SMA Leadership Profile: Michael Hess
October 05, 2021
The NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), NASA Safety Center, and Office of Safety and Mission Assurance all work to ensure the safety and mission success of NASA’s portfolio of programs and projects. While each has its own unique mission (see sidebar), collaboration and communication between these organizations is essential to NASA’s missions. As the new deputy director for safety for the NESC, Michael “Mike” Hess will work to strengthen the existing bridges between these organizations as the agency’s commercial partnerships and coordination with industry continue to evolve.
NASA Announces New Planetary Protection Officer
May 27, 2021
NASA named Dr. J. Nick Benardini as the agency Planetary Protection Officer within the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, effective June 7.
SMA Leadership Profile: Rick Nybakken
November 10, 2020
Sometimes, being on the outside provides perspective. That’s the case for Rick Nybakken, director for Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
“My career path has really helped to shape me: I’ve been at JPL for 35 years, and I’ve probably been in SMA for eight of those years,” explained Nybakken. “Working with Safety and Mission Assurance as a partner helped me understand the value since day one. That contributed to my desire to eventually work in SMA and gain a greater understanding from the inside.”
SMA Leadership Profile: Clifton Arnold
June 30, 2020
When asked about his new Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) role, Clifton Arnold joked that it came with many hats — in fact, more hats that he ever expected.
“The position expanded,” explained Arnold. “Pressure Systems included ground and flight pressure systems. With that, Lifting Devices was added, and then we included a special category called Propellants and Pressurants that deals with all propellants and inert gases.
SMA Leadership Profile: Grant Watson
June 22, 2020
Grant Watson unknowingly spent his entire career preparing for his new role, a role that didn’t even exist until this year. As the director of the newly-formed Institutional Safety Management Division of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, Watson’s 25 plus years in Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA), as well as his executive role as Langley Research Center’s SMA director, give him the knowledge and experience to succeed.
SMA Leadership Profile: Eric Isaac
November 13, 2019
What does it mean to be the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) director at Goddard Space Flight Center? According to the man himself, Eric Isaac, it’s as the title implies: it’s about being a leader that promotes keeping people safe and assuring the mission.
SMA Leadership Profile: Jennifer Kunz
October 16, 2019
Jennifer Kunz, Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) director at Kennedy Space Center, believes everyone should have a life quote that defines how he or she operates.
“You’ll hear something some time and it will resonate with you,” she explained. “When you hear it, write it down.”
Personally, she’s guided by
“When you’re good, you will tell people; when you’re great, they will tell you.”
SMA Leadership Profile: Tim Crumbley
May 06, 2019
In March, Crumbley stepped into a new role as the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance Software Assurance technical fellow. Crumbley is responsible for establishing the agency-level Software Assurance procedures, policies, training and requirements for NASA. Overall, Crumbley leads Software Assurance policy development and provides research program oversight, technical direction, and support for the agency and its partners.
Planetary Protection Welcomes New Deputy Officer
December 18, 2018
The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance recently named Elaine Seasly as the deputy Planetary Protection Officer. In this role, she will be supporting the Office of Planetary Protection in its efforts to promote the responsible exploration of the solar system by implementing and developing efforts that protect the science, explored environments and Earth.
SMA Leadership Profile: Harmony Myers
September 25, 2018
In June, Harmony Myers transitioned from serving as the System Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead to overseeing the NASA Safety Center (NSC) Technical Excellence Office (TEO). Myers is excited for her new role as director of TEO and already has plans on how to improve collaboration among the NSC’s four offices and across the agency.