Who We Are

William F. Townsend (Bill)

Bill Townsend has over 50 years experience in the Aerospace Industry, with particular expertise in program and project management, both with NASA, and private industry. His broad aerospace background ranges from aircraft and spacecraft instrument development to developing international mission partnerships. He has held senior management positions both within NASA and private industry, ranging from Acting Associate Administrator for Earth Science at NASA Headquarters, to Deputy Center Director at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, to Vice President and General Manager for Civil Space Systems at Ball Aerospace.

Bill is currently co-owner of Townsend Aerospace Consulting(TAC), LLC, which has supported NASA, NOAA, and the private sector, and currently has 2 private sector clients that support TAC’s work for NASA and NOAA. Bill’s work in this regard has ranged from performing an independent assessment of one of NASA GSFC’s key Human Capital processes, to Chairing NASA and NOAA Standing Review Boards (SRBs), to performing “color” team proposal reviews for some of TAC’s private sector clients, to supporting a “due diligence”​ assessment for an investment firm of the proposed acquisition of an aerospace company.

Currently, Bill Chairs NOAA’s GOES-R Program SRB, is a member of NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) SRB, is a member of NASA’s JPSS Ground System Integrated Independent Review Team (IIRT), is an ex-officio member of both NOAA’s GOES-R Flight and GOES-R Ground IIRT’s, and was a past member of NOAA’s GOES-R Independent Review Team (IRT), now replaced by the NOAA NESDIS IRT, which he is also a member of. Bill also Chairs NASA’s Surface Water & Ocean Topography (SWOT) SRB. Previously he was a member of the NPOESS Executive Review Board (ERB), was a member of a visiting committee to the NASA Langley Research Center Science Directorate, and is a past member of the NOAA Administrator’s Science Advisory Board (NOAA SAB). He also authored a white paper for NASA GSFC entitled “Lessons Learned Through Managing Recent NASA Earth & Space Science Missions”.

As an Independent Aerospace Consultant, Bill currently is a member of the recently formed National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group (ISTEG). He was also a reviewer for the recent NRC Earth Science Decadal Survey (2017-2027), entitled “Thriving on our Changing Planet”. Previously Bill was a study panel member for the National Academy of Sciences, resulting in three reports, one entitled “Controlling Cost Growth of NASA Earth and Space Science Missions (2010)”, another entitled “Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Midterm Assessment of NASA’s Implementation of the Decadal Survey (2012)”, and a third entitled “Landsat and Beyond: Sustaining and Enhancing the Nation’s Land Imaging Program (2013)”. He is also a past member of the NRC Space Studies Board’s (SSB) Standing Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS).

Bill was at Ball Aerospace from 2004-2008, where his concluding assignment at Ball was as the Vice President, Exploration Systems, where he led the company’s pursuit of the Instrument Unit Avionics contract for NASA’s Ares I launch vehicle, from the new Ball office that he established in Huntsville, AL in 2007. Bill’s initial assignment at Ball was as Vice President and General Manager, Civil Space Systems, where he was responsible for all of Ball’s civilian space endeavors, including such diverse activities as the Deep Impact mission, the HIRISE camera that flew on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the James Webb Space Telescope mirror and associated electronics, the GPM microwave imager, the Kepler planet finding mission, and two instruments, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC 3), both which were installed in the Hubble Space telescope during the May 2009 Hubble Shuttle Servicing mission.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Bill was Deputy Center Director and Program Management Council Chairperson from 1998-2004. In that capacity, Bill oversaw the development, launch and operation of all NASA Goddard instruments, spacecraft and missions. During his 40-year NASA career, Bill was closely involved with almost 60 missions, including over 30 missions while at NASA Goddard. During his tenure, NASA Goddard experienced only one accountable mission failure for a success rate of 97%. Bill also championed and led a Diversity Initiative that promoted inclusion, respect, and appreciation among NASA Goddard’s 3,000-plus government employees, which was followed by his co-sponsoring a Diversity Initiative while he was at Ball Aerospace.

At NASA Headquarters, Bill was the acting Associate Administrator (AA) for Earth Science (formerly Mission to Planet Earth) for almost two years from 1996-1998. Other positions held at NASA Headquarters in the Earth Science area from 1979-1996 include Deputy Associate Administrator; Deputy Division Director; Flight Program Branch Chief; and Program Manager of the (all international) TOPEX/Poseidon, NASA Scatterometer and Radarsat programs.

Finally, at the NASA Wallops Flight Center from 1963-1979, Bill served as SeaSat Radar Altimeter Experiment Manager, Aerospace Technologist, and Electronic Technician Apprentice.

Bill holds a BSEE with honors from Virginia Tech (1970), and maintains professional affiliations with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Astronautical Society (AAS), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Planetary Society, National Space Club, Women in Aerospace, the Maryland Space Business Roundtable and the Colorado Space Business Roundtable.

Bill’s roster of honors and awards include two Presidential Rank, Meritorious Executive awards; two NASA Distinguished Service Medals; the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; the French Space Agency’s (CNES) Bronze Medal; and the NASA GSFC’s Robert C. Baumann Memorial Award for Mission Success.

Carolyn W. Townsend

Carolyn Townsend has worked in the aerospace industry for 35+ years, and brings a diverse set of skills and experience to Townsend Aerospace Consulting (TAC).

TAC was established in early 2009, and specializes in taking client’s ideas and guiding them down the road to results. Carolyn is the principal owner of TAC, a woman-owned small business that provides expert advice to the Aerospace industry. TAC currently has 3 private sector clients nationwide, including one International client. TAC government clients include NOAA and NASA Goddard, Ames, Kennedy and Langley. Carolyn’s work focuses mainly on Business Development and Washington Operations.

After a multi-faceted career with NASA, Carolyn had an opportunity to bring her accumulated skills to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colorado, in 2007, as they established a new office in Huntsville, Alabama.

While in Huntsville, Alabama, Carolyn served as Ball Aerospace’s Community Liaison. Ball Aerospace was new to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as well as the Huntsville business community, so it was imperative that the company become a known quantity immediately, and become completely integrated throughout the community. Carolyn made the company an important and contributing entity in an aerospace oriented city of 300,000 people in a short period of just 6 months. Clear evidence was, as the final down select of the Ares 1 launch vehicle Instrument Unit Avionics procurement from five companies to two was announced, that Ball was referred to as “a local company” by the Huntsville Times.

Carolyn retired from NASA Headquarters in 2005 from the Office of Space Flight. Her last assignment was as Executive Secretary of a Source Evaluation Board (SEB). Her prior assignment in Space Flight was as an Outreach program planner.

Earlier assignments included being a Public Affairs Officer where she supported activities in the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs. As an original member of the Space Station Task Force she worked with the team to facilitate an endorsement of the Space Station in President Reagan’s State of the Union Address in 1984.

She also was in the Congressional Liaison area of the Office of Legislative Affairs where she worked with Congressional staff as the Space Shuttle program became operational, including providing Congressional protocol for the first four Shuttle flights at Kennedy Space Center. Prior to that she was staff to the NASA Administrator’s Office while on detail from NASA Wallops Flight Center. Carolyn’s NASA career began in 1973 at NASA Wallops in Range Safety doing Administrative/Budget support for programs such as Sounding Rockets.

Carolyn is a member of the National Space Club, American Astronautical Society (AAS) and Women in Aerospace. Among her NASA awards are letters of accomplishment for her support to the Columbia Accident/Headquarters’ Crisis Action Center, outstanding Public Affairs support to the Office of Space Flight, and major contributions to NASA’s first targeted Outreach activity to the AARP Annual Convention.

Outside of the office, Carolyn has leveraged her work experience by advocating to the Maryland State Legislature regarding women, infants and children issues, and advocating to the Maryland/Anne Arundel County Public School system for the inclusion of Gifted and Talented programs, among other community contributions.