Cassville native to head NASA's Glenn Research Center

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kavandi continues climb as Center's first female director

Janet L. Kavandi

Cassville native Janet Kavandi is continuing to move up at NASA, as she has now been named director of the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland after a year as deputy director.

A student at Cassville schools before moving and graduating from Carthage High School in 1977, Kavandi is the first female director of the Center, and its first director to have flown in space.

She was named deputy director of the Glenn Research Center in March 2015, and will succeed Jim Free, who held the position for three years and will now be deputy associate technical administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

Along with helping develop technology for the Orion mission to Mars, Kavandi will oversee a budget of $580 million, and she will have about 3,200 employees and contractors to manage.

Kavandi was selected as an astronaut in December 1994. During her time in the Astronaut Office, she supported payload integration for the International Space Station, capsule communications, robotics, and served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. A three-flight veteran, Kavandi has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 orbits of Earth, according to NASA.

She is married to a Detroit-based airline pilot, John Kavandi, and the couple has two children.

Kavandi is the daughter of the late William and Ruth Sellers of Cassville.

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