September 17, 2004
Mr. Figueroa will provide an overview of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and the Vision for Space Exploration, including some of the technical and organizational challenges that NASA faces in implementing the goals and objectives of exploring the Moon, Mars, and beyond. He will also share highlights of NASA's recent science mission accomplishments, as well as preview upcoming programs and missions for the next decade.
Mr. Orlando Figueroa was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He obtained a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus in 1978, and completed advanced courses in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Federal Government since 1997. In August 2004, he was appointed to the position of Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Mr. Figueroa oversees all Programs and Projects in the Directorate, to ensure that they are organized and conducted for safety and success, and in a manner consistent with National, Agency, and Directorate policies. His past experience includes the position of Director for the Solar System Division in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Director for Mars Exploration, also in the Office of Space Science, NASA Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems Engineering, and 22 years at the Goddard Space Flight Center. His career at the Goddard Space Flight Center included: Head of the Cryogenics Technology Section; Lead Cryogenic Engineer for the Cryogenic Optical Assembly of the Cosmic Background Explorer; manager for the Superfluid Helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Shuttle Experiment; Manager for the Small Explorers project; manager for the Explorers Program; and Director of the Systems, Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate. Throughout his career, Mr. Figueroa has received numerous awards for Group Achievement, Outstanding Performance, and Exceptional Service in the Performance of duties as a Senior Executive, and received the President Rank Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Executive in 2001. He was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in March 1993 for the management of the SMEX Project. In 1994, he received the Community Stars Award from the Maryland Science Commission for his work and support of innovative education programs between NASA, industry and Maryland Schools. In 2002 he received the Pioneer Award from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation for his contribution to the advancement of science and technology and for promoting the education of our youth. In 2002, the Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one the most influential Hispanics in the Nation. He is the author of several technical publications in the field of cryogenics, the SMEX missions, and the Mars Exploration Program.