International Space Station Program Manager, NASA
Joel Montalbano serves as the International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager. He is responsible for the overall management, development, integration, and operation of the ISS. This nearly $3 billion-per-year, 15-nation program encompasses the design, manufacture, testing and delivery of complex space flight hardware and software and its integration with modules from international partners into a fully functional and operating space station with a permanent human presence. In addition, the program manager is responsible for policy development, international partner negotiations, development of low-Earth orbit commercialization, onboard research and utilization, and the overall safety and health of the crew and on-orbit vehicle.
Previously, Montalbano served as the deputy program manager for the ISS Program Office, where he worked across ISS organizations, NASA Centers, other government agencies, and partners to ensure efficient ISS integration supporting future objectives in human space exploration, and fostered commercial activities in low-Earth orbit. Montalbano also served as the director of NASA’s Human Space Flight Program in Russia from 2008 to 2012 and NASA Flight Director from 2000 – 2008. Montalbano started his career at Rockwell in June 1988 and became a NASA civil servant in August 1998. He was inducted into the Senior Executive Service in 2008. He began his current role in 2020.
In 2018, Montalbano was recognized with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal as well as the Advancement of International Cooperation Award by the American Astronomical Society. In 2017, he received the Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation. He was awarded Rank of Meritorious Executive, conferred by the president of the United States in 2012. In 2007, he received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Superior Accomplishment Award. He was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2004 and both the Rotary Space Award Nominee and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2003. He was presented with the Flight Director Plaque Hanging Honor at NASA’s Mission Control Center in both 1997 and 1995. He was awarded the astronauts Silver Snoopy and was a Manned Space Flight Awareness Honoree in 1994. Montalbano was also an Eagle Scout.
Montalbano holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering from Iowa State University.