Robert L. Sackheim was the assistant center director and chief engineer for space propulsion at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Sackheim has served as assistant center director and chief engineer for space propulsion at the Marshall Center since joining NASA in 1999. In his position, he supervises all NASA space propulsion research and development activities — from Space Shuttle propulsion elements and conventional rockets, to innovative kerosene and liquid oxygen engines intended to launch next-generation spacecraft to orbit, to alternative propulsion technologies meant to carry them deep into the Solar System and beyond. He was on the Marshall Center Director's Executive Staff providing technical review in space propulsion and transportation matters. He retired in 2006 and is now a consultant to several aerospace contractor and government organizations. Before coming to the Marshall Center, Sackheim was manager of the propulsion systems center for TRW Corp. at their Space and Technology Division in Redondo Beach, Calif., where he was responsible for design, development and testing of high energy chemical lasers, materials technologies, and combustion and fluid system products. He had previously served as project manager for TRW's Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle project, an effort intended to develop a short-range space cargo vehicle to ferry payloads to and from the International Space Station. He became the Director of that organizing and served in that role until Sept. 1999 when he joined NASA. Sackheim earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and his master's degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University in New York. He has completed his doctoral coursework in chemical engineering at the University of California in Los Angeles, where for nine years he taught a professional-level engineering course on spacecraft design and propulsion. Sackheim has been honored with numerous awards throughout his career. In 2001, he was presented a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for notably outstanding leadership that had a pronounced effect on the technical or administrative programs of the Agency. Several professional organizations have also recognized Sackheim for his contributions to the propulsion field, including the American Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Academy of Engineering, and the International Academy of Astronautics. He has written more than 250 technical papers, contributed to four books on space propulsion, and holds nine patents in spacecraft propulsion, launch vehicles and missiles, and control systems technology. In 2002 he was presented an AIAA ward, the Hermann Oberth Award for his outstanding scientific achievement in the fields of astronautics and space sciences. In 2001, he received the NASA Medal for Outstanding Technical Leadership in space propulsion and in 2003 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. Also in 2003, he received the Marshall Center Director's Commendation for outstanding service, the Presidential Ran Award for Meritorious Executive Service and the AIAA Holger Toftoy Award for outstanding technical leadership in space systems.