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Lisa Watson-Morgan

Year Inducted: 2022

Lisa Watson-Morgan stands in a critical role in the United States plan to return people to the Moon, the latest chapter in a career devoted to space flight and advancing scientific and national interests. In being picked to manage NASA’s planned lunar landing system, she is continuing the state’s tradition of leadership in the country’s space flight program.

With more than 30 years of contributions and accomplishments at NASA, Watson-Morgan has proven leadership experience and subject matter expert strengths in NASA systems engineering, project leadership, strategic planning, independent assessment, and management of people, policy, and processes. Her highlights with NASA include reputable and diverse experience in launch
vehicles, space vehicle systems, science, operations, and payloads.

As the program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, she oversees the integrated lunar landing systems, to include vehicles and systems that will transport astronauts to the Moon’s south pole. Working with U.S. industry, her agency-wide team will deliver a sustainable landing system to ferry crew to and from the lunar surface.

Watson-Morgan graduated from The University of Alabama in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1994 and a doctorate in engineering management in 2008.

She began working at Marshall while a student at UA and has supported and led a variety of NASA programs and projects, including serving as manager of Marshall’s Chief Engineer’s office from 2011 to 2013 and director of the Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department from 2015 to 2018. She was appointed in 2013 to the Senior Executive Service, the personnel system covering top managerial positions in federal agencies.

Watson-Morgan previously was deputy director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate from 2018 to 2019, helping oversee an organization of more than 2,300 civil service and contractor personnel supporting development, testing and delivery of flight hardware and software associated with space transportation and spacecraft systems, science instruments and payloads under development at Marshall.

Appointed to her current position in July 2019, Watson-Morgan is responsible for the cost, technical, and scheduling of sending the first woman and the first person of color to the south pole of the lunar surface on a rapid schedule. The landing system is a key element of NASA’s bold Artemis Program, which will leverage NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew spacecraft
to return explorers to the Moon by 2024, and, via the lunar Gateway orbital platform, enable a long-term human presence there by 2026, reigniting America’s leadership in crewed exploration of the solar system and taking the next giant leap toward human exploration of Mars.

She is implementing a new operating model for NASA enabling commercial industry to design the systems with heavy NASA insight creating a truly integrated public private model where both parties benefit.

Her numerous NASA awards include the Exceptional Service Medal in 2001, the Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2010, and a Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2018.