I’m Joe Williams, a real-life rocket scientist employed by NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Currently, I’m devising solutions for implementing partnerships between NASA’s mission operations in Houston and the emerging commercial space sector. On Leading Space, I share my experiences – both the successes and frustrations – with being on the leading edge of change in a large government bureaucracy for improving the performance and lowering the cost of human spaceflight. I also share my perspectives on human spaceflight policy honed from my brief time at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. On occasion I write about a topic on “hard-core rocket science” from my past as a shuttle flight controller. Sometimes, I write about a topic that fits none of these categories. This is my personal blog; the views expressed are my own and do not represent official NASA policies or positions.
Currently, I’m posting about once a month. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via RSS or email (the email subscription feature is in the sidebar).
If you’re new to my blog, here are some of my favorite blog posts. Top posts are listed in the sidebar to the right.
- The Journey: Why Am I Blogging About Leadership and NASA?
- Reflections on Gettysburg
- Reflections on Hubble
- The Flyaround: A Retrospective
- What to Leave, and What to Take
- Transactional, Transitional, and Transformational Change
- Building and Leading Teams Through Conation and the Kolbe Model
- Human Spaceflight Directions, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
- A Sentimental Journey
- The Bus is Departing the Station
- Competition, Cooperation, Collaboration, Consolidation
- The Value Equation
- Disruptive Innovation
- The Crisis Cycle
You can also check out the archive of all my posts or use the Search function, both in the sidebar.
I’ve worked in human spaceflight my entire career. After completing BS and MS degrees in physics, I started as a contractor at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston in the late 1980’s doing software development for a Space Shuttle simulation used to model trajectories. I became a flight controller in Mission Control in the early 1990’s supporting Space Shuttle rendezvous and proximity operations. I joined NASA in the late 1990’s, continuing briefly in that same Space Shuttle flight controller role before moving into various entry-level leadership roles. In 2006-2007 I served at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC in several assignments, including one as an Executive Officer to a NASA Associate Administrator. Upon my return to Houston, I led teams that planned strategically how NASA’s mission operations in Houston should acquire the goods and services it needed for Mission Control, the training facilities where we trained astronauts, and the teams of contractors who worked in them. I also completed an Executive MBA with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California through a distance learning program.
I’ve been married to my wife JoAnn for 15 years, and we have two daughters. We live in Friendswood, Texas. In my spare time I enjoy photography, cycling, strength training, reading, being a dance dad and soccer dad, and following Texas Longhorn sports (as if the latter isn’t obvious from my picture above).