Leadership Team

The Office of the Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is responsible for directing and overseeing the nation’s space research program in Earth and space science. The Directorate engages the external and internal science community to define and prioritize science questions and seeks to expand the frontiers of four broad scientific pursuits: Earth Science, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics.

Through a variety of robotic observatory and explorer craft, and through sponsored research, the Directorate provides virtual human access to the farthest reaches of space and time, as well as practical information about changes on our home planet.

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator 

Portrait photo of Thomas Zurbuchen

Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen is the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the Agency’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Previously, Dr. Zurbuchen was a professor of space science and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was also was the university’s founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering.

Dennis Andrucyk, Deputy Associate Administrator

Dennis Andrucyk, Deputy Associate Administrator

Dennis Andrucyk is the deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Previously, he served as NASA’s acting chief technologist and as deputy associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Prior to joining STMD, Andrucyk held many positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, including Director of the Applied Engineering & Technology Directorate, Chief of the Software Engineering Division, and Chief of the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division.

Michael New, Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Research 

Photo portrait of Michael New

Dr. Michael New is the Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Research within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Principal responsibilities encompass: ensuring scientific quality and integrity of research processes, including oversight of SMD scientific competition processes for research awards and flight programs; representing SMD research goals, policies and programs inside and outside NASA; overseeing SMD’s relationship with the National Research Council; and managing Directorate-level coordination of suborbital-class flight programs.

Gregory Robinson, Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs 


Gregory L. Robinson is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD). He is responsible for assessing NASA programs, projects and institutions for technical and cost effectiveness, quality, and performance. He also coordinates program and project content with the other NASA Mission Directorates, and federal agencies in which SMD has partnerships. SMD has a portfolio of 97 missions in formulation, development, and operations.


Roy Maizel, Deputy Associate Administrator for Management 


Roy A. Maizel is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Management, responsible for the formulation and execution of the Directorate’s $5+ billion budget, as well as the guidance and oversight of all strategic planning and policy development activities. He is also responsible for the provision of administrative support to the Directorate's approximately 200-person Headquarters organization.


Eric Smith, James Webb Program Director 


Dr. Eric Smith is the James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Program Director at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. He works with the Webb Project during the observatory’s development to keep NASA Headquarters management and external partners, both international and intergovernmental, apprised of how the developing hardware measures up against costs, schedules, and science requirements.


Michael Seablom, Chief Technologist 


Michael Seablom is the Chief Technologist for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He has the responsibility for surveying and assessing technology needs for the Heliophysics, Astrophysics, Earth Science, and Planetary Science Divisions, and is the primary liaison to the NASA Office of Chief Technologist and the Space Technology Mission Directorate.


Division Directors

The SMD division directors play a significant role in support of NASA scientists both at Headquarters and at NASA centers, universities, institutes and partner agencies the world over.

Michael Freilich, Earth Science Director


Dr. Michael H. Freilich received BS degrees in Physics (Honors) and Chemistry from Haverford College in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Univ. of CA., San Diego) in 1982. Dr. Freilich is now the Director of the Earth Science Division.


Jim Green, Planetary Science Director

Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green

Dr. Green received his Ph.D. in Space Physics from the University of Iowa in 1979 and began working in the Magnetospheric Physics Branch at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in 1980. In August 2006, Dr. Green became the Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.


Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Director

Dr. Paul Hertz

Dr. Paul Hertz was named Director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA in March 2012. He is responsible for the Agency's research programs and missions necessary to discover how the universe works, explore how the universe began and developed into its present form, and search for Earth-like planets.


Peg Luce, Heliophysics Division Director (Acting)

Deputy Division Director Earth Science Peg Luce

Margaret (Peg) Luce is the acting Heliophysics Division Director in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. Previously, she was the Earth Sciences Division Deputy Director where she provided oversight and advice on a portfolio of missions that advances technologies, flight, research, and Earth applications to increase the World understanding of the Earth as a system.


Craig Tupper, Resources Management Director

Craig Tupper, Director of the Resources Management Division

Craig Tupper is the Director of the Resource Management Division, responsible for formulation, justification, and execution of NASA’s approximately $5.6 billion annual Science budget.



Kristen J. Erickson, Science Engagement and Partnerships Director 


Kristen Erickson is the Division Director for the Science Engagement and Partnerships Division, responsible for managing the STEM Science Activation program, external information technologies and strategic communications for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Division also supports the Directorate in the development, integration, archiving, and quality control of presentation materials used by leadership and Directorate personnel for external audiences.


Dan Woods, Strategic Integration and Management Director

Dan Woods, Division Director for the Strategic Integration and Management Division

Dan Woods is the Division Director for the Strategic Integration and Management Division (SI&MD), responsible for the Directorate’s strategic planning and messaging, science advisory committee, congressional, and executive activities. He is also responsible for the administrative support provided to Directorate employees.


Sandra E. Smalley, Joint Agency Satellite Director


In 2015, Ms. Sandra E. Smalley was appointed the Director of the Joint Agency Satellite Division (JASD) in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters. She is responsible for managing reimbursable satellite, instrument and ground system development activities performed by NASA for partner agencies.



Dwayne Brown, Senior Communications Official

Dwayne Brown About Us Image

Dwayne Brown leads and coordinates multimedia products for science-related discoveries and activities for the news media and the general public.