NASA Mars rocket program gets new chief

John Honeycutt has worked at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for nine years, serving in various positions on the space shuttle and Space Launch System programs.

John Honeycutt

The NASA program building a rocket to take astronauts to Mars has a new boss.

John Honeycutt, an engineer based at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was named Thursday as the head of the agency’s Space Launch System program. “SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built — able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars,” said the agency in a statement.

Honeycutt, currently the program’s deputy manager, succeeds Todd May, who in August was named deputy director of the Marshall Center.


“NASA has benefited from John’s management and leadership skills in a number of programs at Marshall over the years,” said center Director Patrick Scheuermann, “and I’m pleased he’ll be responsible for the continuing success of SLS, the next great vehicle to launch our human exploration space missions.”

Honeycutt began his NASA career at Marshall in 1999 after working for nine years as a contractor in support of the space shuttle Program, the International Space Station and other NASA programs, the agency said. At Marshall, he served in various positions on the space shuttle and SLS programs.

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