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Americas gateway to the universe.February 18, 2005John F. Kennedy Space Center Spaceport Newshttp://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/snews/spnews_toc.html Vol. 44, No. 4(See KENNEDY, Page 2) By George Diller KSC Public AffairsIts not often that someone new takes the helm at the Merritt Island Launch Area (MILA) tracking station, located in a remote southwest corner of Kennedy Space Center. In fact, Gary Morse, who took over as station director on Jan. 1, is only the fourth person in that position in MILAs 38-year history. He replaces Tony Ippolito, who retired after a 37-year career at KSC that included 13 years at MILA. The tracking station was built in 1966 for the Apollo program and has supported everyMorse becomes new tracking station directorlaunch from Complex 39 since that time. In addition, it has had a long history of tracking most of NASAs Earth-orbiting scientific satellites. Morse is no stranger to tracking. He was the networks director for the Space Shuttle at Goddard Space Flight Center from 19812000, then he transferred to the Johnson Space Centers Space Operations Management Office. In June 2004, Morse accepted a position at KSC in the Information Technology and Communications directorate as manager of Space Communications. With Ippolito anticipating his retirement last summer, Morse began to share some of the management responsibilities as part of a transition plan to his new role as station director this year. Its an exciting time to become the MILA Station director at this point in the stations history, said Morse. (See MORSE, Page 7)GARY MORSE is the director of the Merritt Island Launch Area tracking station.By Jeff Stuckey EditorCenter Director Jim Kennedy shared Kennedy Space Centers strategic plans for the future during an all hands meeting Feb. 9 at the Training Auditorium. Kennedy talked about the current events affecting KSC, the current budget in Congress and its influence on the Center, and the strategic planning going on within the senior management team. He began by stating the work force is safer than ever due to the changes set forth after the Columbia accident. Change is imminent and change is good, he said. We need to embrace it, we need to share it and we need to make the most of it. Lets go forward and embrace the change. He expressed the importance of planning now for activities that will happen in the future, even beyond the year 2010. Kennedy said the Center canKennedy's all hands highlights Center's futurefunction within the current budget. There will be a net reduction of $500 million to the Agency, however KSC has an increase because of the work content the Agency looks to you to accomplish. We are being asked to do more and we got the funds to do it. There is also an increase in Launch Services Program missions because of the nations desire to explore the universe. In order to explore the universe, the science roles have gone up in terms of payloads and the launch services team will be launching more missions over this horizon than ever before. As the Space Shuttle program moves toward a 2010 retirement, the work force will change. We are looking at those changes today because we care about our work force and want to always tell you the truth as we know it. There may be a time when we have less people and less infrastructure than we have today, Kennedy said. How much that is has yet to beTHE FEB. 9 all hands meeting featured the Training Auditorium's new high-definition digital light projector and phone system. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe was clearly broadcasted live on the new matte white viewing screen as a surprise guest.
SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005 Page 2 Awards The Kennedy UpdateJim Kennedy Center DirectorSTANDING IN the back row, from left, are: Henry Yu, Information Technology and Communication Services; Ray Norman, Spaceport Services; Tracy Gill, International Space Station/Payload Processing; Sandy Greeson, Shuttle Processing; and Bob Deliwala, Safety and Mission Assurance. Sitting in the front row, from left, are: Maxie Johnson, Spaceport Engineering and Technology; Delores Abraham, External Relations; Karen Lucht, Launch Integration; and Catherine Alexander, Launch Services Program.February Employees of the Monthdetermined, but we have time to plan for it. Kennedys speech included a panel session featuring Scott Kerr, director of Spaceport Services and chair of the Vision Transformation Team; Nap Carroll, KSC chief financial officer; Patrick Simpkins, director of Human Resources; and Shawn Quinn of the KSC Exploration Office. For the first time, the all hands featured the Training Auditoriums new high-definition digital light projector and phone system. NASA Administrator Sean OKeefe was clearly broadcasted live on the new matte white viewing screen as a surprise guest. I have been down to visit with so many great colleagues at the Kennedy Space Center over the last several years of my tenure and they are among the highlights of the time I have spent at NASA, OKeefe said. I could not be more privileged and honored to be among such extraordinary professionals who are so dedicated to the mission and task we have been asked to do on behalf of the American people.Hi, everyone! You may not realize it, but its less than a month until Space Shuttle Discovery rolls over to the Vehicle Assembly Building and is mated with its External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters. Even more incredible is that its less than 90 days until the opening of the launch window for STS-114, set for May 12 to June 3. I know we all are getting excited as the Return to Flight milestones are being met. Its been two years of hard work coming to fruition and we have great moments in KSC history lying before us. For the technicians in the trenches carrying out all the work preparing our vehicles for safe flight, its been a long ordeal. But I promise, itll be worth it to see the pride of Americas Space Program zoom off Pad 39B to its rightful place in space. Believe me, as I talk to members of our local community and to people across the land, everyone wishes you well for the next Space Shuttle launch. Keep up the great work everyone, its definitely noticed and appreciated. If you missed our all hands meeting Feb. 9 concerning the NASA budget and where KSC is heading for the future, Id like to emphasize a couple of points from the meeting. First, KSCs future is bright. We are the launch operations Center of NASAs future for whatever vehicle the Crew Exploration Vehicle turns out to be. At the same time, however, it wont be business as usual after the Space Shuttle retires and there will be change ahead. But its change for the better and we should embrace it. With the Space Shuttle retiring in 2010, we already know we wont need our current total infrastructure to support the CEV and the associated launch vehicles. Therefore, over the next few years, those facilities that cant be reconfigured to support CEV will close. This is a smart business practice, as it reduces the amount of overhead to maintain to help us meet a projected 10 percent cut in the G&A account. Similarly, well be reshaping the civil service work force, as well. As odd as it may sound, well be hiring new people at the same time we offer early outs and buyouts to retirementeligible employees. These programs are Agencywide and are driven by the skill sets we need for the future to accomplish NASAs mission. Our Human Resources directorate will release the details just as soon as they are available. While some skill sets will most likely be exempt, such as those directly related to Return to Flight, I encourage any retirement-eligible person interested in an early out or buyout to talk to their HR rep once the details are announced. Like our facilities, with the Shuttles retirement, we know the work force of the year 2011 and beyond wont be as large as the one today. Jim Thompson, in the latest Notes and Happenings that our HR directorate publishes every month, has a great article to read on the subject, as well. So if retirement looms close in your future and you are thinking of leaving soon, these programs may be for you. Talking or writing about personnel programs is never easy because they directly involve the lives of people and their families. I promise you that your leadership team is engaged with headquarters concerning these issues and we wont bury our heads in the sand, pretending it isnt happening. We are aggressively planning for the future so KSC is in the best position possible to support Americas Space Program for decades to come. I pledge to use this column, along with other communication mediums, to keep you informed as the details unfold. Have a great week, everyone, and be safe. A belated Happy Valentines Day to all."I promise you that your leadership team is engaged with headquarters concerning these issues and we won't bury our heads in the sand, pretending it isn't happening."KENNEDY . .(Continued from Page 1)
SPACEPORT NEWS Page 3 February 18, 2005By Linda Herridge Staff WriterUnited Space Alliance aero-composite technician A.J. Factor divides his life between two very important missions. First is his work in the Thermal Protection System Facility, which he views as an important contribution to a successful Return to Flight. Equally, if not more important, are his efforts to use his racing experience to spread the word about the serious health condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Factors daughter, 4-year-old Sierra Journey, was diagnosed at 10 months old with Type II SMA. The disease, which almost always occurs during childhood, eats away at muscles and is considered the leading genetic killer of children. Though Sierra is in a wheelchair, and will be for the rest of her life, she has better mobility than other children with this disease, Factor said. She does physical therapy twice perFactor helps missions to space, matters of the heartweek and has a good appetite, but there are certain foods, including dairy products, that are limited. Factor, who has raced in motorsports since the age of seven, renamed his team from Factor Racing to SMA Motorsports after his daughters diagnosis in 2001. Along with his wife and daughter, Factor travels around Florida to educate people about SMA, hands out informative literature and talks to those who are interested. He raises research money for Families of SMA for genetic stem-cell research to combat the disease. Wed like people to know how serious the disease is and that its preventable, said Factor. Its not a disease in the forefront of the news. He added that no formal medical treatment exists to stop the progression of SMA, but parents can request a specific blood test before they contemplate starting a family. Statistics in 2001 showed approximately four in every 1 million children have SMA. Now, just three years later, new research revealed one in every 6,000 children are born with the disease. In the Central Florida area, Factor knows of about five children diagnosed with SMA. Currently, there are no formal support groups, but Factor says his family is there for others who may need support. Its a lifetime commitment for me. SMA Motorsports is just a tool to educate people one race at a time, Factor said. And working on something that goes into space is awesome. For more information about SMA visit Factors two Web sites at www.ajfactor.com and www.sierrasjourney.com .A.J. FACTOR, a United Space Alliance aerocomposite technician, and his daughter Sierra, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Factor (below left) and crew chief Jason Pittman stand next to the SMA Motorsports race car.Alexander appreciates work of Launch Services teamBy Jennifer Wolfinger Staff WriterThe Vision for Space Exploration is challenging NASA to accomplish many exciting milestones. For her services in helping this evolution, Catherine Alexander was named the Launch Services Programs February Employee of the Month. As a program analyst with the programs Integration Office, she worked with the engineering division to secure contractor support to meet several highpriority tasks for the certification of new launch vehicles. Upon receiving the award, Alexander expressed her appreciation for working with such supportive teammates and her commitment to maintaining and improving her responsiveness and professionalism. The Launch Services Program is a great place to work. To be recognized by my peers for doing a job that I enjoy is a wonderful bonus, she said. I will continue to improve the processes we have in place for new requirement definition, surveillance of ongoing work and keeping the lines of communication open with all parties involved. Alexander is a liaison for technical experts in Launch Services and program management with the contracting community. This includes translating requirements into statement of work language, managing the flow of technical requirements into our contracting support office, and assisting with cost estimates and surveillance of all work on the contract, she explained. I have always enjoyed trying to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of complex systems. My experiences at NASA have culminated in this role, which allows me to use those exact skills every day, she said. During her free time, she gardens and works as a choreographer with young dancers at a local performing arts company. Alexander and her husband, Neil Huhta, have a daughter, Jaeden, who is 15 years old.CATHERINE ALEXANDER was named the Launch Services Program's February Employee of the Month.
Page 4 SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005 By Linda Herridge Staff WriterThe Environmental Microbiology Lab has moved, literally, into the future of space support at Kennedy Space Center. Since the Apollo days, the EML was located in the BioAstronautics Operation and Support building on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. However, the lab recently relocated to the Operations and Checkout Building on Center, where the EML staff held an Open House Jan. 26 to showcase the new facility. The move is part of NASAs plan to combine all of the flightsupport labs into one area, according to Bionetics Corp. manager Dr. Arthur Arnold. Development of this lab assures state-of-the-art capabilities are available to support our mission in the present, and into the future at KSC, Bionetics project director Jerry Moyer said. The EML is one of several flight-support labs operated by the Bionetics Corp. under the Life Sciences Support Contract.Microbiology science lab moves into futuOther support labs inside the O&C include the Clinical Chemistry and Microbiology Lab and the Baseline Data Collection Facility, which supports human testing and research on astronauts and KSC volunteers. During the Open House, medical technologist Juan Melendez demonstrated the daily operations of the drinking-water test lab certified by the state of Florida. The team performs bacteriological water testing for the drinking water systems on KSC, CCAFS and Patrick Air Force Base. Environmental microbiologist Jason Johns demonstrated the process used to culture and then identify fungi or molds. Lead microbiologist Randy Sumner said, This move puts us more in the hub for Return to Flight support efforts and immediate sharing of information and ideas. He explained why the SCAN RDI (Rapid Detection Instrument) is one of the most rapid testing machines of its kind for counting bacteria. The RDI delivers bacterial counts in fluids such as water within four hours, rather than the typical 48-hour process. John Rudy Puleo, former EML project director who now works in Medical Operations, stopped by for a tour. It is a very productive lab and Im happy to see them in this new location, Puleo said. The EML workers help in preparing water to be loaded into the orbiters drinking water system and take samples before and after each space flight. They also take surface and air samples in the crew compartment and flight deck 10 days prior to flight and send them to labs at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Sumner said they also support International Space Station hardware by sampling the internal temperature control system fluid and perform bacteriological sampling of the MultiPurpose Logistics Modules before and after flight. They test other flight hardware as requested. During processing of the Mars Exploration Rovers, workers supported the Planetary Protection Office by helping the EML serve as the verification lab for bacteriological testing performed on the rovers before they were encapsulated for flight to Mars. The five-story O&C facility, the largest facility in the Industrial Area, was built in 1964 to assemble and checkout the Apollo spacecraft modules, as well as provide crew training and preflight preparations. The building contains laboratories, medical facilities and the Apollo mission highaltitude chambers, which were used to test the integrated command, service and docking modules in a simulated space environment. In the 1970s and 1980s, the large processing bay was modified to receive, assemble and test horizontally integrated and processed payloads, including Space Shuttle pallet-type payloads and special flight structures. Processing activities included hardware staging, experiment integration, and payload integration and verification. Today, the high bay is used to stage and store components for the International Space Station.ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGIST Jason Johns explains a fungal microbiology procedure to Janet Prieto and Melissa Riester-Hartsell at the new Environmental Microbiology Lab.
Page 5 SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005 re in Operations and Checkout facilityDURING THE Environmental Microbiology Lab Open House, Randy Sumner (left), lead microbiologist with Bionetics Corp., talks about the new facility with Paul Hintze, a National Academie fellowship scientist working with ASRC, and Dr. Kenneth Cohen, a research physiologist with Bionetics Corp. SINCE THE Apollo days, the EML was located in the BioAstronautics Operation and Support building on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. However, the lab recently relocated to the Operations and Checkout Building. The move is part of NASA's plan to combine all of the flightsupport labs into one area. LEAD MICROBIOLOGIST Randy Sumner(left) with Bionetics project director Jerry Moyer discuss uses of the SCAN RDI machine. MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST Juan Melendez explains the daily operation of the drinking water lab to Catherine DiBiasi and Joe Benjamin.
Page 6 SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005A NASA Explorer School from Kennedy Space Centers district recently won the Space Exploration Video Festival at the 1st Space Exploration Conference in Orlando. McNair High School in Dekalb County, Ga., won the Lockheed Martin-sponsored festival that ran Jan. 29 through Feb. 2 at Walt Disney Worlds Contemporary Hotel. For the competition, the students produced a three-minute video demonstrating why space and space exploration is important. The scoring criteria in-KSC Explorer School wins award at space conferencecluded the ability to capture the theme, creativity and technical merit. The video had to be original and created by the team of students. The award for the firstplace team included a trip to Orlando for the conference where its members would present their video, round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, Disney Park Hopper Passes, a tour of KSC, an evening of entertainment at Disneys Epcot and a $500 U.S. savings bond to McNair High School.AT THE 1st Space Exploration Conference, the NASA Explorer School team from McNair High School receives the Space Exploration Video Festival award sponsored by Lockheed Martin. Standing with the awards (from left to right) are Trenten Nash, Theo Maxie and Daniel Jackson. Presenting the awards were John Karas (left) with Lockheed, and Adm. Craig Steidle (right), associate administrator of the Office of Exploration Systems at NASA.Four university teams have been selected as finalists to proceed to the next phase of a competition aimed at advancing NASAs plans for lunar and Mars exploration. Teams from the Colorado School of Mines, Florida Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University in Indiana are being challenged in the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) University Design Competition. They must develop innovative concepts to demonstrate the feasibility of using lunar regolith (unconsolidated material that overlies bedrock) as a source forDesign competition to aid Vision for Space Explorationoxygen, water and other commodities necessary for lunar exploration and research operations. Congratulations to the four talented teams selected to participate in the ISRU Design Competition, said Florida Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings. Universitybased research, development and design are key to the success of our nations Vision for Space Exploration. I applaud the Florida Space Research Institute, NASA and the Florida Space Grant Consortium for facilitating this exciting program, helping to prepare our nations brightest minds for successful careers in space. Under a partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp., representatives of each team participated in the 1st Space Exploration Conference at Disneys Contemporary Resort Jan. 30 Feb. 1. FSRI executive director Sam Durrance and NASA representatives presented a check for $12,000 to each team during the conferences opening ceremony. The funds will support the continued design efforts of the teams, leading to the selection of winning designs in April. The winning concepts may ultimately be included aboard a NASA robotic lander or rover being considered for launch early in the next decade to a permanently shadowed crater at the lunar pole. NASAs Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center in Houston are co-sponsoring the competition with FSRI and the Florida Space Grant Consortium under the space agencys Regolith and Environment Science @ Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) project.STUDENTS FROM one of NASA's Explorer Schools, Stewart Middle School in Tampa, pose for a photo with other guests visiting the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa. At left, in the back row, are former astronaut Dan Brandenstein, current vice president of Consolidated Space Operations Centers, and KSC Deputy Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. In the center is Ronte Smith, southeast regional sales manager for General Motors, and Gail Rymer, with Lockheed Martin. On the right are Dr. Adena Williams Loston, chief education officer at NASA Headquarters, and Wit Ostrenko, president of MOSI. The MOSI is featuring the space exhibits "Space: A Journey to Our Future," an extraordinary, interactive exhibition designed to entertain, educate and inspire; and "SPACE STATION," the first cinematic journey to the International Space Station in which audiences can experience for themselves life in zero gravity aboard the Station.Space exhibit opens in Tampa museum
SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005 Page 7By John Madura NASA Weather OfficeThe annual Florida Hazardous Weather Awareness Week, this year scheduled for Feb. 20-26, teaches weather safety covering all of the main Florida weather hazards, including tornadoes. Tornadoes are the third leading cause of weather deaths in Florida. Tornado season usually begins in late February, peaks in late March and then rapidly declines during April. Tornadoes in late winter and early spring are caused by strong cold fronts moving through our area. Since spring-time cold fronts are fairly easy to predict, the potential for these tornadoes can usually be forecast a day or more in advance. The stronger the cold front, the higher the chance tornadoes will occur and the stronger the tornadoes likely will be. Very strong cold fronts may generate tornadoes of F3 strength or greater. Tornado safety is easy: have a plan and keep informed. Identify the safest room in your building and ensure everyone knows it. The safest rooms are on the lowest floor, farther inside, smaller with solid construction (restrooms and closets) and awayKeep informed about Florida's hazardous weatherfrom windows. Basements are even safer. A strong table and thick pads can protect you against falling debris. Though not official guidance, motorcycle and bicycle helmets can prevent head injuries. People in mobile homes or other weak portable buildings should seek proper shelter elsewhere. Do not open windows to let the building breathe. At Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) gives the potential for severe weather in its daily 24-hour forecasts and Weekly Planning Forecasts. If the threat continues, the 45 WS then issues a Severe Weather Watch with a desired lead time of four hours. Finally, if tornadoes are imminent or observed, the 45 WS issues a tornado warning with a desired lead time of five minutes. Follow local procedures listed in JDP-KSC-P-3005, Adverse Weather Procedures. At home, stay informed about approaching severe weather. The National Weather Service in Melbourne discusses the potential for severe weather in east Central Florida in its general forecasts. It issues a tornado watch when conditions are expected that may produce tornadoes, and issues a tornado warning when one has been detected. If severe weather is likely, review your safety plan with your family, especially reminding everyone of the safe room. Store loose outside materials and close protective shutters if there is time before the high winds start. If a tornado or severeweather watch is issued, listen for weather warnings and be ready to act. Go to your safe room if you see or hear a tornado or if threatening weather approaches; there may not be time for an official warning. If a warning is issued for your area, go to your safe room immediately. A NOAA All Hazards radio is also very important. If the National Weather Service issues a weather warning, the radio sounds an alarm. Alternatives for the hearingand visuallyimpaired are available. The Specific Area Message Encoder is a good option that allows you to block alarms for warnings outside your county.THIS WATERSPOUT formed in Port Canaveral and came ashore as a tornado last October. Hazardous Weather Awareness Week is Feb. 20-26.Were refurbishing our antennas and equipment for Return to Flight of the Space Shuttle, and also participating in the NASA Vision for the next era by determining whats necessary to support tracking an entirely new vehicle. MILA is still part of Goddard Space Flight Centers Space Flight Tracking and Data Network, as it has been from the beginning. However, Morse is the first to wear a KSC badge as its director, now a minor distinction under the One NASA philosophy. Morse will also oversee the NASA tracking station at Ponce De Leon Inlet known as PDL, a substation of MILA located 35 miles north of KSC and critical for communications during the Space Shuttles second minute of flight. Morse brings almost a quarter of a century of space flight tracking expertise to MILA at a time when the station is being refurbished for the Space Shuttles Return to Flight launch and landing requirements. He also is involved in helping to identify the tracking needs for the Crew Exploration Vehicle. Some of the questions being considered include: Will MILA be upgraded? Will there be a need for a completely new NASA tracking station at another location on KSC? Or, will the private sector be interested and able to meet the needs of the Exploration Initiative commercially from a location off site? But today, Morse puts the emphasis on Return to Flight mission STS-114. The astronauts for that mission visited MILA recently to see the facility and meet the team that will provide the critical voice, data and telemetry support for launch and landing. Already, the MILA team is tracking the Shuttle Training Aircraft as the astronauts hone their landing skills at the Shuttle Landing Facility. MILA is the primary communications link to Mission Control in Houston until slightly more than seven minutes into flight, when the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system takes over. However, during the mission, MILA is equipped to downlink television and serve as a back-up on the ground. MILA assumes a leading role once again upon acquisition of the orbiter, as it approaches the coast of Florida about eight minutes before landing. In addition to MILAs large S-band and UHF air-to-ground tracking antennas, the station has interfaces with TDRS-East and the Deep Space Network. There are 52 contractor personnel employed at the station who customarily work two shifts, five days per week. However, it becomes a 24/7 operation from the time the launch countdown begins until the moment the orbiter is towed from the runway to a hangar at the Orbiter Processing Facility.MORSE . .(Continued from Page 1)
Page 8 SPACEPORT NEWS February 18, 2005 John F. Kennedy Space Center Managing editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bruce Buckingham Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Stuckey Copy editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Corey Schubert Editorial support provided by InDyne, Inc. Writers Group. NASA at KSC is located on the Internet at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy USGPO: 733-049/60075Spaceport News Spaceport News is an official publication of the Kennedy Space Center and is published on alternate Fridays by External Relations in the interest of KSC civil service and contractor employees. Contributions are welcome and should be submitted two weeks before publication to the Media Services Branch, IDI-011. E-mail submissions can be sent to Jeffery.Stuckey@ksc.nasa.govBy Linda Herridge Staff WriterAfrican-Americans have been part of space exploration throughout history. This proud statement was among the opening remarks by Dr. Mabel Matthews, university program manager from the NASA Office of Education, during the African-American History Month luncheon Feb. 11 at Kennedy Space Center. The theme this year was African DiasporaWoven Into the Fabric of the Vision for Space Exploration. The African Diaspora describes the establishment of the presence of people of African descent throughout the world and is one of the oldest and most continuous aspects of the global black experience. An energized audience of KSC workers, including contractors and special guests, filled every seat in the Debus Center to participate in the popular annual event organized and sponsored by KSCs Black Employee Strategy Team (BEST). African-American scholars, scientists, engineers, administrative professionals and support staff have been threaded through the fabric of space exploration and have boldly contributed to ongoing successes, Matthews said. Deputy Center Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. expressedLuncheon celebrates African-American contributionshis pride in the great work that happens at KSC. Today we celebrate the many contributions of African-Americans, Whitlow said. We are many cultures, yet one NASA family. He spoke of a community dedicated to the Space Shuttles safe return to flight, the exploration initiative and continued successful implementation of NASAs mission. As our theme suggests, this is nothing new to AfricanAmericans. We are woven into the Space Program, Whitlow said. Referring to some of the first African-American astronauts such as Guion Bluford, Mae Jemison and Ronald McNair, he commented on their significant contributions to NASAs rich history. Keynote speaker Deidre Comegys Gordon, assistant managing editor of features at Florida Today, delivered a thought-provoking speech, weaving similarities between the African Diaspora experience and the U.S. Space Program. She shared a short story from her childhood. When I was little, my mother said, Go out there; theres plenty of space, referring to the backyard. That was my introduction to space, Gordon said with a laugh. Exploration breeds inspiration. It inspires me to know that an organization as large as NASA would include AfricanAmericans to be part of this important mission, Gordon said. Inclusion is very important. It lifts and propels. She encouraged everyone to continue to work diligently as you prepare for a successful return to flight. Continue to inspire. Continue to educate. During the luncheon, Harriet Harris, sister of the late Evelyn Johnson, announced this years Evelyn Johnson Scholarship recipient is James Bland, who attends the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Blands mother, Maria, accepted the scholarship in his absence. David Banks, BEST chairperson, thanked the event committee members for their efforts. When challenged to be great, NASA has been great, he said. As we are challenged to be greater, it will not be based on what we look like or how we talk. We are a One NASA family.O'Keefe leaves lasting legacyNASA ADMINISTRATOR Sean OKeefes many contributions to the Agency were highlighted in the "Administrators Farewell Celebration" Feb. 11, broadcast from NASA Headquarters. O'Keefe's last official day as administrator is Feb. 19. "It is with great satisfaction that I prepare to leave NASA for a new path in my life's journey, knowing that the foundation is set for an incredibly productive era of exploration and discovery," O'Keefe said.Center highlights 'Go Red For Women'THE GO Red for Women campaign, sponsored by the American Heart Association, is an effort focused on educating women about their risk for cardiovascular disease. As part of this effort, the Center held a presentation Feb. 11 at the Training Auditorium to give all employees the opportunity to learn about heart disease risks and ways to lower the risks. Heart disease is the number-one killer of women in America. View the video of the "Go Red for Women" program in its entirety on the KSC internal home page under the Featured Program section. KRIS CALDERON discusses heart disease in the Training Auditorium. AFRICAN-AMERICAN History Month luncheon speaker Deidre Comegys Gordon of Florida Today.