Team Biographies

John Durning
deputy project manager

John Durning is the Deputy Project Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Project, at Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md. He moved into that position in 2010, after serving as Deputy Project Manager/Technical for the Webb telescope project since 2006.

As Deputy Project Manager, Durning plays a key leadership role in all aspects of the development of the flight hardware and software items for the Webb telescope.

Durning has extensive experience in leading large, complex multi-national space hardware development programs. Durning's experience encompasses all aspects of space flight hardware development; from instrument to spacecraft to observatory development from early design phase, intense hardware development, full blown I&T activities and the launch campaign.

Before coming onboard the Webb telescope project, Durning worked as the Project Formulation Manager for NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) from 2001 to 2006. The GPM mission is a partnership between NASA and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and one of the next generation of satellite-based Earth science missions that will study global precipitation (rain, snow, ice).

As Formulation Manager, he worked with NASA Headquarters to establish all the agreements and partnerships, both domestic and international, that were necessary to successfully develop the GPM mission. Under Durning's watch the project forged a strong relationship with the JAXA team that was responsible for developing two of the third instruments on the observatory, Durning led the international team through a successful System Design Review and phase B activities. The project involved extensive in-house, as well as out-of-house, hardware development.

From 1992 to 2001, Durning worked on several other Earth and Space Science missions. From 2000 to 2001, he was the Instrument Manager of the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA) on the Vegetation Canopy Lidar mission. The MBLA was an in-house instrument development at NASA Goddard. Prior to that, he served as Mission Manager from 1996 to 2000 on the Zephyr Wind Lidar mission, an in-house Goddard development for a Shuttle Attached Payload mission. He was also the Deputy Observatory Manager for the EOS Aqua Project from 1992 to 1996. Before coming to Earth sciences, he worked as the Instrument Manager for the Gamma Ray Spectrometer on the Mars Observer Mission from 1990 to 1992.

He received a Master's degree in Astrodynamics from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 1992 and a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from State University of New York, Buffalo, N.Y. in 1985.

Durning has received a number of awards during his career. He received the Special Act or Service Awards for outstanding leadership in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2010. He also received Performance Awards in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, and in the years from 2001 to 2009.

Outside of the office Durning likes to work on his house and yard. He also enjoys woodworking and exercising and playing sports.