Sandra E. Connelly, Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs

Portrait photo of Sandra Connelly

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Sandra Connelly is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD). She is responsible for assessing a portfolio of over 100 missions in formulation, development, and operations, for technical and cost effectiveness, quality, and performance. She coordinates program and project content with NASA’s other mission directorates and federal agencies with whom SMD partners.

Ms. Connelly served as the Director of the Joint Agency Satellite Division (JASD) in SMD at NASA Headquarters from 2015 - 2018. She was responsible for managing reimbursable satellite, instrument and ground system development activities performed by NASA for partner agencies. The division’s portfolio includes the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R Series (GOES-R). JASD also partners to develop future architectures and strategically plan future work. From 2014 - 2015, Ms. Connelly served as the Deputy Director for the Heliophysics Division in SMD, whereby she provided executive leadership, strategic direction, and executive management for a portfolio of 24 projects in formulation, development and operations. Prior to joining SMD, she served from 2008 – 2014 as the NASA Director for Engineering, Program and project management, in the Office of the Chief Engineer, during which she established, revised and implemented NASA’s acquisition, engineering, and program/project management policy and requirements for NASA’s Human Space Flight, Robotics, Aeronautics, Information Technology (IT), Institutional and Infrastructure, and Research and Technology portfolios. Ms. Connelly co-authored several program and project management standards and practice guides for international standards organizations, including the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Early in her career, Ms. Connelly served as the Program Manager for the US Navy’s Expert Systems Program and implemented the first information technology system at the Naval Sea Support Center Atlantic. She joined NASA Langley Research Center in 1992. Ms. Connelly has served in roles throughout the project life cycle including program director, project manager, systems engineer, business manager, and science manager on various spaceflight, information technology, and research and technology initiatives.

She earned her Master degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the College of Charleston.