Joel Montalbano, former deputy program manager of NASA's International Space Station program, has begun his new tenure as the effort's primary manager. He succeeds Kirk Shireman who retired Thursday after a five-year tenure as leader of the NASA ISS program, the space agency said Wednesday.
Montalbano has helped Shireman perform daily management work and coordinate with mission partners since 2018. The newly appointed ISS program manager also supported ISS's efforts to prepare for the upcoming Artemis missions and other exploration programs.
His work has also allowed the space station to function as a national laboratory for scientific research and educational efforts. Montalbano joined NASA in 1998 and went on to hold a variety of roles such as flight director and lead of the agency's Human Space Flight Program in Russia.
"Joel has the experience and leadership we need to guide the station program during this exciting and dynamic time of human spaceflight,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA.
NASA originally announced Montalbano's appointment as acting ISS manager in June 2020.