When NASA Marshall Space Flight Center director asked who might be interested in her managers' great work on the US's return to the moon, Lisa Watson-Morgan said she had a look around her office.
Watson-Morgan's father was a graphic designer with Marshall in the 1960s, when Wernher von Braun headed the center. Her father's illustrations hang on her office walls today. One of these illustrations was a crew module.
"It just seemed like a natural fit and a wonderful opportunity," Watson-Morgan said Friday when NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced her as head of the team for which the lander will be built. In 2024, astronauts hit the lunar surface spun.
The lander remained a small link in the Trump Administration's vision of returning to the moon quickly. NASA has been working on a missile system that can reach both the Moon and Mars, but the lander has also had to move.
Employees across NASA have been working on some issues. Now they are a formal team of 360 members and have a leader in Watson-Morgan.
When she feels the pressure of the job and the limelight, Watson-Morgan did not show it Friday in Marshall when she was featured on NASA's TV World. She smiled widely as she shook Bridenstein's hand as she walked to the podium.
She has the qualifications to feel confident. Watson-Morgan is a 30-year-old NASA veteran who earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama in 1
She received NASA's highest honor, including a Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2018, a Medal for Exceptional Achievement in 2010, and a Medal for Exceptional Achievement in 2001.
She and her husband have three children and live in Huntsville, her hometown. US Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, praised her appointment on Friday.
"It is poetic that the birthplace of the American Space Program is also the birthplace of the project manager who will lead this effort …" he said. "She was born in our community and attended Butler High School.
" She is in a position to take on this project, "Brooks said.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine agreed." Watson-Morgan is " He has risen through the ranks "and" has a lot of credibility with the tallest people at NASA, "he said." We are very proud of them and the great work they do. "
This is a common opinion, Eric Berger a respected aerospace author for the site ars technica brought word that Marshall had landed the lander program and Watson-Morgan would head it, calling it "a senior engineer in the center who, according to sources in Texas and Alabama has an excellent reputation and is considered a good manager. "
Watson-Morgan's new job will be to manage the staff of several NASA centers in one workplace, which she will use Friday as a" ferry system ". and calling the crew ". However, your team will also be carrying out new tests on technologies such as automated landing and navigation lidar (laser range finding). Astronauts need these tools on Mars so they can not get home quickly in case of problems.
There is a lot to do and not much time, but Watson-Morgan was thrilled with her mission. "We're landing in a completely different place, and that's really crucial," she said. "The sun angles are completely different, so the landing will be completely different."
She rejected the argument "that was done" about the moon mission with the mind and logic for which it is known. "It's like saying I was in the plains so I do not have to go to the Grand Canyon," she said.
Watson-Morgan wants her team to "bring together industry's speed with NASA's security expertise to reduce risk." The government employees will also keep "a vision in the eye of Mars and the future" while the rest She is also not worried about the competition between Marshall and the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston for leadership, pointing out that Johnson has the lead when it comes to it is going to drive astronauts out of the moon after their mission.
"I have many friends at the Johnson Space Center," she said.