Mark Geyer, the ex-head of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) as well as the program manager for the Orion program, died of cancer on December 7th. Geyer resigned as director of the JSC on May 3 after 3 years at the helm, citing the need to concentrate on his cancer treatment. He was a senior adviser to NASA associate administrator Bob Cabana at the time of his death.
In a statement, Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, said of Geyer, “Today, we grieve the passing of a powerhouse for human spaceflight as well as a beloved supporter of the NASA family.” “It’s difficult to exaggerate the impact he had.”
Geyer joined NASA in 1994 to work on the ISS (International Space Station) program and later served as the Constellation program’s deputy program manager from 2004 to 2007. He was then promoted to Orion program manager, a role he held until the year 2015. Before becoming director of JSC in May 2018, he served as JSC’s deputy director and technical’s acting deputy associate administrator in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Nelson credited Geyer for guiding the center at a time when human spaceflight opportunities were expanding thanks to the development of the commercial crew vehicles as well as the Artemis program, according to the statement. “That’s because Mark epitomized the American character,” he explained, “thinking that we should always explore further into the cosmos for the service of mankind.”
“Mark deserves a lot of the credit for NASA’s success with public-private collaborations. Mike Gold, a retired NASA associate administrator for the space policy and collaborations who is currently an executive vice president for the Redwire Space firm, said, “Mark was a great proponent for legal reforms to offer the agency with extra capabilities in order to proceed with greater zeal.” “Mark’s capacity to collaborate was fueled by his humanity, openness, and optimism.”
When Geyer resigned as JSC director, Vanessa Wyche, the center’s deputy director, took over on an interim basis, a post that the agency made permanent on June 30. “As the NASA family grieves his departure, we will continue to commemorate Mark’s legacy as an advocate of human spaceflight for everybody,” she said in a statement.
“To say Mark’s legacy will be accomplished for generations at the agency he loved dearly is not an exaggeration,” Nelson said. “When NASA space explorers return to the moon under the Artemis program and eventually prepare for human missions to Mars, Mark’s spirit will guide this new generation of explorers and adventurers.”