Spaceport news


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Spaceport news
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Kennedy Space Center
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United States -- Florida -- Brevard -- Cape Canaveral -- John F. Kennedy Space Center
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Spaceport News John F. Kennedy Space Center America's gateway to the universe. Leading the world in preparing and launching missions to Earth and beyond. December 20, 1996 Vol. 35, No. 25 T wo years ago the Christmas edition of Spaceport News carried a story about my appointment as center director. This Christmas, as I, along with 200 dedicated space center employees, prepare to move on to the next stages of our lives and careers, I would like to reflect not just on past accomplishments but on the new era of space exploration that lies ahead. NASA has endured some difficult months in recent years, striving to meet and exceed flight objectives while limited by federal budget and ceiling constraints. But you met our challenges in a superb way by increasing productivity and efficiency while maintaining the highest levels of safety. During the past year we have successfully launched seven Shuttle and three expendable vehicle missions that have brought us unparalleled new knowledge about the space around us and our role in it; given new life and a new home to the Saturn V launch vehicle; sent Shannon Lucid to the Mir space station to begin her record-setting odyssey of a lifetime and returned her safely home; and celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Shuttle exploration and the 35th of human space flight. We are also well underway in our plans for the future. The Global Surveyor and Pathfinder vehicles currently making their way toward Mars are expected to yield invaluable information about the planet believed to be most like our own; space station processing work is progressing toward the first planned launch of hardware; and two KSC employees have relocated to Houston to begin training for their opportunities to put their hands-on experience to work on those projects as astronauts. None of these things would have been possible without a skilled and dedicated team committed to seeing them through. Thank you for your good efforts. Enjoy the holiday season and take a moment to appreciate all we have been blessed with. Jay Honeycutt Center director


Page 2 SPACEPORT NEWS December 20, 199 6 The following is a compilation of some of the most significant events that have occurred at Kennedy Space Center during the past year. Although it is not possible to list every accomplishment, every effort has been made to include the highlights. Specific event dates are listed whenever possible, but in some cases Spaceport News issue date or Public Affairs release date may be provided. Here's to a very good year! ASTRONAUT ALAN SHEPARD is seated inside the Mercury capsule in this 1961 photo. HIGGINBOTHAM CALDEIRO RUSSIA'S MIR space station is viewed from Atlantis during mission STS-76. THE DELTA II second stage is hoisted in preparation for launch of the NEAR. THIS PHOTO is of the second EVA on mission STS-72, the first flight of 1996.


SPACEPORT NEWS Page 3 December 20, 1996 THE ORBITER COLUMBIA is greeted by recovery convoy team following touchdown at 6:49 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Shuttle Landing Facility. ASTRONAUT SHANNON Lucid accepts a congratulatory phone call from President Clinton following her return to Earth aboard the Shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility Sept. 26 at 8:13 a.m. THE LAST ELEMENT of the Saturn V/Apollo launch vehicle -the huge first stage -completes the journey from its display site south of the Vehicle Assembly Building to its new permanent home at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Banana Creek. MARS GLOBAL Surveyor lifts off Nov. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Station. KSC SHUTTLE Operations Manager Loren Shriver, right, displays the Olympic torch that he carried to the top of Launch Pad 39A.


Page 6 SPACEPORT NEWS December 20, 1996 Associate Di rector Alan Parrishs KSC career began in 1964 when he joined NASA as a television systems engineer and helped develop the television operations network to support the Apollo program. Parrishs tenure since then encompassed positions of increasing responsibility in some of the most critical areas of human spaceflight. He moved from chief, Communications System Operations Control Office from 1967-1969 to KSC associate director in 1994. As associate director, Parrish has provided a centralized management advisory service to the center director, the deputy director, and all levels of center manDirector of Payload Operations John T. Conway will retire on Dec. 31 after more than 34 years with NASA, including 30 years at KSC. He was appointed to his current position in May 1985. As director of Payload Operations, he is responsible for management and technical direction of preflight checkout and integration of Space Shuttle and expendable launch vehicle (ELV) payloads and payload carriers. He also is responsible for management and oversight of NASA experior Achievement Award, NASAs Exceptional Service Medal and three NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals. In 1990, he was awarded the Rank of Presidential Meritorious Executive. He was recognized by Vice President Al Gore and the National Performance Review as one of the heroes of the movement to reinvent government, and in 1995 was awarded the Rank of Presidential Distinguished Executive. Among Conways career highlights were his first NASA job at Langley, the Apollo 11 mission, the first Shuttle launch and working with mission teams on both Shuttle and ELV launches. When KSC Deputy Director James A. Thomas joined NASA fresh out of college in 1962, he could not have foreseen that he was beginning a 34-year civil service career that would span every U.S. human spaceflight program from Mercury to the Space Shuttle. Thomas, who goes by the nickname Gene, started out as an electrical engineer on the Cape involved with biomedical aspects of the Mercury capsule, and worked closely with the Mercury astronauts. During the Gemini era, he was part of the traveling roadshow that frequently visited the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis to inspect the Gemini spacecraft. For Apollo, Thomas served as lead engineer for prelaunch testing and checkout of communications systems. He recalled how thrilling it was to know that he played a part in making possible the poignant reading from the Bible by the Apollo 8 crew on Christmas Eve in 1968. Preparing the first Shuttle vehicle for flight ranked as the greatest technical challenge of his career. Many aspects of the Shuttles design were radically different than anything that had flown before: most of the hardware was meant to be reused, the crew was flying on the side of the vehicle instead of the top, and no human space launcher had ever incorporated solid rockets. From 1985 to 1986 Thomas served as acting director and subsequently director of Shuttle Launch and Landing Operations, holding the position of launch director for STS 51-J through 51-L. One of his retirement goals will be the completion of a book recounting the Challenger accident from his perspective, both as launch director as well as someone of strong religious faith. Thomas was appointed deputy director of KSC in January 1990, and has assisted three different KSC directors. He has received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Equal Opportunity Medal, Outstanding Leadership Medal and Meritorious Service Award. With his retirement date of Jan. 3 rapidly approaching, Thomas was looking forward to spending time with his four grandchildren and awaiting the birth of a fifth. Im going to go to all the little league games, piano concerts and birthday parties, he said. He and his wife Juanita also planned to see the parts of the world they hadnt seen before. (Continued next page) pendable vehicle operations at KSC and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Station and the Western Space and Missile Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Conway joined NASA in July 1962 at NASAs Langley Research Center, Virginia, where he worked on application of computer techniques for aircraft systems simulations. In 1966, he transferred to KSC and became the section chief responsible for computer systems software used for launch operations of Apollo, Skylab and ApolloSoyuz Test Project (ASTP) missions. During his career here, he received numerous Group Achievement Awards, a SuWalter T. Murphy, director of Engineering Development, will retire Jan. 3 after 33 years with NASA. As director, he is responsible for the planning, development, design, acquisition and sustaining engineering of Kennedy Space Center facilities, systems and equipment, and for their modification and rehabilitation. He was appointed to his current position in 1990. Murphy joined NASAs Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, in 1963 and worked on checkout systems for the Apollo spacecraft program. He transferred to Kennedy Space Center in 1973 and was assigned to the development team for the Launch Processing System (LPS) for Shuttle checkout and launch operations. In 1984, Murphy led a team of NASA and Air Force engineering personnel as chief of Shuttle Engineering for the Air Force at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. He returned from Vandenberg in 1986 and was named deputy director of Engineering Development. Murphy has received numerous awards during his KSC career, including the NASA Exceptional Service Award in 1981, the KSC Center Directors Award in 1985, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Award in 1988 and the Rank of Presidential Meritorious Executive in 1993. His most exciting memories include being part of the ACE checkout team for Apollo, the initial engineering team which prepared for the launch of the first Shuttles, and the KSC team at Vandenberg; and meeting and knowing the thousands of aerospace workers throughout the nation.


SPACEPORT NEWS Page 7 December 20, 1996 agement. He also offered counsel on organizational matters, and on the development and implementation of management systems basic to the effective operations of the center. Some of the most prestigious honors that Parrish received during his 32-year career include two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, one for his work in association with the checkout and launch of the first Space Shuttle in 1981 and the second for his management of the ground engineering return-toflight activities for STS-26R in 1988. In 1991, President Bush conferred on Parrish the Rank of Meritorious Executive, as did President Clinton in 1996. While Parrish regarded his 13-year stint in the communications world with great fondness, he said that his involvement with the LPS was the most rewarding. With com [communications], he observed, doing a good job means that no one knows you exist. With LPS, youre producing a product with every launch. Its very satisfying. The greatest challenge was return to flight after the 1986 Challenger accident, Parrish recollected. We were re-doing everything from the ground up and there was tremendous pressure to do it right. And like many fortunate to be part of the space program at the time, Parrish said Apollo 11 was the highlight of his career. Those truly were the glory days, he said. It was an incredible experience because none of us thought we could do it, and yet we succeeded magnificently. Parrish, whose official retirement date is Jan. 3, 1997, has already begun looking for the perfect motor home so he and his wife Pat can begin their eight-week trip to the West coast next May the first of what he hopes will be many trips throughout North America. Jackie Smith retired Dec. 3 from his position as director of Electronic Engineering within the Engineering Development Directorate. He was responsible for the engineering, design, and acquisition of new electronic checkout and support equipment for Shuttle and space station. Smiths 33-year NASA career touched every major facet of the human space program an achievement he credits the agencys team efforts with helping him accomplish. The early days of human flight were the most challenging, he said, because of the unknowns inherent in such pioneering enterprises. At the front end of every program there were significant problems and concerns, he said. It was kind of scary in those days you werent sure it was all going to work. The high point of his career came when he served as the lead command and service module project engineer for Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission. In Smiths most recent position he was tasked with developing the Test, Control, and Monitor System (TCMS) for the International Space Station Program. Previously Smith served as the KSC director, Safety and Reliability and in 1994, was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Medal for his contributions. Smith was awarded an Exceptional Service Medal in 1974, for his work on the Skylab Program, as well as numerous Achievement and Commendation Awards. His post-retirement plans include taking some time off before possibly going back to work. He credits space center employees with making his career memorable. Ive never had a bad job out here, he said. Frank Durso is retiring from his position as director of Facilities Engineering in the Engineering Development Directorate. Durso is responsible for overseeing all engineering projects that fall under Kennedy Space Centers major facilities construction budget. Prior to assuming his new position July 3, 1995, Durso was chief of the Facilities Planning and Projects Office at NASA Headquarters. That organization managed all NASA Construction of Facilities (CoF) projects including requirement reviews, development of project budget requests, surveillance of preliminary engineering reports, studies, final designs, cost estimates and construction monitoring and reporting. Durso started his career in 1958 as an electrical engineer in the Base Civil Engineers office at Offutt Air Force Base, NE. He joined NASA in 1963 as a facilities engineer, designing industrial and research-type facilities for the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, OH. Durso is a registered professional engineer in Nebraska and New Jersey. He rose to the rank of full colonel in the Air Force Reserves as commander of a Civil Engineering flight. He is recipient of a Presidential Management Certificate for excellence in improving government operations and a NASA special achievement award for sustained superior performance. In 1990, he received the NASA Exceptional Service medal. ( continued from previous page) John R. (Dick) Lyon will retire Dec. 31 as director of Logistics Operations. His responsibilities included managing the contract for Shuttle Orbiter flight hardware spares, repairs and all the associated planning and management of the supply vendor infra-structure. He was also responsible for technical management of logistics functions of repair and spares for all launch processing ground systems and facilities for Shuttle and payloads processing. Prior to his appointment to this position in 1995, Lyon was deputy director of Payload Management and Operations. Prior to this position, Lyon was manager of the Space Station Project Office at KSC, where he managed and directed all KSC Space Station activities. I feel like I have been one of the most fortunate people in the world, Lyon said. "I got to start with a clean sheet of paper with the Apollo, Shuttle and Space Station programs. It has been a great thing to have been a part of history. Lyons most memorable moment at KSC was during an Apollo program design review. He found himself on the floor looking at a large schematic drawing and suddenly realized that both Kurt Debus and Werner Von Braun were alongside him. With a sense of awe, he realized then that what he was doing would have a significant historical impact. Lyon has been with NASA since June 1964, and KSC since March 1965. After retirement he plans seek to other employment in the area, but will also spend a significant amount of time enjoying his grandchildren and college basketball tournaments.


John F. Kennedy Space Center Spaceport News The Spaceport News is an official publication of the Kennedy Space Center and is published on alternate Fridays by the Public Affairs Office 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, PA-MSB. E-mail submissions can be sent to Managing editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lisa Malone Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Barb Compton Editorial support provided by Sherikon Space Systems Inc. writers group. USGPO: 532-112/20037 SPACEPORT NEWS December 20, 199 6 Page 8 IN ORBITER PROCESSING Facility Bay 1, United Space Alliance (USA) technicians Dave Lawrence, at left, and James Cullop troubleshoot the orbiter Columbia's outer hatch of the airlock, which failed to open during the recent STS-80 Space Shuttle mission. Mission Specialists Tamara Jernigan and Thomas Jones did not perform the mission's planned two extravehicular activities (EVAs) or spacewalks because the hatch would not open on orbit. After workers gained access to the hatch they removed and closely examined the actuator (a gearbox mechanism that is used to operate the linkages that secure the hatch) and discovered a small screw embedded in the gears. The screw apparently came loose from an internal assembly and lodged in the gearbox. All six airlock actuators on Atlantis are being removed and recycled before its scheduled lauch on STS-81 Jan. 12. Down the hatch Twenty-two NASA employes graduated with masters degrees in business administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) on Dec. 14, thanks to a NASA program that allowed them to attend classes on-center. The Lockstep program was created to encourage and support federal workers wishing to achieve higher educational levels. The name Lockstep refers to the predetermined curriculum of two classes per semester for two years. Graduates are: Christopher Beidel; Joy Jones Laura Blevins; Patricia Leonard; Shirley Bumatay; Thomas Niemeyer; Brian Burns; Tanya Plummer; Deborah Carstens; David Spacek; Denise DeLapascua; Robert Spiess; Tuan Doan; Burton Summerfield; Bob Ferrell; Walner Thervil; Alan Gettleman Carol Valdes; Jean Henderson; Jeffrey Wallace; Bridgit Higginbotham; and Donna Winchell. For the fifth year in a row Kennedy Space Center employees can sign up for a course designed to prepare candidates for the examination leading to the certified manager certification. The course is being offered by the McDonnell Douglas Management Association and will be taught by Certified Managers Wendell Wilkins and Charley Smith. The preparatory course is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1997, with classes held every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. The classes will end April 23, 1997. Classes will be held in the Space Station Processing Facility, Room 2094 and will cost $40 for members of the McDonnell Douglas Management Association and $45 for non-members. For more information call Wilkins at 867-6818 or Smith at 867-1965 Certified managers course starts Jan. 8 NASA employees receive MBAs from FIT KSC BONE MARROW Donor Registration Drive Chairman Dr. George Martin, left, and Center Director Jay Honeycutt and accept a plaque from the American Red Cross' Southeast Regional Director Jeff Koenreich and the Leukemia Society of America's Associate Executive Director Martin Bernstine. KSC was honored by the organizations Dec. 10 for its record-setting response to the bone marrow registration drive held on center earlier this year. More than 900 potential donors were added to the National Bone Marrow Registry as a result of the drive -a new record for the most people registered in a single day in the three-state region. ACTOR CORBIN BERNSEN of the television series "The Cape" tries Center Director Jay Honeycutt's chair on for size. In October Honeycutt announced his plans to retire. "The Cape" has filmed at KSC for much of the year. New center director?