Chris Scolese will take over as director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on March 5, replacing Robert Strain, recently named chief operating officer at Ball Aerospace.

Scolese’s NASA-headquarters position as associate administrator will be filled on an acting basis by Robert Lightfoot, currently the director of Marshall Space Flight Center. Gene Goldman, Lightfoot’s deputy, will become acting director of the Alabama center.

Administrator Charles Bolden, who announced the changes, said the agency is “fortunate to have such talented and experienced leaders who are capable of assuming these critical responsibilities during this important time.”

Scolese has served as acting administrator and NASA chief engineer, deputy director of Goddard, and manager of the agency’s Earth-orbiting satellite program. As Goddard director, he will oversee development of the telescope portion of the James Webb Space Telescope, which he helped shepherd toward completion for a 2018 launch after an independent panel found it over budget and behind schedule.

As acting associate administrator Lightfoot, who cut his teeth at NASA in the space shuttle main engine program and has a long history in rocket engineering and program management across the space agency, will be responsible for oversight and integration of the agency’s efforts in human spaceflight, science and aeronautics. In that role, he will be the highest ranking civil servant at NASA.