Koerner will assist Wyche in leading one of NASA’s largest installations, which has more than 10,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and is responsible for a broad range of human spaceflight activities.
“Steve’s fingerprints on human spaceflight go back almost three decades, and his experience and knowledge base make him a natural choice for the position,” Wyche said. “As the Johnson Space Center continues its excellence in human spaceflight and embarks on new endeavors, Steve’s experience as a technical leader with business acuity makes him an invaluable asset to the center.”
Koerner has served as director of Johnson’s Flight Operations Directorate since 2019, overseeing the organization that includes the astronaut office, the flight director’s office, Mission Control, human spaceflight trainers and training facilities, as well as Johnson’s aircraft operations division. Prior to that, he spent time as Johnson’s associate director and chief financial officer.
“It’s hard to imagine a more exciting time to be at NASA, and I am honored to have the opportunity to assume this new role,” Koerner said. “I hope to provide value to the agency, to the center and to Vanessa.”
Norm Knight, who has been the deputy director of the Flight Operations Directorate since 2018, has been chosen to take on the role of director in Koerner’s place.
Koerner came to Johnson in 1992 as a space shuttle flight controller. He supported 41 space shuttle flights from Mission Control, before moving into leadership roles that led him to become manager for the Mission Operations Directorate’s International Space Station Operations. He became deputy director of the Mission Operations Directorate in 2007 and remained in that position for 10 years, helping to see the office through a merger with the Flight Crew Operations Directorate that resulted in the creation of the current Flight Operations Directorate.
Koerner is a native of Stow, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio, and a master’s degree in business administration from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.