Todd May

Dedicated to Space Exploration

Inducted in 2017

In a career dedicated to exploring space, Todd May has worked on two of the highest profile space projects of his generation, along the way becoming the most senior NASA official in the state of Alabama. May is director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, managing a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions contributing to the nation’s space program.

A native of Fairhope, May graduate from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering in 1990. He joined NASA at Marshall soon after as an engineer in the Materials and Processes Laboratory.

Four years later, he was deputy program manager of the Russian Integration Office for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and subsequently given the task of successfully integrating, launching and commissioning the ISS Quest airlock module.

After demonstrating both engineering and management success on the ISS, May then led development of several high-visibility scientific experiments at NASA. He joined the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity. With a successful launch, he moved on to head the Discovery and New Frontiers Science Program, with the responsibility for Space Solar Science experiments throughout NASA and the scientific community. He went on to work as associate manager for the Constellation Program and was also responsible for non-launch vehicle programs at Marshall.

His success led him to become deputy associate administrator at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. from 2007 to 2008. He was over the Science Mission Directorate, responsible for a $5 billion portfolio of robotic programs and projects, including more than 100 spacecraft at various development stages. He returned to Marshall as associate director, technical, to ensure all center activities, processes and policies were consistent with the nation’s Space Exploration Policy.

In 2011, May was tapped to be the Program Manager of the Space Launch System, the nation’s ambitious project to build the world’s most powerful rocket to carry astronauts on deep space missions to an asteroid and, ultimately, Mars. While at Marshall he led SLS through a series of milestones, guiding the program through the early concept development phase into the design phase.

While guiding Marshall’s largest project, May was selected as deputy director of Marshall in 2015 before appointed as director of the center in early 2016. He heads one of the NASA’s largest field installations with close to a $2.5 billion budget and nearly 6,000 civil service and contractor employees in and around Marshall as well as those as the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

He is a decorated NASA employee, selected for several NASA awards including 2016 AIAA Von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management, Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, Outstanding Leadership Medal and the John W. Hager Award. He is also honored by Auburn University as a Distinguished Engineer.

May is an advocate for human and scientific space exploration, and has served as NASA’s voice at several high-priority gatherings such as the International Astronautical Congress, the AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference, the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference and the inaugural Global Exploration Strategy Workshop.

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