Niki (Mary) Werkheiser serves as the Lead for the Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative (LSII) in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The objective of LSII is to spur the creation of novel technologies needed for lunar surface exploration and accelerate the technology readiness of key systems and components. The LSII activities are implemented through a combination of unique NASA in-house activities, competitive programs, and public-private partnerships. Examples of target areas for LSII technology development and demonstrations include In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), sustainable power, extreme access, extreme environments, dust mitigation, surface excavation, manufacturing, and construction.
Ms. Werkheiser brings a wealth of expertise and a proven approach to managing complex projects across NASA Centers, industry partners, and academia. Ms. Werkheiser has built and managed the Agency’s In-Space Manufacturing (ISM) efforts, including the development and implementation of novel, on demand manufacturing, repair, and recycling capabilities on the International Space Station (ISS) that directly feed forward to NASA’s Exploration missions. Ms. Werkheiser spent the majority of her career in NASA’s Space Shuttle and ISS Payload Offices where she designed, developed, integrated, and operated multiple NASA payloads.
Ms. Werkheiser’s academic background includes a M.S. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with an emphasis in Gravitational and Space Biology, as well as a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Russian Studies.