HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss.--A shakeup in leadership at a key NASA research and development facility located near the Mississippi Gulf Coast was announced today. Dr. Richard Gilbrech (right), who had served until Monday as deputy director for the John C. Stennis Space center, was promoted Tuesday to director.
The change comes after the announcement that former director Patrick Sheuermann, who served from 2010 to Monday, was named director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The Stennis Center website had already been changed to reflect the shift in leadership by Tuesday afternoon.
The Center opened in the 1960s in a decade that saw the first moon landing and space flight endeavors at their peak in the U.S. Since then the space shuttle has been retired as a space vehicle and the federal government has had a shift of interest away from space flight, which was driven in past decades by a competition from other countries like Russia.
The changes in administration are coupled with a change in administration at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. that will not affect Mississippi. The changes are effective immediately.
Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Roger Wicker issued this statement:
The Stennis Center is critical to our state’s economy, and Patrick and Rick have made great strides expanding opportunities for development,” said Wicker. “Patrick will be missed greatly, but he will still play a part in the future success of Stennis in his new role. I look forward to working with Rick to build on the ground work that has been laid. Stennis is on a strong path for the future, which is good news for Mississippi and for NASA.