Philanthropist, Awarded NASA Manager join Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Board

HOUSTON, March 9, 2015 – A dedicated philanthropist and NASA’s awarded International Space Station Program manager are joining the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation board of directors as it comes off a banner year in 2014 and poises for additional growth in the new year.

Joan Del Papa

Joan Del Papa

Joan Del Papa, a business owner and philanthropic leader representing Del Papa Distributing Co., has extensive experience as a business professional and community supporter. Michael T. Suffredini of NASA Johnson Space Center is a recognized manager in space flight operations, international negotiations and policy development.

“Joan and Mike bring proven business leadership and a fresh perspective as the museum moves into the next phase of its long-term plan for growth,” said President and CEO Richard E. Allen, Jr. “The board of directors plays a crucial role in the development of the center.”

Last year, the center became Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, celebrated its fifth-highest annual attendance in the museum’s history and recorded its second-highest December attendance since opening in 1992. The year also saw the move of the historic shuttle carrier aircraft to the center, followed by a spectacular lift of the shuttle replica Independence to its permanent home on the SCA.

Michael Suffredini

Michael T. Suffredini

Del Papa of Galveston is a representative of Del Papa Distributing Co. With a passion for serving her community, she has served on the St. John Hospital Gala Fundraiser Planning Committee, Rotary Club of Space Center board of directors and the American Red Cross of Greater Houston Advisory Board. Among her accomplishments, Del Papa was named as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.

Del Papa earned a bachelor of science in merchandising from Louisiana State University, certificates in teaching and interior design from the University of Houston and is a Realtor and a licensed real estate agent in Texas.

Suffredini of Houston brings extensive experience in space flight operations. He is responsible for the budget and financial planning and overall strategic management of the ISS program. He is a veteran at policy development, international negotiations and crisis management.

Among his accomplishments, Suffredini successfully reduced the ISS operational budget by 18 percent and achieved an unprecedented accomplishment of no launches being delayed due to ISS hardware or operations readiness.

Suffredini holds a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His numerous awards and honors include the U.S. Presidential Ranks of both Distinguished Executive and Meritorious Executive and several outstanding NASA awards including the Exceptional Service Medal Exceptional Achievement Medal Outstanding Leadership Medal and Distinguished Service Medal.

The unique SCA and shuttle replica Independence exhibit complex will open in late 2015 as the only exhibit of its kind with fully built-out educational displays focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For more information on Space Center Houston and the foundation, visit


The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space museum with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with more than 800,000 visitors annually and a $45 million economic impact on the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center. The center draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to

SOURCE: Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc.

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