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ST. LOUIS– The NASA community is mourning the loss of Mark Geyer, a former director for the agency’s Johnson Space Center, who died Tuesday after fighting pancreatic cancer.

From NASA:

Geyer joined NASA as part of the International Space Station Program in 1994, where he served a variety of roles, including NASA’s lead negotiator with Russia on space station requirements, plans, and strategies. He was the first program manager for Orion, a key component of NASA’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface. Geyer served as deputy program manager of the Constellation Program, before transitioning to manager of the Orion Program, a position he held until 2015. Under Geyer’s direction, Orion was successfully tested in space in 2014 for the first time, bringing NASA another step closer to sending astronauts to deep space destinations.

NASA news release, december 7, 2021

It was in Geyer’s role with the Orion program, part of NASA’s push to return to the Moon and ultimately get to Mars, that the childhood fan of the St. Louis Cardinals was able to throw out a first pitch at Busch Stadium in 2015.

He also came bearing a special gift for the team that day, a Cardinals pennant that flew on Orion’s first flight.

Geyer drew praise from former Cardinals Hall of Fame employee Brian Finch, who tweeted that Geyer was “one of the kindest, gentlest and most graceful leaders I’ve ever encountered, and he did so with poise and passion. We connected over his love of the @Cardinals. His impact is immense, a model for all of us.”