Jim Free

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Jim Free


Jim Free is the associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Free is responsible for the development of NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture, defining and managing the systems development for NASA’s Artemis missions and planning for NASA’s integrated deep space exploration approach.

Before his appointment to associate administrator in 2021, Free spent several years in various private sector roles. Free began his NASA career in 1990 at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a propulsion engineer and later as a systems engineer on several spacecraft. He served in numerous engineering positions with increasing responsibility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio, before being selected as Glenn’s deputy director and then serving as Glenn’s center director, where he was responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities required in accomplishing the missions assigned to the center. He left NASA in 2017 after serving as the agency’s deputy associate administrator for technical in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

A native of Northeast Ohio, Free earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his master's degree in space systems engineering from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Free is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Significant Achievement Medal, and numerous other awards.

Related Sessions

NASA’s Artemis Program-Australia’s Role in the Moon to Mars Mission

THU, OCT 19, 11:00 AM
Half a century after first putting humans on the Moon, we’re going back. But this time, we’re planning to stay! Join Jim Free, the visionary of NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture and Australian Space Agency Head Enrico Palermo as they explore how and why we’re establishing a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. Moderated by Science Vs podcast host Wendy Zukerman, prepare for an out of this world discussion as Jim and Enrico look at the important role Australia is playing in Artemis – and why this once-in-a-generation space program is also vital to our future here on Earth.
We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of this land we now call Sydney, where this event will take place. We pay our respects to their continuing connection with cultural, spiritual and educational practices, and extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Always was, always will be.
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