Dr. John Olson

Dr. Olson is the Director of the Directorate Integration Office (DIO) in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. He is responsible for the seamless and efficient integration of NASA’s human and robotic space exploration activities and the necessary support structures to sustain their safety and success. In this capacity, Dr. Olson oversees the development of the lunar and Mars architectures, including strategic analysis of lunar surface systems concepts, complex systems integration, and refinement of the top-level exploration goals, objectives, and requirements. He leads the development of innovative and effective commercial, international, government, technology, and science partnerships and plans that directly and cost-effectively enable exploration program and mission success. Dr. Olson is also responsible for the Exploration information systems and technology portfolios, knowledge and risk management, program security and technology protection, independent cost estimation, special projects, and terrestrial analogs for extreme environments.

Prior to assuming his current role, Dr. Olson was the Exploration Transition Manager in ESMD at NASA Headquarters, where he was responsible for directing, integrating, and coordinating all exploration transition activities, processes, plans, and structures in support of the NASA Transition from the Space Shuttle Program to the Constellation Program – one of the largest government agency transformations in history. He started his NASA career as the Manager of International Space Station (ISS) Operations in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) at NASA Headquarters, serving as the NASA HQ OSMA lead for integrated Shuttle/Station operations and the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the deputy for Commercial Space Support, and the liaison to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Prior to joining NASA in June 2004, Dr. Olson served in the US Air Force in several capacities, most recently as the Chief of the Test, Operations, and Programs Division in the Space Vehicle Operations Directorate at Kirtland AFB NM where he was an X-vehicles program manager and space acquisition leader. Dr. Olson was also the Chief of Test, Flight Commander of Special Projects, and Airborne Test Branch Chief, conducting flight tests in the F-15 and F-16 in the 46th Test Wing's Munitions Test Division at Eglin AFB FL; a project manager for Special Operations flight test at Hurlburt Field, FL; a Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training student, and an advanced composites engineer and Aircraft Battle Damage Repair (ABDR) and structures engineer at the Air Force Advanced Composites Program Office at McClellan AFB, CA. Dr. Olson continues to serve as a part-time USAF Reserve Officer at the Pentagon in the National Security Space Office where his duties include serving as an inter-agency liaison and expert on science and technology applications, as well as space access, commercial space, industrial base and workforce issues.
Dr. John Olson
Director, Directorate Integration Office (DIO), Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters