NASA Johnson Space Center Director
Leaders don't just happen; they come up and learn from their mentors.
Born in Seattle, George Abbey attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned in 1954 into the U.S. Air Force. Assigned to Boeing in 1962, he worked on the X-20 Dyna-Soar, and joined NASA as the technical assistant to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director in 1967. Abbey then became Director of Flight Operations managing all flight crew and mission control activities. Beginning in 1983, he oversaw selection of Space Shuttle crews and was responsible for assigning America’s first women and minorities to the program. In 1988, he moved to NASA Headquarters as Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight and later as Senior Director of Civil Space Policy developing partnerships with Russia for future space ventures. Returning to Houston in 1991, he became Deputy Director of JSC and Director in 1996.
Abbey retired in 2003 and was selected as a Senior Fellow in Space Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.