey to Mars."
Shireman served as deputy ISS program manager from 2006 to 2013, just prior to stepping into the position of deputy center director. He also served as the chair of the ISS Mission Management Team after managing several of its subsystem offices, and managed multiple offices for NASA's Space Shuttle Program. He earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University in College Station and began his career with NASA in 1985.
NASA has recognized Shireman with the agency's Exceptional Achievement Medal, Silver Snoopy award in 1990 and Presidential Rank Award in 2010. In 2013, the National Space Club awarded Shireman its Eagle Manned Mission Award for his outstanding leadership of the International Space Station.
Shireman succeeds Michael Suffredini, who is leaving the agency to take a position in private industry.
"During Mike's tenure, the international project successfully completed construction and transitioned into a fully functional microgravity laboratory," Gerstenmaier said. "Under his leadership, the station opened avenues for a new commercial marketplace in space and established a platform for groundbreaking research."
Since Suffredini became program manager in 2005, the space station has evolved to become the jumping-off point for NASA's next giant leap in exploration, enabling research and technology developments that will benefit human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars. To date, more than 1,700 research experiments have been conducted aboard the station, bringing together researchers from more than 80 countries in an effort to better the lives of all humanity.
Suffredini joined NASA in January 1989. He has a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
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