Director, NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Universities Space Research Association
Mountain View
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

USRA leads the NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS) contract at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. NAMS provides Ames with capabilities ranging from fundamental research and development through field-test deployments and operational science missions. USRA and our teammates deliver a university-based program and project support for science and engineering teams across research mission directorates at Ames.

Position Summary:

The Program Director will serve as the program manager for the NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS) contract, and will be responsible for interfacing with Center leadership and delivering on performance, including technical, cost, risk, and schedule. The PD will manage the recruitment of technical/science talent, professional development, employee learning, and performance management. The PD will serve as the single point of contact to the customer for contractual matters, personnel, and the application of corporate resources to meet the Program’s technical and contractual requirements.  Most of the NAMS research and engineering will be performed onsite at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA, with a USRA Program Management Office located offsite at a nearby facility.

Work Scope Areas:

  • Aerospace and Air Traffic Management – Aero Acoustics Engineering and Software, Air Traffic Management Automation, and Advanced Unmanned Aircraft Systems;
  • Information Technology – Advanced Networking, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Information and Big Data Systems, Cyber Security, Software Engineering and Synthesis;
  • Programs and Projects – Spaceflight Systems and Software, Systems Analysis, Ground Test, and R&D Trade Studies;
  • Science – Space Biosciences, Space Sciences and Astrobiology, Advanced Instrumentation, Earth Science including NASA’s Earth Venture Program and Airborne Science Facilities; and
  • Advanced Technological Systems – Human Systems Integration, Intelligent Systems, Supercomputing, Quantum Information Sciences, and Entry Systems & Technology; and
  • Aeroflight Dynamics – Rotorcraft Aeromechanics, Human Systems Integration, Experimental Aerodynamics, and Flight Control and Cockpit Integration; and
  • Cubesat/Smallsat Technologies and Mission Support.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for managing the overall performance of the team, including program performance planning and review in compliance with NASA AMES and USRA policies.
  • Provide science and technology vision and leadership to staff and serve as an advocate for the Program to the broader government and academic communities, and industry. The PD, in collaboration with NASA, will seek to develop and infuse innovative technologies, standards, and best practices into the Program.
  • Engage the university space/aerospace-related community and create impactful collaboratives to preform research and deliver forefront technology to the Center in strategic competency areas.
  • Provide the Program with the necessary staff skill mix to perform all task requirements, and will oversee personnel in the Program Management Office (PMO).
  • Oversee the Program’s deliverables, and work with the PMO and first-line managers/senior technical staff to prepare, submit, and communicate Monthly, Quarterly and Annual Progress Reports
  • Responsible for financial performance, contract compliance, schedule adherence and regulatory compliance of the NAMS contract.
  • Engage the university community to perform research on behalf of NASA Ames, to help ensure that Ames remains at the research forefront in all competency areas.
  • Other job related duties as assigned

Required Qualifications:


  • Master’s Degree in a relevant field is required. A PhD degree is preferred.


  • At least 10 years’ experience applying program management principles to complex, technical programs, including demonstrated supervisory experience. Experience managing Federal Government contracts highly desired
  • Experience with multi-disciplined projects including science and engineering, software development, and business systems
  • Experience in collecting, analyzing and presenting project cost and schedule data to both project teams and upper management
  • Demonstrated experience collecting, analyzing and presenting programmatic cost, schedule, and other performance data to project teams, scientific staff, and senior management
  • Prior or current NASA or equivalent agency experience, working with at least one NASA Center, JPL, APL or equivalent field installations, highly desirable

Licenses, Certifications:

  • PgMP, PMP or equivalent certification preferred 

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: 

  • Working knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
  • Understanding of Risk Identification and Mitigation management processes
  • Understanding of all program financial and business processes and metrics
  • Demonstrated team management, communications and supervisory skills
  • Good oral and written presentation skills


  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking and Accuracy
  • Communication Skills
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Detail Oriented
  • Sponsor Focus


Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications.

Working Conditions:

This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. This is largely a sedentary role.


Approximately 5% travel.


Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Technical Recruiter
Zip/Postal Code: 
United States of America
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis