HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — NASA has named an engineer as permanent director of its space flight center in Alabama, and she’s the first woman to hold the job.

Joan Singer already became acting director of the Marshall Space Flight Center when Todd May retired in July.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tells news agencies that she’s an impressive leader whose 32-year agency career began with an internship. He says that experience will be “a huge asset to Marshall’s critical work supporting NASA’s goals of returning to the Moon to stay.”

The center in Huntsville has nearly 6,000 civil service and contract employees and an annual budget of about $2.8 billion. It is best known as NASA’s propulsion center, where rockets are designed and tested for travel in space.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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