Director Solar System Exploration Division

Greenbelt, Maryland
May 24, 2022
May 26, 2022
Executive, Director
Full Time

The incumbent will serve as Director of Solar System Exploration Division, reporting to the Director of Sciences and Exploration. The Solar System Exploration Division (SSED) is an organizational element of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate. The SSED is subdivided into five laboratories and one office whose heads report directly to the Director. The Division develops theoretical models of the origin and structure of solar systems and their objects, and the processes that alter them. The Division also designs experimental approaches and hardware to test prevailing theories, and collects, interprets, and evaluates data gathered from these experiments. Research in SSED includes highly advanced, state-of-the-art studies into the physical properties, composition, structure, and dynamics of solar, interplanetary, and interstellar media; planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces, comets and asteroids, and astrophysical sources; magnetohydrodynamics of space plasmas; radio, infrared, and ultraviolet emissions received from solar, planetary, interplanetary, and interstellar sources; and laboratory investigations of chemical systems and reactions of relevance to planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces, and interplanetary and interstellar space.

Specifically, the incumbent will:

- Plan, organize, evaluate, and implement a broad program of theoretical and experimental scientific research to explore the solar system and study the formation and evolution of planetary bodies and systems.

- Provide scientific expertise and leadership to support projects led by GSFC and key partners to achieve NASA's strategic goals in the exploration of the Moon, Mars, Ocean Worlds, and beyond.

- Oversee the development of theoretical models of the origin and structure of solar systems and their objects and the processes that alter them.

- Oversee the design of experimental approaches and hardware to test theories, and collect, interpret, and evaluate data gathered from these experiments.

- Responsible for the publishing of conclusions based on this experimental and theoretical research and archive and disseminate the data.

- Provide expertise, leadership, and service to support the community.

- Undertake public engagement and science communication programs centered on the Division's science missions, research, and capabilities.


Conditions of Employment

  • The individual selected will be required to file an 'Executive Branch Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278) in accordance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
  • Initial Senior Executive Service (SES) Career appointee is subject to a one-year probationary period.
  • Successful completion of a background investigation commensurate with the risk and sensitivity level of the position.
  • Successful completion of pre-employment and random drug testing may be required.
  • Must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement.
  • Please see the Additional Information section for important information about COVID-19.


You must have the skill and ability to perform the duties described above as demonstrated by progressively responsible supervisory/leadership experience, normally obtained over several years by serving in positions at the GS-15 level or equivalent.

To meet the minimum qualification requirements for this position, you MUST address each Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) and Mandatory Technical Qualification (MTQ) separately. If you fail to do so, your application will be rated ineligible. We recommend you provide two (2) examples of relevant experience for each ECQ. Responses to ALL ECQs must not exceed ten (10) pages; MTQ responses must not exceed one (1) page per MTQ. Please include your full name on all documents submitted.

If you are currently serving under a career SES appointment, are eligible for reinstatement into the SES, or have successfully completed a SES Candidate Development Program and been certified by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) you MUST address the MTQs, but do not need to address the ECQs.

When preparing your responses to the ECQs and MTQs, you are encouraged to follow the Challenge, Context, Action, and Result model outlined in the OPM's Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualification . For a sample template on how to format your ECQ narrative visit NASA's Executive Leadership Opportunities .


ECQ 1 - Leading Change: The ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

ECQ 2 - Leading People: The ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

ECQ 3 - Results Driven: The ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

ECQ 4 - Business Acumen: The ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

ECQ 5 - Building Coalitions: The ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.


MTQ 1- Experience leading a diverse, inclusive, and broad research program/organization of scientists and project management staff in the discipline of planetary science or a closely related field.

MTQ 2- Demonstrated experience in the management and leadership of science research activities through national and/or international recognition from the science community in Solar System/Planetary science research and publications, and effective advocacy of an organization's science objectives, including technology development, effective long-range planning and mission proposal preparation.


This position has a positive education requirement. To be eligible, you must clearly state in your resume the following: degree, major and/or minor, and college/university.

A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or other field of science.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, click here .

Additional information

If you are selected, NASA may request information regarding your vaccination status for the purposes of implementing workplace safety protocols, such as masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.

Due to COVID-19, NASA is currently in an expanded telework posture. If selected, you may be expected to temporarily telework, even if your home is located outside the local commuting area. Once employees are permitted to return to the office, you will be expected to report to the duty station listed on this announcement within 30 days. At that time, you may be eligible to request to continue to telework one or more days a pay period depending upon the terms of the agency's telework policy.