Systems Engineering Seminar

The Systems Engineer’s Role in Management

Presented by:
Joe Rothenberg
President Universal Space Network

May 1, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
GSFC Building 3 Auditorium


One role of project management is to ensure that stakeholders with a vested interest in the success of projects also understand the risks and resources required to mitigate them. Risks and mitigation strategies are perceived differently by each of the stakeholders in a NASA Program. This is particularly important for the Project Manager and Systems Engineer to be aware of as they plan the risk management strategies especially for highly visible NASA programs.

The stakeholders of the high profile NASA programs such as JWST & Constellation for example include Office of Management and Budget; the Congress; the NASA Administrator; the Mission Directorate Associate Administrator, the Program Executive; the Project Manager; the Systems Engineer; the government and/or contractor development team, the operations team; the taxpayer and finally for most NASA missions the science community. Smaller programs still have a significant set of these as stakeholders. A further complication is that due to external environment changes as well as internal pressure, stakeholders risk tolerances change with time. It is therefore important for a project manager to be both aware of any changes to the expectations or risk tolerance of stakeholders.

Joe Rothenberg, President and member of the Board of Directors of Universal Space Network, former NASA AA for Spaceflight, Goddard Center Director, Project Manager for the 1st Hubble Servicing Mission and a career that covers Directorate, Division and Project management in both NASA and industry will give his insights into the Systems Engineering role in managing the expectations of the broad set of stakeholders with a vested interest in the success of a NASA project.



Mr. Rothenberg’s career spans 43 years, 25 years in the aerospace industry and 18 years with NASA. Since 2002 he has been a member of the Board of Directors and President of Universal Space Network Inc.. He retired from NASA in 2001 as the associate Administrator for Space Flight, having been responsible for the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and all of NASA’s Space Operations and Space Communications programs. From 1995 until 1998, he served as director of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Mr. Rothenberg joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1983 as the Hubble Space Telescope Operations Manager. In 1987, he was named chief of the Mission Operations Division, and in 1989, Deputy Director of the Mission Operations and Data Systems Directorate. In 1990, he was named to lead the Hubble Space Telescope Project and is widely recognized for the success of its first servicing mission, which corrected the telescope’s flawed optics.

Mr. Rothenberg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from C. W. Post College of the Long Island University. In addition, in 1997 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and in 2000 an Honorary Doctorate of Science from C.W. Post. He was recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1990, in 1994 and 2000, he received NASA Distinguished Service Medals, and, in 1995 and 2001 he received NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and the Senior Executive Service Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Awards. In 1997, he received the Presidential Rank Distinguished Executive Award. Mr. Rothenberg has also received the National Aviation Association Collier Trophy, the AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award, the National Space Club's Nelson P. Jackson Award, and was inducted into the Smithsonian's Aviation Week and Space Technology Hall of Fame.


Return to SE Seminars Home


Systems Engineering Seminar Contacts