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Greg Robinson and the Webb Project

by Brett Love on July 21, 2022

Photograph courtesy NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

At this point, we’ve all seen the mesmerizing, colorful images captured by the Webb Space Telescope. These images of the universe around us have the power to spark our imaginations and inspire innovation, and it’s only fair that we consider the man behind it all: Greg Robinson.

As of 2018 he became the director of the Webb Program, a $10 billion dollar project including a team of 10,000 people. Initially, Robinson declined the job two times, but eventually decided to sign on for the project, which was rife with problems for years.

Robinson was the former Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs at NASA, in which he analyzed different NASA projects including performance, cost effectiveness, and quality. These skills prepared him for the role of task director for the Webb program.

Photograph courtesy NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

The project had many issues he had to navigate. Congress almost killed the project
because it was $9 billion over budget and 15 years late. Because of his engineering background and managerial expertise, Robinson was able to communicate and problem solve with all parties involved. He was also focused on fixing human error and identifying technical issues with the Webb Space Telescope.

On top of this recent accomplishment, Robinson boasts an impressive educational and vocational history, cementing him as an important individual in NASA history. He grew up in Virginia and attended racially segregated schools. His parents were sharecroppers and he worked his way to Virginia Union University for a football scholarship. He transferred to Howard University for undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and math. Throughout his career he has risen through the ranks of NASA, eventually achieving the position of Director of the Webb Program.

We can’t wait to see what else Robinson will accomplish!