21st annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology March 5, 2022 San Francisco
Deputy Director, John F.Kennedy Space Center
The Journal of Black Innovation has selected Kelvin Manning, Deputy Director of John F. Kennedy Space Center, among the 21st annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.
Selectees conclude the Season of Science by gathering in San Francisco with the BlackBio100 and 50 Most Important African-Americans in Infrastructure on March 4-5.
Manning has served as deputy director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida since July 2021. In this capacity, Manning shares responsibility with Kennedy Director Janet Petro in managing the Kennedy team of civil service and contractor employees, determining and implementing center policy, and managing and executing Kennedy missions and agency program responsibilities.
Manning previously served as the center’s associate director, technical. In that capacity, he was responsible for ensuring safe and effective execution of the center’s technical capabilities, including establishing strategies and policies to ensure alignment of the Kennedy workforce, facilities, and operations to facilitate agency program and project goals. In doing so, he helped propel the world’s premiere multi-user spaceport to advance America’s leadership in space.
In 1992, Manning began his career at Kennedy and served in a number of positions within the former Shuttle Processing Directorate, including flow director for space shuttle Atlantis, chief engineer (acting) for shuttle upgrades, vehicle manager for space shuttle Columbia, and NASA test director. Later in the Kennedy Constellation Project Office, Manning was selected as the first division chief for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. More recently, he served on the last two NASA Astronaut Candidate Selection Boards.
Born in Fort Meade, Maryland, as an “Army brat,” Manning traveled throughout the U.S. and has resided in Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Hawaii, Illinois, and Maryland. After graduating from Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Maryland, Manning went on to obtain his B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In addition, Manning has an M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and has completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
As an Air Force officer, Manning served six years as a space operations analyst, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and NORAD Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. Following his military service and prior to joining NASA, Manning was an engineer with General Electric Aerospace, Military and Data Systems Operations, in Springfield, Virginia, and McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Company in Washington, D.C.
Manning has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the astronauts’ Silver Snoopy Award, National Black Engineer of the Year Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement in Government, NASA Public Service Award, Department of Defense Joint Service Commendation Medal, and National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award