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NASA Appoints Joe Acaba as Chief Astronaut

Portrait of NASA astronaut Joe Acaba. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Portrait of NASA astronaut Joe Acaba. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA has selected veteran astronaut Joe Acaba to lead the agency's Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center. With a decorated career as a former U.S. Marine, educator, and three-time space flyer, Acaba becomes the first person of Hispanic heritage to take on the role.

Joe Acaba Takes Over as Chief Astronaut

Acaba replaces Drew Feustel, who acted as chief of the office after the previous chief, Reid Wiseman, stepped down late last year. In his new role, Acaba will manage astronaut resources and operations and help with crew assignments for future space missions, including those under the Artemis program.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson expressed his congratulations on Acaba's appointment, stating that "Joe is an experienced space flyer and a proven leader, and he will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of NASA astronauts." NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche also expressed her congratulations, thanking Feustel for stepping in to lead the astronaut corps after Wiseman's transition.

Career Highlights of Joe Acaba

Born in Inglewood, California, Acaba has a wealth of experience, having earned degrees in geology and education. He worked as a hydrogeologist and taught middle and high school before being selected as an astronaut candidate in 2004. Acaba spent 306 days in space, serving as a mission specialist on the STS-119 mission and as a flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expeditions 31, 32, 53, and 54. He also took part in three spacewalks and was aboard the station when its standard crew complements increased to six. Since returning to Earth, Acaba has supported the astronaut office in a variety of roles.

NASA's Director of Flight Operations, Norm Knight, spoke highly of Acaba, stating that he is an "excellent leader who brings a wealth of experience to the Astronaut Office." Knight expressed confidence that Acaba will successfully lead NASA astronauts through an exciting future.

The appointment of Joe Acaba as chief of the Astronaut Office marks a historic moment for NASA and the Hispanic community. With his wealth of experience and proven leadership skills, Acaba is poised to lead the astronaut corps through exciting times ahead. NASA extends its congratulations to Joe Acaba and wishes him all the best in his new role.


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