RoundupReads Meet Gateway’s Gary O’Neil: Integrated Performance Manager for Deep Space Logistics

Meet Gateway’s Gary O’Neil: Integrated Performance Manager for Deep Space Logistics


As a product of the Apollo era, Gary O’Neil vividly recalls counting down the launch of his model Saturn V Rocket as a child. Years later, he would launch into his own career as a NASA engineer.

Gateway’s Deep Space Logistics (DSL) Project Office at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida manages the cargo delivery and resupply for the Gateway space station. As the integrated performance manager for the DSL project, O’Neil coordinates the integration of the logistics module — which will carry cargo to the space station — with Gateway’s overall design and concept of operations. O’Neil’s team ensures future crews will receive supplies for their missions to the lunar surface and that the module meets all requirements for delivery in deep space.

Learn more about O’Neil:

Where did you grow up and when/how did you become interested in a career at NASA?
I grew up in central New York, in the hill country outside of Binghamton. Being born in the ‘60s, I have distant and vague memories of Apollo. My parents would take us on trips to Florida (we drove!) and always had Kennedy in the vacation itinerary. I also dabbled in model rockets as a kid, with the most vivid memory being that of my family coming out to the backyard to count down to my Saturn V launch. I never did find that rocket. As far as I know, it’s still in the fields outside of Binghamton to this day.

How long have you been at NASA?
I joined NASA as a civil servant in 2004, so 18 years and counting; but that’s only a little more than half of my career in working with NASA. I started working with NASA as an engineering support contractor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in 1992. I then moved to Florida, still as a contractor, to support the Launch Services Program (LSP) in 2002. And, after a couple of years, LSP brought me into the NASA fold.

What has been your favorite memory while working at NASA?
There have been so many over all these years, but I’ll pick the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite Mission. From the collaborative design work with United Launch Alliance to repaint part of their upper stage in order to thermally condition the separation system that needed to function near the Moon, to launch day and seeing the telemetry-fed imagery show the Earth getting smaller and smaller, to the day of impact at the Moon and seeing that separation system function to give the scientists two impact plumes to detect water. Of course, this wins the favorite memory, as it set the stage for sustained presence at the Moon via Gateway and Artemis.

What excites you most about Gateway and its role in Artemis missions?
Again, being an “Apollo kid,” Artemis has a touch of returning my childhood to it. Working Gateway as a piece of Artemis – particularly in the Deep Space Logistics Project and its end-to-end service to Gateway from launch through cislunar flight and beyond – brings my career full circle. I started in spacecraft design, analysis, test, and operations, then went to LSP and learned about launch vehicle design, analysis, test, and operation. And now as integrated performance manager for DSL, I’m bringing all of that together to ensure successful launch, flight, and operations at Gateway.

Being surrounded by such a high-performing group of people, what’s a great piece of advice you would give to someone interested in your role?
Over my career I’ve always said, “I’m never the smartest one in the room, but I’m in the room.” My advice is to conduct yourself with a confident humility. Do your homework to have the confidence that you bring value to the team, but the humility to accept that you may be wrong, or that there may simply be a better answer.

What are five words your friends/family would use to describe you?
That’s an awkward question that maybe I should poll some to answer. I hope they would say dependable, honest, genuine, humble, and thirsty. I hope those who know me will grin at that last one.


The Gateway program is an international collaboration to establish humanity’s first space station around the Moon, an essential element of NASA’s Artemis missions. Gateway will host many capabilities for sustained exploration and research in deep space, including docking ports for a variety of visiting spacecraft, space for crew to live and work, and onboard science investigations to study heliophysics, human health, and life sciences, among other areas. Gateway will be a critical platform for developing technology and capabilities to support future Mars exploration.

Meet Gateway’s Gary O’Neil. Image courtesy of Gary O’Neil.