Suzanne Cunningham

Strategy and Integration Manager for Communication and Public Engagement
John F. Kennedy Space Center

Suzy Cunningham is Strategy and Integration manager for Communication and Public Engagement (CPE) at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She works with NASA, Industry, Academic, DoD and other state/federal leaders to research community, center and organizational issues and initiatives related to CPE. She determines the impact of those functions on Kennedy and the agency and collaborates to develop strategic approaches and recommendations that synergize efforts and best utilize resources. She also serves as NASA liaison for efforts including Space Congress, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and Space Walk of Fame.

Cunningham was previously Kennedy’s Strategic Planning manager. She advised senior management on Kennedy strategic planning activities/analyses concerning present and future Kennedy operations and development, and facilitated development of centerwide strategic policies and initiatives. She was strategic planning liaison to the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing (45 SW), and was a Space Florida (SF) Board advisory member.

Prior to this, Cunningham was Kennedy’s lead for Partnerships and Industry. She led a team in establishing and maintaining strategic partnerships with NASA, industry, academia, DoD, and other state/federal entities. She was Kennedy’s liaison to the Governor’s Commission on Future of Space and Aeronautics in Florida, and Kennedy’s SF liaison. She was also a senior technical expert on the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Orbiter Thermal Protection System (TPS) Gapfiller Assessment Group.

Before this, Cunningham was acting deputy/senior spaceport manager for the KSC/45 SW Cape Canaveral Spaceport Planning and Customer Service Office. She established the office, including briefings to KSC/45 SW senior management and White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). She was the customer’s primary interface for facilities/services for launch, test and technology development. She was also a NASA technical expert on the STS-107 Columbia Mishap Investigation/Reconstruction Team and NESC Space Shuttle and International Space Station Recurring Anomalies Team.

Cunningham was previously a Kennedy Advanced Development and Shuttle Upgrades Project manager. Her projects included orbiter TPS and bioregenerative exploration. Her teams published on material/process improvements, presenting at the 1999 International Astronautical Federation Congress in Amsterdam.

She served as an executive intern to Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Crippen in 1994.

Cunningham has received NASA’s Government Invention of the Year Award, Exceptional Service Medal, Center Director’s “Gold Dollar” Award, NASA’s “You Make a Difference” award, Air Force 45 SW Operational Readiness Inspection Award, and group achievement/performance awards. She’s also an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Prior to accepting a position at Kennedy in 1986, she worked as an aerospace engineer at Allison Gas Turbine.

Cunningham completed a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and a Master of Science in space systems operations from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Cunningham is active in education/outreach. She mentors K-12 students/new hires and represented Kennedy on agency outreach teams. She enjoys touring students and dignitaries, sharing NASA’s story. She’s also a singer and performs for NASA, AIAA, the National Space Club (NSC) and others. She is a member of the NSC, Women in Aerospace, and AIAA (Space Transportation Technical Committee and served on the Technical Committee on Management).

She resides in Merritt Island near the nation’s spaceport with her husband Phil.

Related Sessions

New Generation Space Leaders: Leadership Exchange “Speed Mentoring”

Monday, March 30, 2020

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm