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Dr. Kimberly Robinson Takes the Helm of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

From developing NASA’s space-faring ships to training the agency’s astronauts and addressing every manner of strategy and communications, Dr. Kimberly Robinson brings an impressive 31-year NASA career to help launch the “What if?” dreams and can-do spirit of thousands of youngsters who visit the Rocket Center each year. Robinson came onboard as the Rocket Center’s executive director and CEO in mid- February.

“I can point to the exact moment that inspired me to work as an engineer and led me to NASA,” said Robinson. “This Center is in the business of creating those moments of inspiration.” She added that joining the team is her way of paying it forward and positively influencing the next generation of space explorers and pioneers.

Dr. Robinson steps into the role at a time when leadership and teamwork are particularly important to mission success. “You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘build back better’ and I suspect that’s a goal for all of us after surviving the pandemic.” Robinson added that just as training comes before any NASA mission, her initial goals are to get to know the people and business of the Center while also proactively reaching out to external partners. Those steps will guide subsequent strategic planning for a rebuilding year and future growth.

Joe Newberry, chairman of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission, the Rocket Center’s governing board, noted that along with vast NASA experience, Dr. Robinson brings an innovative spirit and the leadership skills needed to guide future plans for the Center. “Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and brought her to the top of a rigorous and exhaustive search for our new executive director and CEO.”

“I’m particularly excited how the Rocket Center will emerge stronger just as Marshall Space Flight Center and Huntsville prepare to celebrate a major milestone in space exploration,” said Robinson. “This is called the Rocket City and in the next year we’re going to launch the first, giant rocket since the space shuttle. Artemis I is going to be a huge event and I’m excited to share that experience and to celebrate it at the Center!”

Robinson is the recipient of numerous NASA performance awards including an Exceptional Achievement Medal and a Silver Snoopy. She completed her Ph.D. and master’s degrees in engineering management and systems engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University.


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