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Gregory Robinson to Retire as NASA Webb Program Director

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Gregory Robinson, director of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Program since 2018, is set to retire on Friday after 33 years of service at the agency.

As Webb program director, Robinson leads approximately 20,000 personnel who support the observatory mission that paved the way for the government to collect infrared images of the distant universe, NASA said Friday.

The Northrop Grumman-built JWST spacecraft lifted off Dec. 25 at the European Space Agency’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

“Put simply, Greg is everything a public servant should be. The proof is in the pudding: Webb will give humanity a new view of the cosmos and fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.

Robinson previously served as deputy associate administrator for programs at the agency’s science mission directorate, where he oversaw 114 missions between February 2015 and March 2018.

Prior to that role, he worked as deputy director at the Glenn Research Center for two years and led a major reorganization initiative there aimed at project performance improvements for the Ohio-based facility.

He spent the first 11 years of his NASA career at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and also held deputy chief engineer role at the agency from 2005 to 2013.

Robinson helped formulate the Joint Polar Satellite System program as part of a detail assignment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

TIME featured him in the magazine’s annual list of the “Most Influential People” for 2022.