National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Cohort Program

The Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Technical Excellence Program (STEP) Cohort Program is designed to progress cohort participants through STEP Level 2 training within 12 months. The program provides a structured plan for completing the qualification requirements, dedicated time and resources to support the participant's journey, a technical mentor for guidance, and other support to help facilitate this accelerated plan for professional development.

The program offers several advantages, including

  • Opportunities to learn with and from fellow participants from around the agency, expand professional networks and forge relationships with SMA colleagues
  • Virtual sessions that give participants an opportunity to learn from and have the opportunity to interact with Subject Matter Experts from a variety of disciplines, programs and projects
  • Face-to-face sessions that include facility tours and deeper insights into work being conducted at several centers
  • Opportunities to meet and interact with members of center and SMA leadership

This page can be linked to the home screen of mobile devices. Learn how to create a shortcut.

Select Year

2020 Monthly Agendas

Biographies

Zunayed Abdullah Headshot

Zunayed Abdullah

Joe-Henry Armendariz Headshot

Joe-Henry Armendariz

Shane Brooke Headshot

Shane Brooke

Miranda Cooter Headshot

Miranda Cooter

Laura Holbrook Headshot

Laura Holbrook

Melissa McGuire Headshot

Melissa McGuire

Rebecca Molnar Headshot

Rebecca Molnar

Larrin Skimehorn Headshot

Larrin Skimehorn

Deboshri Sadhukhan  Headshot

Deboshri Sadhukhan

Sonali Siriwardana Headshot

Sonali Siriwardana

Christie Swarts Headshot

Christie Swarts

Connor Tyman Headshot

Connor Tyman

Lorenn Vega Martinez  Headshot

Lorenn Vega Martinez

Wilbert Wheeler Headshot

Wilbert Wheeler

Help and Resources

Contacts

Name Title Email Phone
Mike Kelly Technical Excellence Office Chief Michael.P.Kelly@nasa.gov 301.286.0662
Sue Otero Cohort Program Manager Suzanne.L.Otero@nasa.gov 216.433.9620
Don Brandl Quality Engineering Technical Discipline Team Lead Donald.E.Brandl@nasa.gov 256.961.4876
Guille M. del Carmen Software Assurance Technical Discipline Team Lead Guille.DelCarmen@nasa.gov 281.244.5712
Rochelle Gallagher Technical Development Programs Manager Rochelle.L.Gallagher@nasa.gov 216.433.2060
Mark George Aviation Safety and Operational Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead Mark.A.George@nasa.gov 216.433.9565
Michael Lipka Knowledge Management Specialist Michael.J.Lipka@nasa.gov 216.433.9591
Heidi Schultz Training Program Specialist Heidi.R.Schultz@nasa.gov
Richard Stutts Reliability and Maintainability Technical Discipline Team Lead Richard.G.Stutts@nasa.gov 256.544.4662
Coleen Taylor System Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead Coleen.V.Taylor@nasa.gov 321.861.2070
Ingrid Wagner Mishap Support Specialist Ingrid.E.Wagner@nasa.gov 216.433.2970

Zunayed Abdullah

Zunayed Abdullah currently serves as the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Visiting Vehicle Engineer (VVE) for the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser vehicle at Johnson Space Center. In this role, he reviews vehicle design documentation and monitors technical issues throughout the program life cycle. Additional tasks include providing support to forums including the International Space Station (ISS) program, SMA, SNC, and Engineering and Flight Operations Directorates.

As SNC approaches its maiden launch, Abdullah will also serve as the SMA flight lead for SNC. His duties will include participation at operational forums such as the joint operation panels, Technical Integration Meetings and safety review panels, as well as reviewing flight rules, procedures, and hazard reports. Furthermore, Zunayed will assist the Mission Evaluation Room (MER) safety console and evaluate real- time issues and problems while responding to assigned actions to assure compliance, risk identification and mitigation plans.  

Outside of his technical role, Abdullah assists the SMA directorate in early career co-op and intern recruitment and early career hire professional development.

Abdullah joined NASA as a Pathways intern in February 2016 with the Aerosciences and Flight Mechanics Division in the Engineering Directorate. His subsequent tour was with the Vehicle Integration and Daily Operations Division in the Flight Operations Directorate. 

In June 2017, Abdullah started his full-time career with the Inventory and Stowage Officer Branch in the same division within the Flight Operations Directorate as his previous Pathways tour. In this role, he supported the ISS program as a flight control room certified flight controller with more than 500 hours of real-time experience. Additional duties included coordinating and implementing solutions for real-time logistics and on-board stowage issues with Mission Control disciplines, flight directors, international partners, visiting vehicle partner, MER and the ISS program. Abdullah also supported major Commercial Resupply Service flights to the ISS by developing and integrating cargo vehicle products for multiple Northrup Grumman, HTV, Progress, Soyuz and Dragon cargo vehicles.

He received the Power of One award for continuing efforts to support the Johnson community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

Abdullah holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a proud alumnus of the Lambda Chapter of the Delta Phi Fraternity. 

His hobbies include weightlifting, playing bass guitar, traveling and cooking. 

Joe-Henry Armendariz

Joe-Henry James Armendariz currently serves as a Reliability and Quality Assurance aerospace engineer at White Sands Test Facility.

As a Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) engineer, Armendariz supports the Orbital Maneuver System-Engine/Thrust Vector Controller project; Respiratory Support Pack; and Flight Hardware procurement, receiving, and acceptance inspections. He also serves as an Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) control program manager; webPAPER work authorizing document application manager/administrator; Government-Industry Data Exchange Program/Notices and Alerts Distribution and Response Tracking System representative; facility health, safety, and environmental manager; and Pressure Vessels and Systems (PVS) engineer at White Sands.

In his SMA engineer role, typical duties include flight hardware test and handling procedure review and approvals, critical material procurement review and approvals, and test system hazardous analysis review and concurrence. He also serves as the test readiness review SMA office chief representative (and SMA signatory when delegated).

Prior to this position, Armendariz served as the operations system support engineer at White Sands, working on PVS in support of hypergolic rocket engine testing.

One of Armendariz’s major projects while working for NASA includes managing the wP application, an ongoing project that the facility relies on to coordinate and authorize the performance of highly technical and often hazardous work.

Before working at NASA, Armendariz served in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired in January after 24 years of active duty/reserve service. Various duties in the Marines included Direct Air Support Center Operations, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Operations, and United States Strategic Command-Joint Functional Component Command for Space Staff member.

Armendariz received the NASA Silver Snoopy Award in 2018. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University College of Engineering. He is a certified iNARTE ESD aerospace and defense engineer.

Armendariz has been married for 24 years to Larissa and they have three children (two boys and one girl) and two grandchildren (18-month-old twin girls). He enjoys bicycling, jogging, hiking and is starting to pick up golf now that he’s retired from the Marine Corps.

Austin Bowie

Austin Bowie currently serves as an Aerospace Technologist in experimental facility development at Ames Research Center. In this role, Bowie develops, manages and implements project plans associated with the safety and Quality (mission assurance) of high-risk ground and flight hardware and software systems.

Bowie performs Hazard Analysis of high-risk ground and flight hardware and software systems using various methods and tools such as Fault Tree Analysis and Failure Mode and Effects Analyses. He develops risk mitigations and hazard controls (and their associated verification methods) for complex systems; serves on various boards, committees, and audit teams to investigate anomalies, failures, and nonconformities of complex systems; and develops and implements policies, processes, and procedures aimed at safely executing high-risk ground and flight hardware and software projects.

Prior to working at NASA, Bowie was a technology and management consultant in the entertainment industry. He filled duties as a product manager, project manager and analyst of a variety of projects. His activities included requirements gathering, specification drafting, validating and verifying implementation, overseeing and prioritizing software release cycles, management operation analysis and streamlining, and real-time data management between various partners of a high-profile, high-user volume service.

Bowie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California in 2016. He is trained in IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum Certification (Operator, Inspector) and NASA STD 8739.4, Workmanship Standard for Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses, and Wiring Certification (Operator, Inspector).

Bowie enjoys outdoor activities like skiing and surfing and also loves playing guitar.

Shane Brooke

Geoffrey Card

Geoffrey William Card currently serves as a safety specialist for Kennedy Space Center. His main responsibilities include construction safety support for C of F, SABER and environmental remediation contracts. He also supports the Institutional Safety Division with facility inspections, safety and health initiatives, safety and health program development, and document reviews.

Some major projects or achievements while working for NASA include updating KNPR 8715.7, KSC Construction Contractor Safety and Health Practices. He also has worked with the Kennedy Federal Employee Safety and Health Program, which Kennedy civil servants and supervisors use to track their training and will eventually have its own written safety programs.

Card is qualified in the Safety and Mission Assurance Technical Excellence Program Level 1 and is currently working on Level 2. He has earned various Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institute certifications, including Construction 30-Hour, OSHA General Industry 510 and OSHA Construction 511. Card will soon receive his Graduate Safety Practitioner certification from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Prior to this position, Card was a Pathways intern. He began working as a civil servant for NASA in May 2019 and he is very proud to be working for NASA.

Card earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental soil science from The University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in occupational safety and health science from Murray State University.

He loves being outdoors, whether it is hunting, fishing or sitting by a campfire in his backyard. Most of all, he loves spending time with his wife, son and dog.

Miranda Cooter

Lisa Downs

Sadie (Lisa) Elizabeth Downs currently serves as Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Office deputy lead at NASA’s IV&V Facility. 

In this role, Downs plans, organizes and directs office business functions; establishes and maintains accounting procedures, fiscal reporting requirements, and budget work programs; analyzes expenditures and other financial data; is responsible for and/or contributes to all monthly, weekly, and other office reporting as required; reviews technical contributions from all IV&V projects; works closely with the IV&V office lead to determine the needs of the office, including resources, budget, training, etc.; and works with the contractor leads to determine and adjust staffing needs. She also currently serves as the Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for the program’s IV&V contract.

Prior to these roles, Downs served as an IV&V project manager for the International Space Station (ISS), where she was responsible for the leadership and technical direction of IV&V activities performed for the ISS.

She was also Procurement and Contract Management lead for the IV&V program, responsible for the management and coordination of all program contracts, where she facilitated and participated in performance evaluation boards; participated as a consultant in source evaluation boards; led and participated in transition teams for new contracts; led and participated in regular communications and meetings with all CORs to determine progress on contracts, discuss current challenges, and develop solutions; collaborated with other government personnel and the contractor as appropriate to resolve any contract and/or work issues; supported and managed contract-monitored operational performance against objectives; documented all activity and prepared reports including recommendations for improved efficiency regarding current contracts and procurement processes; formulated and executed business strategies to reduce risk, enhance customer satisfaction, build positive customer relationships, and improve Quality Assurance; and mentored new and less-experienced CORs in navigating policies and procedures and in resolving difficult contractual issues. She also served as the project manager for the Orion and Ares IV&V projects.

Prior to NASA, Downs worked as a deputy program manager at the Northrop Grumman Corporation from August 2007 to March 2008, where she performed duties associated with program management, operations management, and chief engineering; worked closely with the program manager; attended contract-level meetings with the customer and completed action items as assigned in absence of the program manager; coordinated staffing changes and additions, company reach-back, and regularly met with team members and subcontractors; developed, reviewed and approved program-level deliverables including financial reports and technical reports; developed and presented technical presentations for periodic program reviews; pursued new business opportunities, including NASA research infusion efforts related to the IV&V contract and business opportunities within the local area; and provided and approved performance evaluations and expense reports for 11 direct reports.

Downs also worked as a project management and planner for Northrop Grumman Corporation from August 2006 to March 2008, where she was a technical volume captain/co-capture manager/oral presenter for the Constellation proposal submitted to NASA in April 2007. Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded approximately 65% of the total award. She served as the contractor project lead for the Orion, Mars Phoenix, Glory and Mars Science Laboratory IV&V projects; led the IV&V tasking for four teams of 15 total analysts; managed budgets and schedules for all assigned IV&V projects; and developed required monthly and technical reports, including financial reports and schedules.

Prior to that, Downs was the vice president of Mountain State Information Systems from November 2005 to August 2006, where she performed business development responsibilities to grow business in West Virginia for the company; investigated economic conditions, such as local industry trends and competition; networked with other small businesses and prime contractors to determine possible teaming opportunities; attended job fairs to recruit for current and planned work; and developed presentations showcasing the company’s capabilities to present to prospective customers.

Downs graduated from University of Maryland University College in May 2000 with a Master of Science in computer systems management, with an emphasis in software development management. She also earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering (B.S.CpE) and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering (B.S.E.E.) from West Virginia University in May 1995.

Downs enjoys traveling and running and is a major Disney fan.

Ronnie Good

Ronnie Good is a Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Aerospace Technologist at Stennis Space Center. In this role, he serves as the Stennis Facility Safety Point of Contact and provides oversight to Facility Safety inspections and technical engineering expertise for the operation of facilities, systems and equipment. Good evaluates facilities, structures, systems and/or equipment to determine compliance with existing federal and agency safety regulations and requirements. When noncompliance conditions exist, safety findings are generated, coordinated with the appropriate parties for correction and tracked to closure. 

Good serves as an Occupational Safety and Health Administration Special Government Employee for the NASA-Stennis Voluntary Protection Program.  He also serves on the Interim Response Team as part of the Stennis Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plan.  

Before joining NASA, Good served as the safety specialist on the Information and Technology Services Contract at Stennis from February 2013 to October 2019. Prior to that position, he served in safety positions with a crane and heavy haul company, with a chemical manufacturer and as a safety and health consultant.

Good previously held the Associate Safety Professional and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager certifications. He has completed SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP) Level 1 and had been working on STEP Level 2 Cross Discipline. Good received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from The University of Mississippi.

 

Laura Holbrook

Moreo Jones

Moreo L. Jones is currently the Occupational Safety and Health specialist at Marshall Space Flight Center, responsible for facility inspections, mishap investigations, safety consultation, emergency response, construction safety and contractor insight for the purpose of implementing safety programs for assigned facilities. At Marshall, he has performed numerous safety inspections, mishap investigations and created and publish the Quarterly QD12 Safety Newsletter to keep the Marshall community abreast of ongoing and changing safety information.

Prior to this position, Jones was the occupational safety and health specialist with the Department of Defense (DoD), where he evaluated all aspects of assigned safety and occupational health programs within subordinate commands to determine the degree of effectiveness and compliance with established requirements. Jones also served as the equipment specialist for the DoD, part-time flexible city letter carrier with the United States Postal Service and wire systems equipment repairer for the United States Army. 

As a result of his efforts, Jones has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice/human studies from Troy State University in 2000; a Master of Business Administration/human resource management, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health, respectively in 2010, 2012, and 2015 from Columbia Southern University. He is currently completing his master’s degree in occupational safety and health.

 

Derick Lin

Derick Lin currently serves as the Software Safety/Software Assurance engineer in the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Directorate for Armstrong Flight Research Center as part of NASA’s research, test and development process.

Lin is responsible for leading software safety/Software Assurance activities in accordance with agency and center standards and processes by implementing and executing policies at the program/project level. These activities are integral elements in the Armstrong Airworthiness and Flight Safety Review process.

Additional responsibilities include maintaining and recommending improvement initiatives to policies, procedures and standards that affect software safety/Software Assurance activities. Flight projects involve both manned and unmanned vehicles and, on occasion, incorporate flight-related projects. Lin evaluates and assesses the software’s ability to perform the intended function without adversely affecting safety. He recommends innovative strategies to resolve novel or controversial issues and performs tasks and duties directly related to AST-Flight System Safety work, NCC 725-11.

Prior to working at NASA, Lin served as a hardware engineer for the Department of the Navy (DON). In this role, he designed and developed hardware for weapon systems used on Navy ships, provided installation and training to customers on the Navy’s weapon system, and provided in-service engineering support to the Navy fleets. As a Software Assurance specialist for the Department of Defense (DoD), Lin conducted Software Assurance audits on DoD contractors, provided recommendations on software development processes and implementation and issued software Corrective Action (CA) requests and work with DoD contractors to implement CA plans.

Lin earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from California State University, Los Angeles. He has a DoD Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering certification at Level 2.

Melissa McGuire

Melissa R. McGuire currently serves as a visiting vehicle safety engineer at Johnson Space Center. In this role, she is the International Space Station (ISS) Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) SpaceX crew flight lead, where she is responsible for following technical issues and presenting safety rationale for Certification of Flight Readiness Reviews, providing real-time anomaly support, and being knowledgeable on visiting vehicle operations and systems/subsystems. She is the ISS SMA Integration Point of Contact for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), where she has an overall cognizance of the CCP SMA team’s work, provides awareness to the ISS CCP SMA team to help the two teams work together, and coordinates and presents the ISS SMA CCP status to ISS Program SMA.

Prior to this role, she was the SMA H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) Flight lead, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser cargo vehicle ISS SMA integration lead, and the ISS SMA Rendezvous and operations lead/Point of Contact for Commercial Crew Vehicles (Boeing and SpaceX). She also completed a three-month rotation working with the ISS Chief Safety Officer (CSO) and ISS deputy CSO. Prior to joining SMA, she was the visiting vehicle officer flight controller for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s HTV in the ISS Mission Control Center-Houston.

McGuire has received many awards for her contributions to NASA, including Quality Step Increase (performance-based early salary increase), NASA Johnson Academic Fellowship recipient, Johnson Group Achievement Award for Common Crew Monitoring Team, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Executive Director’s Award for contributions to successful HTV1 and HTV2 missions, Johnson Group Achievement Award for Expedition 20/21 HTV Training Team, NASA Mission Control Center Houston (MCC-H) Hold the Ladder Award for HTV1 Rendezvous Team.

McGuire earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering and a Master of Engineering in systems engineering, both from Penn State.

McGuire has been married for 12 years and is a mother to two young sons (2 years old and 4 years old). She enjoys running (slowly), camping and baking. She currently teleworks full-time from Michigan (worked in-person at Johnson for 9 years prior to moving to Michigan) and is originally from Cleveland, Ohio.

Logan Micham

Logan Micham currently serves as a Quality Assurance engineer at Glenn Research Center. Micham supports various Quality Engineering projects, materials and processes and serves as the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) lead on flight projects. He also serves as the Quality Engineer on the Space Launch System Universal Stage Adapter, performing contractor oversight.

Micham currently supports Orion Artemis I thermal vacuum testing at the Space Environments Complex at Plum Brook Station; serves as the SMA lead on the Mars Spring Tire project, developing Shape Memory Alloy tires to be used for the Mars Sample Return Mission; and supports the Advanced Electric Propulsion System, Plasma Diagnostics Package, Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment, and Saffire projects as the materials and processes engineer.

Prior to this position, Micham was a mechanical test engineer for Jacobs Technology for three years at NASA Glenn before becoming a civil servant. He worked as a test engineer in reactivating the Altitude Combustion Stand for testing of a Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Methane Rocket Engine. Micham worked on maintaining and upgrading facility systems, including propellant, vacuum and cooling water systems.

Some of Micham’s major projects or achievements while working for NASA include Quality testing Artemis 1 Orion at Plum Brook Station, serving as a test/facility engineer on the Reactivation of Altitude Combustion Stand and serving as a Quality engineer on the 10x10 Supersonic Wind Tunnel Heat Exchanger Repairs.

Prior to NASA, Micham was a co-op at Schaeffler Group USA Inc., supporting the design and testing of drivetrain components for the automotive industry. He participated in Formula Society of Automotive Engineers at the University of Akron, designing systems and components as well as performing complex manual and CNC machining.

Micham earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio in 2015 and is currently working toward his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Micham enjoys the outdoors, mountain biking and kayaking in the summer and skiing in the winter. He is also a fan of motorsports and enjoys working on classic cars and motorcycles.

Rebecca Molnar

Rebecca Molnar currently serves as a facility systems safety engineer at Glenn Research Center. In this role, she supports center institutional and test operations by providing engineering expertise and technical guidance to reduce or eliminate operations-related safety hazards, performing independent assessments and process verifications to assure operational compliance with policies and standards, participating in reviews for upcoming testing and providing recommendations for test-specific designs, and reviews center Pneumatic Test Requests.

Molnar created a sitewide Safety and Health Brief for Plum Brook Station (PBS) that incorporated the Glenn Safety Manual and the Occupational Health Programs Manual. She also supported the implementation of process safety management at the In-Space Propulsion Facility at PBS for the SHIIVER test.

Prior to working as a civil servant for NASA, Molnar was a contractor at Glenn, working as a pressure systems engineer with Mainthia Technologies, Inc. In this role, she conducted Pressure Vessels and Systems (PVS) risk assessments and fitness-for-service analysis for recertification of PVS in accordance with NASA NPD 8710.5, NASA STD 8719.17 and all applicable consensus codes and standards. She also performed fatigue and fracture evaluations of PVS using PV Elite, SolidWorks, and Plant Manager; piping flexibility analysis using CAESAR; and relief valve flow capacity calculations and flex hose certification.

Molnar earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2016.

Molnar is planning her wedding for Oct. 17, 2020. She enjoys traveling and recently went on a seven-day European cruise in the Mediterranean. She also loves sports and plays indoor and sand volleyball and has coached softball and volleyball.

Larrin Skimehorn

Larrin Elizabeth Skimehorn currently serves as a safety and occupational health specialist in the Institutional Division of the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Directorate at Kennedy Space Center. In this role, she provides Institutional Safety support for Kennedy across a broad range of program areas including facility inspection, safety consultation, Mishap Investigation, emergency response and contractor insight.

She also serves on the Safety Culture team at Kennedy to create an environment where everyone works safely, feels comfortable communicating safety issues, learns from mistakes and successes, feels confident balancing challenges and risks while keeping safety in the forefront, and trusts that safety is a priority. Skimehorn leads the Kennedy Safety Culture Caught Doing Right initiative and is the Kennedy Safety and Health Days co-lead.

Prior to this position, Skimehorn was a Pathways intern from 2018 to 2019. She joined NASA full-time as a civil servant in 2019. She received the 2019 Agency Honor Awards, Group Achievement Award with the Safety Culture Working Group.

She has various Occupational Safety and Health certifications, including Graduate Safety Practitioner and Associate Safety and Health Manager. She has also received the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-Hour General Industry Safety Certification, OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification, CPR/AED American Heart Association Basic Life Support Certification, and FEMA 100 Certification Sologic Root Cause Analysis Certification. 

Skimehorn earned a Bachelor of Science from Murray State University (Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET). Skimehorn is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals and American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Her hobbies include spending time with her husband, Jacob, painting, photography and volleyball.

Deboshri Sadhukhan

Deboshri Sadhukhan is an early career engineer for NASA Glenn Research Center. She is currently working on numerous projects — from International Space Station (ISS) fluid technologies, to rocket propulsion, to planetary science missions and other game-changing technologies. She currently serves as the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) lead and support to evaluate and provide design options to increase the reliability, maintainability and System Safety of hardware and personnel throughout the system life cycle.

Sadhukhan currently serves as the lead System Safety engineer for the Flow Boiling Condensation Experiment, an ISS payload set for launch in 2020. In addition, she serves as project manager for a ground test-based Venus camera project and provides system safety support for the European Service Module Propulsion Subsystem. 

More recently, she has been tasked with managing a portfolio of game-changing technology, ranging from cryo-coolers to regenerative fuel cells for SMA. Previously, she served as the electrical subsystem lead for the Advanced eLectrical Bus CubeSat project, which launched in December 2019. In this role, she helped design, build and test a 100-watt power system demonstration for a 3U CubeSat. 

Prior to joining NASA full-time, Sadhukhan completed three internship tours with Glenn in the Space Communications and Navigation, and Power Management and Distribution groups. She also completed a Pathways co-op rotation with the Operational Safety, Reliability and System Safety groups. During a year-long stint as a hardware engineering co-op with Rockwell Automation, she contributed to research, design and tests on next-generation controller power supply circuitry and controller systems, where she performed functional safety and thermal testing to determine correct product functionality based on product requirements.

Sadhukhan graduated from the University of Akron in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and minors in philosophy of science and applied mathematics. 

Sadhukhan is a member of the Women's Advisory Group and Speaker's Bureau, where she motivates students to follow a career in the Science, Engineering, Technology and Math fields. She has been helping mentor students in the Glenn Summer Internship Program for several years.

Sadhukhan is an avid Cleveland Cavaliers fan and world traveler. She enjoys volunteering and mentoring to give back to the community. She is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and has presented and moderated several panels at SWE’s annual conferences in the last few years. She has also volunteered for various FIRST Robotics competitions across age levels and is a mentor for College NOW of Greater Cleveland.

Brigit Salgado

Brigit Salgado currently serves as the Chief Safety Officer of the Cell Science Project in the Quality System Safety and Mission Assurance (SS&MA) Division at Ames Research Center. In this role, Salgado develops and reviews preliminary and final hazard assessments for various potentially hazardous systems at Ames.

As a professional engineer, Salgado is a collaborative mechanical design engineer with 12 years of experience leading the design, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, software dynamics simulations life cycle of new product development process, quality control, procurements, polices, Quality Assurance, and testing to verify concepts and ensure safe, reliable and refined component design.

Salgado reviews design specifications, drawings, functional requirements documents, project initiation forms and vendor-supplied designs of Construction of Facility and other high-risk systems for compliance with NASA and other applicable standards. She also reviews project documentation, including construction permits where applicable, as needed for compliance to NASA requirements. Salgado approves and disapproves project documentation with significant impact and provides engineering expertise and advice, technical review, and analysis of complex systems for center operations including facilities, research operations and mission support functions.

Prior to her work in the SS&MA Division, Salgado worked in the firearms industry. She was responsible for new product development projects within the handgun product line; provided technical support to all phases of firearms product development; and completed early designs of new products using software such as SolidWorks, ANSYS, and AutoCAD (2D). She also completed detailed drawings using American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASMA) Y14.5-2009, ASME Y14.41 and Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing standards and engineering documentation. She coordinated with engineering staff and other company functional areas to ensure that the projects were completed within budget and in a timely manner.

In detail, Salgado designed the barrel and thread protector for the Adirondack rifle; made improvements to an existing (Micro .380 ACP) hand gun; developed the Micro semi-auto pistol single action (9mm); designed the recoil spring and magazine 6, 7 and 8 rounds for Micro .380 ACP caliber and Micro 9mm; designed the Super Jagare 1911, 10 mm pistol 6 and barrel; helped and developed precision military rifles, advanced tactical rifles and shotguns; and developed silencers for the U.S. military.

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Salgado obtained a scholarship at the Laboratory of Robotic and Mechatronics (LARM) in Cassino, Italy. During her internship, she created a model prototype and dynamics simulation of a Parallel Manipulator Robot 6 Degrees of Freedom. This robot is referred to as CAPAMAN and utilized Inventor 2011 and Adams 2010. Salgado generated the robot’s earthquake simulator blueprints, generated a simulation of an earthquake robot simulator using Adams 2010 and validated data from the robots movement using LabVIEW.

During completion of her undergraduate degree, Salgado also obtained an academic internship at Los Andes University (ULA) as assistant professor in Fluid Dynamics. During her internship, she led and helped develop education and outreach programs for ULA. She created a user-friendly manual study guide for mechanical fluids, including equations and problem-solving for students to follow when studying. In addition, she obtained an industrial internship at TROMERCA in Merida, Venezuela. She was the inspector and supervisor in industrial hygiene and safety for an electric bus that draws power from dual overhead wires (trolleybus). She created the hygiene manual and safety procedures for workers and created the corrective and preventive manual for the trolleybus.

In July 2006, Salgado was awarded the Italian Scholarship from L` Università Stranieri (Italia). In April of 2010, Salgado was awarded the scholarship, L` Università di Cassino, Il Laboratorio di Robotica e Mechatronic LARM Laboratory of Robotics and Mechatronics. In November 2011, Salgado received technical honors with Los Andes University projects: mechanics of the robots, academic internships and special internships.

Salgado was born in Merida, Venezuela and now lives in San Jose, California. She received her Master of Science degree in robotics and mechatronics at University of Robotics and Mechatronics in Cassino, Italy, in 2011, and her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Los Andes University in 2010.

She thrives with new challenges and has an innovative approach to systems and improvement. In addition, she is trilingual (fluent in Italian, Spanish and English) and loves to travel the world.

Kevin Sanders

Kevin Sanders is the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Reliability lead for the QD31 Space Launch System (SLS) Booster at Marshall Space Flight Center. He also supports Forward Structures and serves as an Exploration Ground Systems Point of Contact (PoC) for his group.

Prior to this role, Sanders was a Pathways co-op and did rotations in QD35 (SLS Systems Engineering and SMA) and QD32 (SLS liquid engines SMA), as well as QD31. While in QD35, Sanders supported the System Safety team by compiling/organizing hazard control verification references into sortable spreadsheets to be used by the team. While in QD32, Sanders filled in for the turbomachinery team lead for RS25 while the team lead was on a temporary detail. Since his time in QD31, he has supported Booster Nozzle, pyrotechnics and the Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension program.

Before working at NASA, Sanders worked as an intern in the design/build/construction industry before joining the Pathways Program at NASA. 

Sanders earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from The University of Alabama. Sanders enjoys playing guitar.

Sonali Siriwardana

Sonali Siriwardana is currently a Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) lead on the Program Analysis and Systems Integration Team at Marshall Space Flight Center, responsible for creating and updating risk models for the subsystems of the Space Launch System. At Marshall, she created a meteoroid and orbital debris sensitivity study to support the cross-program PRA team, supported multiple trade studies, helped train new PRA analysts and aided in administrative duties for the team.

Prior to this position, Siriwardana worked as an environmental engineer with the Department of Natural Resources in Missouri, where she reviewed reports and wrote permits for projects across the state, supported the revision of the state regulations, and provided support for the permits in the metropolitan area of St. Louis.

Siriwardana received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Missouri in 2015. She actively participates in STEM outreach programs to stimulate young minds in the community. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach, playing piano, reading and playing with her Labrador.

Bhanu Sood

Dr. Bhanu Sood presently serves in a dual role as the delegated program manager for NASA Workmanship and as a Commodity Risk Assessment Engineer (CRAE) at Goddard Space Flight Center. As a CRAE, Sood is the lead Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) engineer and the agency specialist managing overall development efforts pertaining to risk and reliability of microelectronics packaging and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) used in Goddard’s flight missions and ground support equipment.

In his position as the delegated program manager for agency Workmanship, Sood leads a team of NASA center representatives to ensure that programs and projects establish and use a minimum quality requirements baseline for assuring that circuit board assemblies, cables, harnesses, fiber optic interconnects and cables used in NPR 7120.5 mission-critical applications, including critical ground support systems, achieve their intended performance for the duration of their intended mission lifetime. 

At Goddard, Sood has provided SMA support for the development and evaluation of microelectronics packaging and PCBs for programs, such as the Joint Polar Satellite System Program, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, James Webb Space Telescope, Landsat-9, WFIRST, LUCY, L’Ralph, PACE/OCI, Restore-LEO, IXPE, 2020 ExoMars Rover/MOMA and Asteroid Sample Return Mission.

Prior to joining NASA, Sood was most recently the Failure Analysis Laboratory director at the University of Maryland (UMD) where he provided Reliability and Supply Chain Risk consultation services to companies that manufacture electronics hardware for aerospace, avionics, medical device, telecommunications, oil/gas and automotive industries. At UMD, Sood patented a technique for ultrasonic Nondestructive Inspection and health monitoring of lithium batteries.

Prior to joining UMD, he developed laser-based 3-D printing processes and materials at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). At the NRL, he patented a process for embedding functional electronics circuits within a variety of substrates for surveillance applications.

Sood has authored several hundred conference papers, presentations, and technical reports; five book chapters; and 32 peer-reviewed scholarly and technical manuscripts. He is a member of the editorial board of Surface Mount Technology Journal, chairs the education committee within the American Society of Metals (ASM), and actively volunteers in a leadership role in technical program committees and standards development activities within the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ASM, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC).

He holds a doctorate in electronics reliability, master’s degrees in metallurgy and materials science, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Sood has won numerous industry and NASA awards, including special act awards, individual performance awards and peer awards. In 2019, Sood was awarded IPC’s highest award, the Dieter Bergman Fellowship for fostering a collaborative spirit, his significant contributions to standards development and consistently demonstrating a commitment to global standardization efforts. In 2018, he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award Medal for electronics packaging and circuit board assurance. He holds two patents and an invention disclosure. He is a senior member of IEEE and a member of SAE, Surface Mount Technology Association and ASM.

Christie Swarts

Christie A. Swarts is the pressure systems manager and standard practice engineer for Ground-Based Pressure Systems at Langley Research Center. In this position, she provides technical expertise in pressure systems and is responsible for planning, designing, developing, testing and evaluating the fitness for service of pneumatic, hydraulic, high-pressure gas/fluid systems and pressure vessels and piping systems for institutional and aerospace research facilities. Prior to this position, she was the deputy pressure systems manager.

Before joining NASA full-time, Swarts served as a recertification group manager for Jacobs Technology for eight years and was responsible for a group of engineers, engineering technicians and craft technicians in the inspection and recertification of pressure systems at Langley. She also provided technical support in the updating of pressure systems-related Langley Procedural Requirements and participated in the planning activities for the NASA Langley Recertification Plan. 

Prior to that, she served as a project manager for Jacobs Technology, where her duties included not only project management, but also resolution of technical and maintenance issues in rotating equipment in high-pressure systems at various facilities at Langley. Before that, she was a project engineer and manager with Dresser Rand for eight years, where her duties included engineering design, oversight of manufacturing processes, installation and field issue resolution/repair of Pressure Vessels and Systems, and contracting processes.     

Swarts earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional.

Jesus Trillo

Jesus E. Trillo is currently a Safety and Mission Assurance vehicle systems engineer at Johnson Space Center. Trillo serves as the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) safety technical specialist for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In this role, he supports SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner design, development, manufacturing, testing and Human Rating certification to ensure mission safety and success.

His specific responsibilities include performing Risk Assessments for both spacecraft s ECLSS and presenting risks to the CCP management and reviewing hazard reports to verify all potential hazards are identified and appropriate controls are in place to determine if the risks are properly being managed, mitigated, or reduced to an acceptable level. He also reviews requirement verification reports to determine if requirements are being satisfied appropriately and participates in engineering and safety technical review boards to discuss and resolve technical issues concerning the ECLSS of both spacecraft.

Prior to this role, Trillo was a pneumatics design, analysis and operations engineer at Kennedy Space Center where he was responsible for the design, development, integration, testing and operations of all the pneumatic systems that serve as Ground Support Equipment to launch the Space Launch System and the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle.

Before graduating from college, Trillo had three internships at three different NASA centers (Marshall Space Flight Center, Stennis Space Center and Johnson Space Center) before landing a Pathways position at Kennedy. Trillo was a graduate research engineer doing research on novel rocket propulsion technologies.

Trillo received the Kennedy Director Certificate of Commendation Award for going significantly beyond the assigned duties, taking leadership roles in developing analysis, models and requirements that lead to increased efficiency and therefore schedule and cost savings to the Exploration Ground Systems program.

Trillo earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has special training in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division I: Design and Fabrication of Pressure Vessels and ASME B31.3 Process Piping Code. 

His personal hobbies include travelling and skiing. 

Connor Tyman

Lorenn Vega Martinez

Wilbert Wheeler

Wilbert E. Wheeler Jr. currently serves as the safety engineer and member of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) in industrial safety (QD12) at Marshall Space Flight Center. In this role, Wheeler performs explosive safety walkthroughs, explosive licensing for locations at Marshall, hazard analysis and quantity distance calculations.

Wheeler never considered that he would be building rockets one day until he accepted a co-op with Marshall. For his first and third rotation as a Pathways intern, Wheeler worked in SMA in industrial safety as a safety engineer. During his Pathways internship, he conducted a lightning protection study and created an efficient excel spreadsheet for his team to utilize. This spreadsheet calculated the protection level of a structure to determine if lightning protection was a necessity for the structure. He assisted on a hazard analysis report to help mitigate hazards for a Micro Light Gas Gun test to ensure safety for the personnel performing the test and the facility.

For his second Pathways internship rotation, Wheeler was an intern for the Integrated Systems Health Management and Automation. His role was to assist in a crew emergency egress survivability study to determine the likelihood of crew survivability in an emergency event during the pre-launch phase of the Space Launch System (SLS). He formed an excel database that calculated the probability of crew survivability, derived from a list of possible emergency scenarios before the SLS is launched. Wheeler enjoyed being able to work hands-on with the rocket that will reach the moon and even Mars.

Prior to his career at NASA, Wheeler served as an equipment Reliability intern with the Tennessee Valley Authority at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee in the summers of 2015 and 2016. His role was to assist in identifying and managing threats to plant asset reliability that could adversely affect plant or business operations. He developed presentations for plant senior leadership teams to evaluate plant issues and obtain approvals to facilitate implementation of resolutions. Wheeler participated in the design change process, including post-modification testing of implemented design changes, as well as assisted with plant reliability improvements through effective Plant Health and Plant Health Subcommittee meetings.

Wheeler attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in Reliability and Maintainability.

In Wheeler’s free time, he loves to spend time with his family and friends. He also likes to watch and play football, baseball or softball, basketball, and golf. He is a big University of Tennessee fan (Go Vols!) and loves to cheer them on.

Linda Wiles

Linda Wiles currently serves as a flight safety analyst at Wallops Flight Facility. Her duties include mission flight safety preparation, mission operations safety oversight and support, lead Risk Assessment Center analyst, and Subject Matter Expert for wind weighting operations for sounding rockets.

Prior to becoming a civil servant, Wiles served as a contractor at Wallops for 13 years, performing many of the same tasks, such as wind weighting analyses, Flight Safety analyses for sounding rockets and balloon flight safety analyses. Wiles has worked on many of the sounding rocket and balloon campaigns in varying capacities for 30 years. 

Highlights from the past 10 years include operational support as wind weighter, Risk Assessment Center lead analyst and near real-time balloon risk analyst. Wiles also served as the Mission Range Safety Officer for the Kwajalein Sounding Rocket Campaign (2013), and multiple balloon campaigns (2010-2014). She worked as a safety analyst on the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) program, which was a hybrid program for testing parachutes for future use in a mission to Mars. The first LDSD launch occurred in 2014 at PMRF.

Wiles received the Krieger Award ­— which is unique to Wallops — for safety in 2016 for support of the Risk Assessment Center for Antares launches. She also received Robert H. Goddard Awards for both team and individual achievements, and has received several safety awards for other projects throughout the years. 

Wiles has a love for music and singing. She is also trying to carry on the gardening tradition of her parents.

Logan Wright

Logan Wright currently serves as the Mishap/Close Call Program manager at Wallops Flight Facility where he performs safety analysis of aerospace vehicles, hazardous systems, payload systems and Ground Support Equipment and reviews hazardous procedures.

In this role, he identifies and documents hazard and risks to personnel, facilities, equipment, and systems; performs safety oversight of hazardous operations by ensuring adherence to personnel limits and operational hazard area restrictions; verifies safety equipment and assures that appropriate personal Protective Equipment is used; and participates in the design of facilities and facility systems by identifying requirements, reviewing drawings and specifications, and providing comments and corrective action. He also participates in safety reviews by generating presentations and handout materials for review and analysis, while also providing briefings and action resolutions plans; and ensures center requirements are followed as they pertain to Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plans and mishap reporting in the NASA Mishap Information System. He also acts as the facilities Point of Contact for all things mishaps, close calls, reporting, investigating and recordkeeping.  

Prior to his civil servant job, Wright was a mission assurance engineer on the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSROC), where he managed the Electrical Safety Program, Hearing Conservation Program, Hazardous Material/Waste Program, Respirator Safety Program, Hazard Communication, Fall Protection Program, and provided Powered Industrial Truck and Mobile Aerial Platform training for the contract. In addition, he performed safety analysis of aerospace vehicles, hazardous systems, payload systems, GSE and reviewed hazardous procedures. While at NSROC, he traveled the world to places like Ny-Alesund, Norway to provide safety oversight for two sounding rocket missions. While working at NSROC, he was a team member on one sounding rocket where NASA earned a Guinness World Record for firing the most rocket engines (44) in one flight.

Prior to NASA, Wright was an Old Dominion University senior Geographic Information Science (GIS) technician, where he performed GIS-related tasks and maintained the university’s GIS infrastructure. 

Wright has earned much recognition for his work, including the NASA RHG Exceptional Achievement Customer Service Team 2017 Poker Campaign (2017), NSROC II Safety Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Safety Culture and Safe Processing of NSROC Products (2014), Orbital Science Corporation Above and Beyond Award for Outstanding Commitment to NSROC II Program Success (2015), Orbital ATK Star Award for NSROC III OSH Contract Technical Writing and Student Employee of the Year for Old Dominion University (2014).

Wright has a Bachelor of Science in geography and minor in occupational health and safety from Old Dominion University. Wright enjoys surfing, fishing and hiking. 

Scott Darpel

Scott Darpel earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and manufacturing engineering from Cleveland State University. As a consultant, he worked with organizations across many industries on process improvement, product development, systems engineering and quality engineering. Darpel has been a trainer for six sigma black belt programs, lean enterprise, set-up reduction, and failure modes and effects analysis. He took a leadership role in university research by serving as staff engineer, program manager, proposal development and technology transfer lead for aerospace and defense-oriented labs at Cleveland State’s Fenn College of Engineering. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in statistical analysis, design of experiments and quality management.

After joining NASA, Darpel has served in various capacities in systems engineering and Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA), including serving as the Chief SMA Officer for Glenn Research Center’s  International Space Station Physical Sciences and Human Research Program, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle’s external interface requirements lead, and serving as the Payload safety lead for the Exploration Systems Development Division. His current role is serving as the SMA Manager for the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element where he plans and guides the efforts of the SMA team performing insight on the vendor, as well as supporting integration efforts with the program. In his off time, Scott enjoys traveling with his family and playing bass (poorly).

Steve Lilley

Steve Lilley is a program data analyst at the NASA Safety Center. Prior to this role, he served as the senior safety engineer in the Mishap Investigation Support Office, a role he took in 2008. Lilley has more than 33 years of experience as an instructor pilot and safety officer for the U.S. Navy and NASA aviation. Lilley’s experience in Risk Management, airfield management, explosives safety, afloat safety, occupational safety and health, Human Factors, and afloat environmental programs enables him to provide actionable risk mitigation options to risk owners worldwide. As part of the NSC's data analysis team, Lilley works with NASA centers and industry leaders to refine leading safety metrics from the NASA Mishap Information System and publish System Failure Case Studies. Lilley’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley.

Chris Quinn

Chris Quinn is a safety engineer at Goddard Space Flight Center. He is a Certified-Safety Professional with over 18 years of experience managing environmental, health, and Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) programs, including Electrical Safety programs, for the private industry and NASA. Quinn serves as the NASA Electrical Safety Working Group chair and Electrical Safety lead providing Electrical Safety support to the Office of SMA (OSMA) Electrical Safety Program Executive. In this support role, Quinn leads the effort to work action items and partner with OSMA, the Office of Strategic Infrastructure and safety professionals across NASA to address the agency arc flash risk and drive continuous improvement of center electrical safety programs. Directly relevant to the panel, Quinn was hired at Goddard approximately 6 months after the arc flash mishap. He partnered with the Goddard facilities maintenance division and other stakeholders to develop and implement corrective actions aimed at preventing reoccurrence of future arc flash mishaps.

Patrick Hancock

Patrick (Pat) Hancock has 32 years in federal government service. He has been at with NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center since 1999. Hancock started his career as a mechanical engineering co-op student for the U.S. Navy in Dahlgren, Virginia. While with the Navy, he worked with Marine Corps weapons design, torpedo modeling, and his favorite, explosives Research and Development. Blowing things up daily was the most fun he has had in his career.

Due to base closings, Hancock got into safety, mainly because his past experiences had required him to take every safety training course the site offered. He worked in occupational safety at multiple Navy facilities. In 1999, he came to Goddard and served in many roles in the Institutional Safety and occupational safety areas, including his current position as the associate chief of the safety division for occupational safety. Hancock has been married for 26 years and has 11 children, 6 sons and 5 daughters.

Ingrid Wagner

Joyce Jordan

Joyce Jordan currently serves as a Facility Systems Safety engineer at Glenn Research Center, where she is the lead for the Construction Safety Program. In this role, she participates in procurement activity, design review for new and modified facilities, and construction activity safety oversight. She has been in this role for approximately four years at Glenn.

Prior to joining NASA, Jordan worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approximately 10 years. She supported civil works and military construction programs in both the Louisville and Baltimore districts. Her responsibilities included safety oversight of locks and dams construction, and large-scope military construction. This included routine work with procurement, construction managers, training officers and regulatory agencies.

Jordan is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Kentucky and a Certified Safety Professional.

Jordan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Cleveland State University and a Master of Science degree in engineering from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville. She is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Jordan lives in Columbia Station, Ohio, and enjoys reading, gardening, traveling (especially to the western U.S.) and spending time with family.

Anthony Mittskus

Anthony P. Mittskus, P.E. is a registered professional engineer with the State of California. For the past six years, Mittskus has been an assistant division manager for the Mission Assurance Office in Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Office of Safety and Mission Success and is JPL’s risk manager.  He teaches part-time at the CalPoly University, where he recruits new talent for JPL.

Mittskus has been with JPL since 1995 (25 years) where he spent 19 years in the design and implementation of communication and radar systems; projects include MGS (1996), IND (2001), MER (2003), MRO (2005), Cloudsat (2006), Aquarius (2011), Juno (2013) and GRACE Follow-On (2018).

Prior to JPL, Mittskus worked for the Hughes Aircraft Company (Fullerton, CA) on the JPL Magellan Mission (1987) and several classified systems. He has earned many individual and team awards ranging from Magellan Engineer of the Year (1985) to the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2012). 

Mittskus holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering (1981) and a Master of Engineering (1982) from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA. He is a licensed commercial pilot, an Eagle Scout, and is married with two children and four grandchildren.

Dr. Michael Christensen

Dr. Mike Christensen is currently the manager of the Occupational Safety Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Christensen has been employed by Intel Corporation, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, the California State University system, and JPL. He is certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene in the comprehensive practice of Industrial Hygiene. 

Christensen’s expertise and responsibilities include industrial hygiene, Risk Management, environmental compliance, occupational safety, campus space and event management, business continuity planning, worker’s compensation, and sustainability as the director of the CSU, Sacramento College of Engineering’s Sustainable Technology Optimization Research Center. 

Christensen obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Health and Safety in 1987 from Brigham Young University, his Master of Science Degree in environmental science/industrial hygiene from California State University (CSU), Northridge, in 1993, and his doctorate in Leadership from CSU, Sacramento, in 2011. 

Charles Buril

Charles (Chuck) Buril is the manager of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Environmental Affairs Program Office. Buril’s experience includes 10 years with Southern California Edison as a senior engineer in environmental engineering and three years as USA Petroleum’s director of environmental affairs. 

Buril founded the JPL Environmental Affairs Program Office 28 years ago and was the architect of JPL’s environmental regulatory compliance program.

Buril holds a Bachelor of science in engineering from Humboldt State University, is a Registered Civil Engineer with the state of California, holds a Certificate in Hazardous Materials Management from University of California-Irvine and has received eight NASA Honor Awards including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Kristie French

Kristie French is a Mishap Investigation specialist for the NASA Safety Center (NSC). In this role, she facilitates major NASA mishap investigations and contributes to the NASA Mishap Investigation Program. She is based at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

French has served on many high-profile investigation boards involving major NASA program or personnel loss as well as High-Visibility Close Calls (HVCC). These included the NASA Balloon Launch HVCC, the Extravehicular Activity Suit Water Intrusion HVCC and the Kennedy Space Center Roof Fall Fatality. In her role, she provides investigation and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) expertise to investigating authorities as they progress from initial set up through final report delivery and closure. In addition, she guides the NASA Mishap Investigation Training Program and manages the NASA RCA software.

French has been the NASA RCA instructor since her start at the NSC in 2007. She teaches at all the NASA centers and shares the NASA RCA process with other government agencies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board, the Department of Defense and the Navy. She also consults on NASA engineering program and facility problem-solving efforts.

French began her career as a contract Reliability engineer preparing Failure Modes and Effects Analyses and Critical Items Lists for the Spacelab project. She then worked as a problem assessment engineer for Shuttle payloads and safety engineer at Marshall. She joined NASA in 1999 as a Facility System Safety engineer for Shuttle elements as well as several onsite test and operational activities and was the Mishap Program manager. During that time, she successfully ran the Marshall Performance Evaluation Program and founded several existing Marshall Safety, Health and Environmental teams as the Voluntary Protection Program manager. She also was a member of the tiger team that initially defined the NSC.

French earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama. She has received numerous NASA team and individual performance awards including Launch Honoree for the Hubble Space Telescope. She is a member of the System Safety Society.

French resides in Huntsville, Alabama, with her husband, Laurence, and her daughter.

Alan Wallace

Norman Knight

Norman Knight currently serves as the deputy director of the Flight Director Office (FOD) at Johnson Space Center.

He began this position in 2018, after serving a temporary assignment as the assistant associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operation Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Prior to that, Knight served as the chief of the FOD (2012) and deputy chief of the FOD (2009) while he participated in a NASA Fellowship at Harvard Business School in general management. In 2000, he was selected as a flight director and worked numerous International Space Station expeditions and Space Shuttle missions.

Knight began his career at Johnson as a Space Shuttle mechanical system flight controller, working 40 missions in that capacity.

Knight earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 1990.

Mike Hess

Mike Hess currently serves as the operations integration manager for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). He is responsible for leading and managing real-time and near real-time mission support during all phases of flight for NASA commercial partners, including SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin. He also serves as the chair of the NASA Mission Management Team, integrating program-level operations requirements and implementation strategies to accomplish the objectives of safely flying astronauts on new spacecraft.

Prior to this position, Hess filled many roles at NASA, including acting associate center director; Space Medical Operations Division chief for the Human Health and Performance Directorate; associate director of engineering; Flight Dynamics Division chief for the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD); deputy chief financial officer; MOD International Space Station Program cost account manager; Extravehicular Activity (EVA), Robotics, and Crew Systems Operations Division chief for MOD; Operations Division chief for MOD; Operation Division deputy chief or MOD; Constellation missions operations project integration engineer; program executive and Systems Engineering source selection; chief of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory; EVA officer, EVA task instructor, and task flight control; Extravehicular Mobility Unit systems instructor and systems flight control; and cooperative education student trainee.

Hess is a Boy Scouts of America volunteer leader for Troop 442 in Friendswood, Texas.  He served pro-bono as paramedic in Nassau Bay, Texas, for 911 emergency response and patient treatment. He also held positions of increasing responsibility including medical captain, supply officer and medical chief, where he was responsible for coordinating Emergency Medical Services for Nassau Bay. 

Hess has earned many awards, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Outstanding Performance Award, NASA Group Achievement Award (13 times), NASA Certificate of Appreciation, EVA Project Office Recognition for Excellence (five times), Silver Snoopy Award (2002) and Center Director’s Commendation Award. He also earned achievements as an Eagle Scout, Michigan College of Engineering Dean's List, Kiwanis Collegiate Scholarship, Port Washington High School Valedictorian, Finisher-Houston Marathon, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and Nassau Bay Volunteer Fire Department Award for Advanced Life Support Certification.

Hess earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1991; became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic in 1999; earned a Master of Business Administration certificate from Tulane University in 2005; became a Harvard University Senior Executive Fellow in 2007; completed the NASA Program and Project Management Development program in 2012; and earned a Master of Business Administration from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 2016.

Hess was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is now married to the former Martha Lind of Davenport, Iowa, and they have three children. Hess has varied interests and hobbies including running, weight training, flying, scuba diving, rock climbing, camping, backpacking and supporting his sons as a volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America.

Howard Hu

Howard Hu currently serves as the deputy program manager of the Orion Program at Johnson Space Center. He helps lead the design, development, testing, verification and certification of NASA’s next generation of human-rated spacecraft for the Artemis missions.

Prior to this position, he held several key leadership positions within the Orion Program. He was the manager for the Orion Avionics, Power and Software Office, responsible for the design, development, production, test, verification, and certification of the avionics systems; power generation, distribution, and storage system; and the ground and flight software for the spacecraft. He was the deputy manager of the Vehicle Integration Office, managing Orion system requirements, integrated spacecraft design and performance, mission design and analysis, and test and verification. Hu also led Orion’s Vehicle System Performance and Analysis team and was responsible for Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) subsystem Design, Development Test and Evaluation, aerodynamics/aerothermal environments development, loads and dynamics analysis, and vehicle modeling and simulations.

Prior to joining the Orion Program in 2007, he held a number of technical leadership positions in support of the Exploration, Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs. Hu served as the chief engineer for exploration in the Johnson Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division and the NASA Exploration Systems GN&C technical discipline lead. He was the project manager and lead developer of the Shuttle Abort Flight Management flight software application for the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrades Program. He also served as the deputy system manager for ISS GN&C.

Hu earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Washington.

Russ DeLoach

William Russ DeLoach is the director of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) at Johnson Space Center, where he leads a trusted community of experts who assure workforce safety and collaborate on smart solutions to human spaceflight risks. His team works to identify, characterize, mitigate, and communicate risk to accomplish safe and successful human space exploration.

He previously served as the director of SMA at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), where he was responsible for the planning and execution of center and program SMA activities at KSC, including the interface function with the SMA offices of NASA Headquarters, other centers, other government agencies, international governments and private industry. He ensured NASA programs at KSC, including Ground Systems Development and Operations, Commercial Crew, Launch Services, Orion, and the International Space Station, were provided with SMA expertise making sure those programs are safe and successful, as well as to ensure the KSC institution and people that live and work at KSC are safe.

DeLoach began his NASA career in 1987 as an intern in the Army Materiel Command’s Quality and Reliability Engineering training program. He continued his career as a system engineer conducting Reliability and System Safety analyses and technical reviews as well as assessments of integrated ground systems, equipment and operations supporting the Space Shuttle Program and Space Station Programs. In 2000, he was selected as the SMA branch chief within the Shuttle Processing Directorate providing surveillance of Space Shuttle ground operations. As his career progressed, he served as the shuttle processing mission assurance manager supporting ground processing, launch and landing. In 2006 he was assigned as the first chief of the Constellation Staff Office in the KSC SMA Directorate to develop and manage the directorate’s support to this emerging program, and in 2012 became the deputy director of SMA.

DeLoach holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He lives with his wife, Janice, who is math teacher at McNair Middle School. He has three children.

Rex Walheim

Summary
Rex J. Walheim is a veteran of three space flights. He has logged more than 36 days in space, with over 36 hours in five spacewalks. Walheim served on STS-110 in 2002, STS-122 in 2008 and STS-135, the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston. Currently, Walheim is serving as the Deputy Director of Safety and Mission Assurance at the Johnson Space Center

Personal Data
Born October 10, 1962, in Redwood City, California, but considers San Carlos, California, his hometown. Married to the former Margie Dotson of Villa Park, California. They have two children. He enjoys snow skiing, hiking, softball and football.

Education
Graduated from San Carlos High School, San Carlos, California, in 1980; received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984, and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston in 1989.

Experience
Walheim was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in May 1984. In April 1985, he was assigned to Cavalier Air Force Station in Cavalier, North Dakota, where he worked as a missile warning operations crew commander. In October 1986, he was reassigned to the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, where he worked as a mechanical systems Flight Controller and was the lead Operations Engineer for the space shuttle landing gear, brakes, and emergency runway barrier. Walheim was transferred to Headquarters Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in August 1989, where he was manager of a program upgrading missile warning radars. He was selected for the Flight Test Engineer course at the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1991, and attended the course at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1992. Following his graduation, he was assigned to the F-16 Combined Test Force at Edwards where he was a project manager and then commander of the avionics and armament flight. In January 1996, Walheim became an instructor at the Air Force Test Pilot School, where he served until he commenced astronaut training.

NASA Experience
Walheim served as a Flight Controller and Operations Engineer at the Johnson Space Center from October 1986 to January 1989. He was selected by NASA as an astronaut in March 1996, and reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After completing 2 years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist. Walheim has been assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations branch, where he helped develop the initial procedures and displays used on the International Space Station. He served as CAPCOM in the Mission Control Center and was also the Chief of the spacewalking branch. A veteran of three space flights, he has logged over 36 days in space, including more than 36 hours in five spacewalks. Walheim served on the spacewalk crew of both STS-110 in 2002 and STS-122 in 2008. Walheim was also a Mission Specialist on the crew of STS-135, a station cargo delivery mission, which was the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program. Subsequent to his flight, Walheim served as Chief of the Exploration branch of the Astronaut Office, where he worked as the astronaut representative to the Orion Program. After serving as Assistant Director for Operations for the Flight Operations Directorate, Walheim moved to his current position as the Deputy Director of JSC Safety and Mission Assurance in August 2017.

Spaceflight Experience:
STS-110 (April 8 to April 19, 2002). This was the 13th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Atlantis delivered the S0 (S-Zero) Truss, the first time the station robotic arm was used to maneuver spacewalkers around the station and the first time that all of a shuttle crew’s spacewalks were based from the station’s Quest Airlock. Walheim performed two spacewalks totaling 14 hours and 5 minutes. The crew mechanically attached and powered up the new truss and spent 1 week in joint operations with the station Expedition 4 crew. The mission duration was 10 days, 19 hours and 42 minutes.

STS-122 (February 7 to February 20, 2008). This was the 24th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Atlantis delivered European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Columbus Laboratory. Walheim performed three spacewalks to help prepare the Columbus Laboratory for its scientific work and to replace an expended nitrogen tank on the station P-1 Truss. STS-122 was also a crew replacement mission, delivering Expedition 16 Flight Engineer, ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts, and returning home with Expedition 16 Flight Engineer, NASA astronaut Daniel Tani. The STS-122 mission was accomplished in 12 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds, and traveled 5,296,832 statute miles in 203 Earth orbits.

STS-135 (July 8 to July 21, 2011). Atlantis carried the Raffaello MPLM to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission also flew a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and returned a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 was the 135th and final mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. The mission was accomplished in 200 orbits of the Earth, traveling 5,284,862 miles in 12 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes and 56 seconds.

Awards/Honors
Distinguished Graduate, Reserve Officers Training Corps, University of California, Berkeley. Distinguished Graduate and top flight test engineer in the United States Air Force Test Pilot School Class 92A. Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, and various service awards.

Pronunciation
RECKS WALL-hime

Jennifer Ross-Nazzal

Dr. Jennifer Ross-Nazzal has served as the Johnson Space Center historian since 2004. In this position, she provides reference assistance to NASA and the public and has shared her expertise with journalists, writers, broadcasting agencies, documentarians and many others.

Ross-Nazzal holds the unique distinction of being a scholar of NASA history and women’s history. She has been featured as a Subject Matter Expert in several documentaries, is an accomplished oral historian and authored many publications.

In 2015, the Texas State Historical Association awarded the Liz Carpenter Award for “Research to Texas Women: Their Histories, Their Lives,” a book containing her chapter on Mae Jemison, the first female astronaut of color.

In 2012, Ross-Nazzal received the Charles Thomson Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government for her chapter focusing on the Shuttle accidents in NASA’s “Wings In Orbit: Scientific and Engineering Legacies of the Space Shuttle.” Her essay, “You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe: The First Six Women Astronauts and the Media,” was included in “Spacefarers: Images of Astronauts and Cosmonauts in the Heroic Era of Spaceflight” (2013) and noted as “fascinating and an in-depth study on how the first group of NASA women dealt with the still occasionally sexist media.” For this work, she received her second Thomson Prize in three years.

In 2011 she published her first book, “Winning the West for Women,” a biography of suffragist, Emma Smith DeVoe. NASA Headquarters recognized for her outstanding work as a historian for the agency. Her latest manuscript, “Making Space for Women,” is being considered for publication with Texas A&M University Press and focuses on the history of Johnson Space Center through the experiences of its female employees.

Ross-Nazzal received her Ph.D. from Washington State University, her master's in history from New Mexico State University, and B.A. in history and political science from the University of Arizona.

Harmony Myers

Harmony Myers is the director of the NASA Safety Center (NSC), hosted by NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio. In this capacity, Myers leads the agency’s support of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) organizations at each of the field centers in four areas: technical excellence, knowledge management systems, audits and assessments, and mishap investigation. The NSC is comprised of approximately 70 civil servant and support service contractors, with an annual budget in excess of $15 million.

Prior to this role, Myers served as the director of the Technical Excellence Office at the NSC. She was responsible for planning, organizing and directing a full range of integrated services including SMA curriculum and course development, SMA engineering support for over 2,800 NASA civil service and support contract employees agencywide, and the SMA Technical Excellence Program — NASA’s university for safety. Before taking on this role, Myers also previously served as the System Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead at the NSC. 

Myers began her career in 2000 at NASA Kennedy Space Center with United Space Alliance as a systems engineer for the electrical system on space shuttle solid rocket boosters. She transitioned to a reliability engineer in support of Return to Flight and became passionate about ensuring that the Space Shuttle Program return to flight as safely and as quickly as possible.

As a reliability engineer, Myers supported human spaceflight safety for the contractor’s SMA organization. She moved to NASA SMA in 2005, overseeing the contractor for Space Shuttle Program safety as a safety engineer. She went on to serve as Safety Engineering Section chief, Safety Engineering and Assurance Branch chief for the Launch Vehicle Processing Division, and branch chief of the International Space Station and Spacecraft Payload Processing SMA Division. During her career at Kennedy, Myers supported the final 36 space shuttle missions and the Ares I-X development test flight.

Myers moved to NASA Headquarters in 2012 for a developmental detail as executive director of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) and was asked to stay in the position permanently when the detail ended. In that role, she advised the NASA administrator and senior management on ASAP issues, guiding and influencing decision-making within the agency.

Myers earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Miami. She has been recognized with numerous leadership awards, including the NASA Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award and the Society of Women Engineers Emerging Leader Award.

Deirdre Healey

Deirdre (DeeDee) Healey is the director of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) Mission Support Division at NASA Headquarters. In this position, she leads Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) activities in support of NASA's human spaceflight programs (including the International Space Station, Commercial Crew Program and Deep Space Gateway), science payloads, expendable launch vehicles and aeronautics programs. In addition, she provides OSMA’s primary interface with the NASA Mission Directorates, the Office of the Chief Technologist and the center SMA organizations.

Healey has more than 32 years of experience in space systems SMA, program management, engineering, operations and policy. At NASA, she successfully led the efforts to incorporate crew safety into NASA’s new human spaceflight programs,including Orion, the Space Launch System and the Commercial Crew Program.  She has worked to integrate NASA policy with commercial, national and international partners to ensure crew and public safety and optimize mission success for NASA missions.

Prior to joining NASA, she led development and operations of national and international space systems in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years. Previous positions included chief of the International Policy Branch for United States Strategic command, program manager for the Inertial Upper Stage Rocket Booster Program, director of Titan Program Operations and Integration, deputy program manager for Launch Projects at Cape Canaveral Air Station, and technical director for requirements at the Air Force Satellite Control Network. In addition, she served on various Mishap Investigation Boards including the president-commissioned Launch Broad Area Review, the TItan IVA-20 Accident Investigation Board and chair of the Goddard Space Flight Center High-Visibility Arc Flash Mishap Investigation Board. 

Healey is a member of the NASA Speakers Bureau and Women at NASA and has spoken at several conferences and STEM events, including as a panel member at the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Conference, a United Nations Conference on Arms Control, the Brookings Institution Women’s Leadership Program, and as keynote speaker at the "Second Annual Women in Industry: Empowered" event for the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.

Healey is a graduate of the George Washington University Senior Executive Development Program and has a master's degree in government from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois.

Raymond Kinney

Raymond Kinney is the Life Support Branch chief at Armstrong Flight Research Center. In this role, he manages the operation of the Life Support Branch. This includes oxygen systems, Full Pressure Suits, egress systems, Aircrew Flight Equipment, fabrication and parachutes.

Prior to working at NASA, Kinney spent 18 years in the U.S. Air Force as a life support craftsman and egress systems craftsman.

Kinney is a member of the Space and Flight Equipment Association. He has been married for 30 years and has three children. He has a passion for drag racing and has a 1969 Camaro that he races in the 9.60 index.

Joseph LeBlanc

Joseph LeBlanc is a senior safety engineer at NASA Kennedy Space Center. LeBlanc has been involved with processing of the Space Shuttle, Titan IV, Atlas V, Delta II and IV, Pegasus and Falcon rockets. His areas of expertise include the following:

  • Space Shuttle, Commercial Crew and other launch vehicle/payload processing operations and qualification/acceptance tests
  • Interpretation and compliance with NASA and Department of Defense standards, specifications and requirements, along with American National Standards Institute, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society for Testing and Materials, National Fire Protection Association and the Code of Federal Regulations (including Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and Occupation Safety and Health Administration) codes and regulations
  • Kennedy, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base facilities and processes (i.e., high pressure, hydraulic/pneumatic systems, hypergolics, cryogenics, solid propellants, ordnance and pyrotechnics)
  • Operational safety procedures for various launch programs (e.g.; Space Shuttle, Space Launch System, Titan, Atlas, Delta, Falcon, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles)
  • Expendable Launch Vehicle systems
  • System Safety engineering
  • Hazard analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Confined space entry and rescue
  • Process safety management
  • Arc flash
  • Computer safety
  • Lab safety
  • Fire safety
  • Safety training instruction and course development

Prior to his current position, LeBlanc worked for Lockheed Space Operations Company on the Space Shuttle Program for five years in System Safety engineering, safety operations and procedures review.

In 1994, he moved to SRS Technologies and worked in System Safety and Range Safety. He worked with SRS safety workshops in the upkeep and instructing of their preparation courses for the Associate Safety Professional and Certified Safety Professional certification exams. He also taught Occupational Health and Safety Technologist, and Construction Safety and Health Technician certifications, which were also offered through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

LeBlanc also developed courses for the Federal Aviation Authority to train their personnel in the Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

LeBlanc received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University in 1988.

Mark Underwood

Mark Underwood has served in mission assurance for 13 years as mission assurance manager for the Mars 2020 Project, mission assurance manager for SMAP and deputy mission assurance manager for Juno.

Before moving to 5X, he was deputy section manager, then section manager for Section 346, Power and Sensor Systems. Underwood was also group supervisor of the Power Electronics Engineering Group. As an individual contributor, Underwood worked as the power system engineer for the Pluto pre-project team and participated in the New Millennium Microelectronics Integrated Product Development Team. As a research and development engineer, Underwood developed AMTEC technology as a power source for spacecraft. Special assignments have included the Dawn PPU Tiger Team; ESD Reorganization Design Team; Genesis Failure Review Team; MER PCU Tiger Team; WIRE Failure Review Team; and proposal support to Pluto, Dawn, and other missions.

Underwood has worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 33 years. His formal education includes completing a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering at UCLA.

Glenn Graham

Glenn L. Graham is the director for Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Appointed to this position in 2016, he is responsible for the management and technical direction of the center’s SMA programs. He also provides independent risk assessment and analysis for flight science and research projects and serves as a research pilot for the center.

Prior to his current assignment with NASA, he served 28 years as an active-duty U.S. Air Force officer. His last Air Force assignment was as commander of the Defense Contract Management Agency’s Western Region, where he led a workforce of more than 2,500 civilian and military acquisition professionals in 15 western states. His organization provided contract and Quality Assurance oversight for over 4,100 defense contractors and 65,000 contracts worth more than $506 billion.

Graham has seven years of command experience at the squadron, group and wing levels. As a retired colonel and test pilot with over 3,100 flight hours, including 147 combat hours, he has flown more than 60 different types of aircraft and has been an instructor pilot in six different airframes. He had one operational F-15 tour at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, three test tours at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and one command tour at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where he led developmental testing efforts for A-10, F-15 and F-16 aircraft.

Graham has also served as a lead Presidential Advance Agent for Air Force One, chief of special projects for the F-15 Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, director of test operations for the Missile Defense Agency in Alabama, and chief of safety for the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, where he ensured the safety and well-being of more than 12,000 employees, 90 aircraft and 300 Department of Defense test programs.

He received his commission, along with a Bachelor of Science in engineering sciences, from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Science in engineering mechanics from Columbia University in New York. He also holds a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree from the Air Command and Staff College and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the Air War College, both at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Phillip Morton

Phillip (Phil) Morton is the manager of the Mission Assurance Division (5100) at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reporting to the director of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.

The Mission Assurance Division at JPL is comprised of organizations responsible for Mission Assurance Management, Quality Assurance, Space Environments and Mission Reliability, Electronic Parts, Failure Analysis, and flight System Safety.

Morton has more than 42 years of experience in flight project management, space flight systems, avionics and instrument development and has performed project and product delivery roles such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Follow-On (GRACE-FO) project manager, science payload manager for the Juno Mission to Jupiter, spacecraft manager for the original GRACE Mission and the technical manager for the Command Data System for the Cassini Mission to Saturn. 

His early career included flight hardware and software development, and flight system implementation, integration, and test programs for numerous JPL and NASA missions, including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Magellan mission to Venus, and the Mars Observer and Mars Pathfinder missions.

Morton has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic University and has received the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal for GRACE-FO, Exceptional Service Medal for GRACE, and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals for the Cassini and Juno Missions.

Amy Rice

Amy Rice serves as the Requirements Evaluation and Documentation Assessment and Analysis program manager for the NASA Safety Center and is based at Stennis Space Center. In this role, she is responsible for requirements traceability assessment and analysis in programs and projects from Phase A through Phase C, as well as requirements traceability assessment in support of Institutional, Facility and Operational Safety Audits and Quality Audits, Assessments and Reviews. Rice also serves as chair of the NASA Electrical Safety Working Group (NESWG).

Previously, Rice served as the division chief for Safety, Quality and Management Systems where she coordinated the development of the new internal audit program at Stennis. She also was a technical specialist that helped establish base-side safety activities requirements by reviewing plans and procedures to ensure the safety of personnel and operations.

Rice worked with other centers as a member of the Safety Culture Working Group and NESWG and as the Stennis Operational Safety representative for the Safety and Mission Assurance Technical Excellence Program (STEP). In addition, Rice co-presented NASA's Safety Culture philosophy at the national Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Participants’ Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in August 2013 and oversaw management of Stennis’ VPP Program. During her time at NASA, Rice has worked on the Taurus II AJ-26 Engine Test Operations Team, Shuttle Flow Control Valve Test Team and J-2X Power Pack Assembly Test Team.

Rice has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. She has completed STEP Level 2 for the Operational Safety discipline and took Occupational Safety and Health Administration 6010 training. She has earned numerous awards including the Space Flight Awareness Award, Peer Recognition Award for Safety, and Excellence in Leadership Special Act or Service Award.

Rice is married with two children. She enjoys playing softball and beach volleyball, Olympic weightlifting, and coaching her son’s soccer team.

Dana Purifoy

Dana D. Purifoy is the director for Flight Operations at Armstrong Flight Research Center. He is responsible for the center’s fleet of 22 highly-modified manned and unmanned aircraft that are flown on worldwide science, astronomy and aeronautical flight research missions, as well as the flight and ground crews that fly and maintain them.

In 2013, Purifoy became the acting director of Safety and Mission Assurance, responsible for flight safety, Range Safety, Aviation Safety and Institutional Safety including planning, directing and coordinating all activities necessary to ensure that proper safety policies, objectives, processes and standards were established and maintained. He served as the director from December 2013 to 2015.

A former U.S. Air Force test pilot, Purifoy initially came to NASA as a research test pilot in 1994. During his first 11 years with NASA, he flew a number of significant research projects, among them the F/-18 Active Aeroelastic Wing, the Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles Project on a highly-modified NF-15B, research experiments on NASA Dryden's F-15B aeronautics test bed and the Supersonic Laminar Flow Control Project on a modified F-16XL. He also flew the NB-52 mothership during launches of the X-38 prototype crew return vehicle and the X-43 hypersonic scramjet vehicles, experiments on the F/A-18 Systems Research Aircraft, the Convair 990 space shuttle tire tests, and worked on the X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Project.

Purifoy left NASA in 2005 to become Calspan Corporation's chief pilot. During five years with Calspan, he completed several unique test efforts related to the operation of unmanned aircraft in the national air space, the F-16 Autoland, Automated Air Refueling and Automated Multiple Intruder Avoidance Projects. He also was an instructor test pilot in Calspan's variable stability Learjet, the VISTA NF-16D and F-16D aircraft for all major test pilot schools.

Purifoy returned to NASA Dryden in 2010 and remains on flight duty, piloting the G-III, T-34C and TG-14 aircraft. He has accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time in more than 100 different aircraft.

Purifoy completed U.S. Air Force pilot training in 1978. Prior to becoming a test pilot, he flew F-111 and F-16 aircraft in Great Britain and Germany. Purifoy served as a project pilot in the joint NASA/Air Force X-29 Forward Swept Wing Research Program and served as a project pilot and joint test force director with the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration/F-16 Program, both located at Dryden. Prior to those assignments, Purifoy was chief of the Systems Evaluation Branch at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards, where he also served as an instructor on the T-38, F-16 and A-37. His last assignment in the Air Force was test flying U-2 aircraft.

Purifoy earned a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, and a Master of Science in aerospace engineering with honors from the University of Michigan. Purifoy is a 1987 distinguished graduate of the French Test Pilot School, which he attended as an Air Force exchange pilot.

Rick Nybakken

Rick Nybakken is the deputy SMA director at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA and has served in this role since November 2017.

Prior to this appointment, Nybakken was the Juno project manager leading a team of scientists and engineers on a mission of exploration to Jupiter. Juno, a Jupiter polar orbiter, launched in August 2011 and arrived at Jupiter in July 2016 to conduct a five-year investigation of Jupiter’s atmospheric, electromagnetic and interior structures using Juno’s nine instruments.

Nybakken also served as the Juno deputy project manager during development from 2006 – 2011. Previous to Juno, Nybakken made significant technical and management contributions to several other NASA interplanetary missions including Magellan (Venus), Galileo (Jupiter), Cassini (Saturn) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Mars) and has served as a technical division manager for JPL’s Mission Assurance Engineering Division. 

Nybakken has worked at JPL since 1983 after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Engineering. 

David Farmer

David E. Farmer Jr. serves as a Quality Assurance Specialist (QAS) at Armstrong Flight Research Center. In this role, Farmer manages the center Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) Program, establishes Quality requirements and policies for NDI methods, and performs audits to ensure adherence to inspection procedures.

Farmer administers the NASA Aerospace Standard (NAS)-410 training and certification program for Nondestructive Testing (NDT) and ensures that inspectors certified under the program meet the minimum requirements of NAS-410. He works with structural engineers to develop inspection techniques for experimental components developed at Armstrong and reviews contracts for NDT services to ensure center requirements are met. Farmer also manages the center Stamp Control Program and the Quality Assurance Training Program, and establishes and maintains the Branch Master Training Plan.

Previous to his QAS role, Farmer served as a lead inspector for the instrumentation fabrication laboratory, environmental testing laboratory, calibration laboratory, pressure laboratory and battery laboratory.

His major projects include the X-56, X-57, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars (PRANDL-M), and the Orion accent abort system.

Prior to NASA, Farmer served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was on active duty performing Nondestructive inspections and working with sheet metal, composites, welding, paint and finish. He then served as an oil analysis program manager and radiographer; then as an NDI training leader and Quality Assurance representative; and then as an NDI laboratory supervisor at Edwards Air Force Base.

He received the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Navy Achievement Medal General Leo Marquez Award for Technician of the Year at Edwards Air Force Base and Outstanding Performance Award at Air Force Materiel Command.

Farmer has a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology from the Southern Illinois University College of Engineering in Carbondale. He is a member of the American Association of Nondestructive Testing. His hobbies include wood working, fishing, radio controlled airplanes, and microcontroller circuit development and programming.

John Saltzman

John Saltzman is a systems engineer with more than 30 years of experience at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.  Saltzman describes his job as, “to make sure misunderstandings are not designed into the system.”  

Saltzman is currently the lead systems engineer for the ‘quiet supersonic’ X-59.  Saltzman was a lead systems engineer for the Orion Flight Test Management Office for more than 10 years. 

John has received multiple technical awards including

  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2013)
    • Sustained Excellence in the field of systems engineering
  • NASA Agency team awards for ‘Excellence in Systems Engineering’ for
  • NASA Ames Honor Award (2019)

Saltzman received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University Fresno and his Masters of Engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology.  

Steve Foster

Steve Foster is the chief of Quality Assurance at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, CA.

Foster developed a program at Armstrong within the Procurement Quality Assurance Group that mitigates risk of receiving counterfeit aircraft parts by applying a threat scale when vetting suppliers. He also developed a comprehensive survey that can be used with different federal agencies in assessing potential suppliers. This program garnered national attention as “hitting the mark” in reducing this threat. 

Foster served for 27 years active duty in the U.S. Air Force, and is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational education, specializing in corporate training and development. He has more than 35 years of experience in the Quality Assurance industry.

He served in different capacities such as management functions analyst, material research for correct elements, chief consultant and subject matter technical expert on quality systems. He served in numerous leadership positions from superintendent of Quality Assurance to group superintendent at the United States Air Force Academy. 

Foster leadership and “can-do” attitude has benefited every organization he has worked. He has spoken both nationally and internationally on his approach to reducing counterfeit parts infiltrating the supply system.

Brandt Grimes

Brandt Grimes is the Quality Assurance lead for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Program, a role in which he ensures the program is compliant with the Federal Acquisition Regulations requirements as well as with NASA, center and program policies. As the SOFIA Quality Assurance lead, Grimes also authors and updates the program’s Quality Assurance Plan, conducts compliance audits and surveillance on the program, and coordinates the efforts of various inspectors

Prior to joining NASA, Grimes served for eight years as the Quality Assurance lead for the Defense Contract Management Agency Special Programs Division.

Grimes studied applied science and aviation maintenance technology.

Jenna Takas

Jenna E. Takas is a procurement quality specialist lead in Procurement Quality Assurance at Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. In this role, she reviews and validates current and potential suppliers, inspects shipping and receiving, and processes audits.

Prior to this position, Takas worked for the Defense Contract Management Agency for more than four years and served as International Organization for Standardization lead auditor for a contractor at Fort Irwin, California.

Takas is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) I and II- and Six Sigma Green Belt-certified. She is also an American Society for Quality-certified quality technician and member and AQS Management Systems-certified quality auditor. She completed TapRoot incident investigation and Root Cause Analysis training and the British Standards Institution lead auditor course.

Takas received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University. When she isn’t working, she loves to cook.

Mark Kowaleski

Mark Kowaleski is the chief engineer at the NASA Safety Center (NSC). Kowaleski is responsible for leading studies and benchmarking activities and supporting the technical functions of the NSC.

Prior to his current position, Kowaleski served as the chief of the Safety and Health Division at Glenn Research Center, where he was responsible for managing and implementing all of Glenn’s Operational Safety, Occupational Safety and Mishap Investigation programs. Kowaleski also served as chief of the Reliability and System Safety Branch. When the NSC was first established, Kowaleski served as the System Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead and as the acting director of the Technical Excellence Office, where he conceived and implemented the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Technical Excellence Program (STEP).

At Headquarters, Kowaleski served as the executive director of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). He was responsible for providing executive leadership and delivering ASAP’s annual report to the NASA administrator and Congress. Kowaleski served as the SMA manager for the Space Shuttle Program in the Office of SMA, where he was responsible for maintaining oversight of the Space Shuttle SMA program. Kowaleski provided launch readiness expertise to the NASA Chief Safety Officer, including serving on console in the Launch Control Center. Kowaleski also served as executive secretary for the Space Shuttle Return-to-Flight team.

Kowaleski served as the associate director and program executive for systematic measurements in the Office of Earth Science. At Goddard Space Flight Center, Kowaleski served as a system engineer for satellite projects and as operations manager for the ICESat. Kowaleski served in the U.S. Army as a forward observer in the Light Infantry Division.

Kowaleski received a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering from the University of Scranton and a Master of Science in system engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Kowaleski has accumulated over 2,000 hours of training in aerospace engineering. During his NASA career, Kowaleski earned numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Awareness Award, an Exceptional Service Medal, Group Achievement Awards and an Employee Suggestion Award. Kowaleski is currently the only NASA civil servant qualified at Level 4 in STEP System Safety. Kowaleski is a member of the International System Safety Society and the Greater Cleveland Safety Council. Kowaleski is also a published author and freelance writer. Kowaleski is currently pursuing the Certified Safety Professional credential.

Kowaleski resides in Avon, Ohio with his wife and daughter.

Mark Geyer

Mark Geyer, deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, assists in the management one of NASA’s largest installations, with nearly 14,000 civil service and contractor employees – including those at White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico – and an annual budget of approximately $5.1 billion. In his role as deputy, Geyer oversees a broad range of human spaceflight activities.

Prior to being named deputy center director, Geyer has served as manager of the Orion Program since 2007. In this position, Geyer is responsible for directing the development of Orion, implementing program policies, planning and ensuring effective cost control of the program. Under Geyer’s direction, Orion was successfully tested in space in 2014 for the first time, bringing NASA a step closer to sending astronauts to deep space destinations.

Geyer also served as Deputy Program Manager of the Constellation Program from 2004 to 2007. Along with the program manager, he was responsible for the day-to-day management, development, and integration of Program elements for the deep space exploration program.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Geyer joined NASA in 1990. He began his career as a Systems Engineer in the Lunar and Mars Exploration Office.

He was quickly recognized for his leadership abilities, and in 1999 he became an increment manager for the International Space Station, responsible for integrating operations requirements between NASA, the Russian Space Agency and their contractors prior to arrival of the first International Space Station crew.

In 2000, Geyer became manager of the International Space Station Integration Office, responsible for definition of the International Space Station assembly sequence. This was the primary office for technical integration of space station elements between the international partners.

Then in 2004, Geyer began supporting the Development Program Division of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington as the manager of Systems Engineering and Integration.

Geyer has been recognized with NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal in 2000, the Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award in 2003, and the NASA Commendation Award in 2011, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2015. He was also a nominee for the Federal Engineer of the Year Award in 2012.

Geyer earned Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University. He and his wife Jacqueline have three children, Samantha, Russell, and Andrew.

Coleen Taylor

Coleen Taylor is the System Safety (SS) Technical Discipline Team Lead for the NASA Safety Center. In this role, she is responsible for providing SS expertise related to Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) and oversight and management for the SMA Technical Excellence Program. Taylor is located at Kennedy Space Center.

Prior to this role, Taylor spent over 11 years as the lead of the safety engineering group for the Launch Services (LS) Program (LSP). She assessed LS and spacecraft contractors to ensure compliance with federal and agency safety standards and requirements. Taylor’s launch vehicle experience includes Delta II, Delta IV, Atlas V, Taurus XL, Pegasus and Falcon 9.

Taylor served as the SMA LS Division authority on interpretation and application of Air Force requirements as related to Expendable Launch Vehicles, spacecraft, and launch facility government-sponsored enterprise and operations.

Before her time with NASA, Taylor worked as a contractor for the Boeing Company performing Hazard Analysis (HA) and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) on Orbiter Ground Support Equipment. Prior to supporting the Space Shuttle Program, Taylor worked on the Eastern Range supporting the U.S. Air Force with Reliability, Maintainability and Availability (RMA) analyses of Eastern and Western Range tracking equipment, as well as FMEA, Fault Tree Analysis, Single Point of Failure Analysis and HA.

Taylor has received numerous honors including a Silver Achievement Medal, You Make A Difference Award, Certificate of Appreciation, Space Flight Awareness Team Award and numerous Group Achievement Awards.

Taylor graduated from Central Catholic High School in Melbourne, Florida, and received a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology in 1996. She earned a Master of Science in management and a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, in addition to a Master of Science in industrial engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Taylor lives with her husband Jason, daughter Sophie and dog Molly on Merritt Island, Florida. She enjoys watching the Yankees, trying new foods and traveling.

Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones currently serves as the deputy director of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) at NASA Stennis Space Center. In this role, she provides leadership and strategic guidance for SMA employees and support contractors.

Jones began her career at Stennis in 1999, completing a research project as a graduate student. She continued working in the Stennis contractor workforce until 2008 when she joined NASA as a Quality engineer. Jones has managed a variety of integrated efforts across Stennis, including development and implementation of Stennis’s Institutional Risk Management Program, projects initiated by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center chief engineer, and the center’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program. 

Since assuming responsibility for oversight of Range Safety and the expansion of R-4403 in 2010, she has consistently worked to ensure the continuation of the R-4403 expansion effort, which the center successfully achieved in 2016. She also serves as the chair of the Stennis Training and Certification Board, ensuring consistent training and qualifications are applied across the site for the safety of the entire workforce.

Jones has spent most of her life residing in Mandeville, Louisiana, where she graduated as a valedictorian from St. Scholastica Academy. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the University of New Orleans. 

She completed the NASA Leveraging Agency Supervisory Excellence and Resilience Program and participated in the curriculum development of subsequent supervisory development programs for the agency. Jones is a graduate of Leadership St. Tammany and has received several awards from NASA, including the Outstanding Leadership Medal. 

Randy Galloway

Randy Galloway serves as deputy director of NASA Stennis Space Center. He is responsible, along with the center director, for coordinating all of NASA’s rocket propulsion testing capabilities, as well as managing Stennis. He began his duties in this position in September 2015.

He started his career as a test engineer for the Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, in 1983. In 1986, he transferred to Marshall Space Flight Center as a Reliability engineer on the Space Station Freedom Program. In this capacity, he served as the lead Reliability engineer for the Work Package 1 segment of the program.

In 1994, he accepted a position with the International Space Station Program (ISSP) Office at NASA Johnson Space Center, serving as the Node Element manager, resident at the manufacturing/test site at Marshall. In this position, he was responsible for day-to-day technical oversight of the design, manufacturing, assembly and test of the Node Element, the first U.S. element of the International Space Station. In 1997, Galloway managed the Pressurized Elements Office for the ISSP at Marshall and was responsible for all aspects of the node, laboratory and airlock elements of the space station.

In 1998, he accepted a temporary assignment at Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Hardware Integration Office, managing technical aspects of preparing the U.S. laboratory element for multi-element integrated testing and final readiness for flight. He transferred to Kennedy in 2000, assuming leadership of the Engineering Division in the International Space Station/Payloads Processing Directorate. There he was responsible for engineering oversight of space station element testing/processing and providing engineering resources to all space station and payload projects.

In 2002, he was chief engineer of the International Space Station/Payload Processing Directorate. From 1998 to 2002, he chaired the International Space Station Material and Engineering Review Board and was responsible for the review of high-consequence material review actions and last-minute engineering “make operable” changes after hardware acceptance by NASA.

In 2003, he transferred to Stennis, where he led the Propulsion Test Directorate Operations Division and was responsible for conducting testing on rocket propulsion components in the E-Complex.

He accepted a position with the NASA Engineering and Safety Center, located at Langley Research Center, as Stennis’ chief engineer in late 2003. There, he was assigned to lead the External Tank Independent Technical Assessment Team during the return-to-flight effort.

He returned to Stennis in 2005 as deputy director, Propulsion Test Directorate. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in October 2006 before his appointment as director of the Engineering and Test Directorate in 2007, which he held until his current appointment.

He is a recipient of numerous awards, including NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Outstanding Leadership Medal and Stennis Space Center’s J. Harry Guin Leadership Award.

Rodney McKellip

Rodney D. McKellip is the deputy director of the Center Operations Directorate (COD) at NASA Stennis Space Center. In this role, he works with the COD director to manage daily operations of the center, including facilities, infrastructure, construction, security and information technology to support the 5,000 people who work each day at Stennis.

Prior to his current role, McKellip served in a number of strategic planning and development positions at Stennis. In 2018, he became manager of the Planning and Development Office within COD, where he led a team focused on master planning, investment planning, sustainability and partnership development. Prior to that, he served as the assistant to the center director for two years, providing wide-ranging staff support to the Stennis senior leadership team.

He previously spent several years in the Projects and the Engineering and Test Directorates at Stennis, working on a number of long-range planning and business development objectives. This work included an 18-month detail within the NASA Headquarters Partnerships Office and a one-year assignment in England working on small satellite mission requirements for lunar exploration.

McKellip began his Stennis career in 1994 as a contractor, providing field work for projects within the NASA Commercial Remote Sensing Program (CRSP). In 1998, he transferred to a NASA project management position in CRSP, managing portfolios of agricultural and resource management remote sensing projects. He later transitioned to the Earth Science Applications Directorate at Stennis where he focused on developing decision support tools using NASA earth science data for agriculture, disaster management and homeland security applications. 

McKellip holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of New Orleans. McKellip grew up in nearby Picayune where his family owned and operated the Sonic Drive-In for more than 40 years. McKellip met his wife, Sally, in Houston, Texas, and married her in 1993. The pair have two children. Their daughter, Grace, lives and works in Washington, D.C., and son, Jack, is a college student at Louisiana State University. McKellip and his wife currently reside in Slidell, Louisiana.

Michael Lipka

Mike Lipka is responsible for the design and implementation of the Knowledge Management program for the NASA Safety Center (NSC) and Safety and Mission Assurance community. His work is focused on knowledge strategy and needs assessment, developing Communities of Practice, and identifying and implementing knowledge sharing opportunities. 

Prior to his work at the NSC, Lipka worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland implementing knowledge transfer programs with an emphasis on the dynamic between corporate culture and Knowledge Management. He has served as the project manager for the Air Force Knowledge Now Communities of Practice program and helped launch Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Knowledge.

Matthew Scott

Matthew R. Scott is a Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Aerospace Technologist at Stennis Space Center. In this role, he serves as the Stennis Facility Safety Point of Contact and provides oversight to Facility Safety inspections and technical engineering expertise for the operation of facilities, systems and equipment. Scott evaluates facilities, structures, systems and/or equipment to determine compliance with existing federal and agency safety regulations and requirements. When noncompliance conditions exist, safety findings are generated, coordinated with the appropriate parties for correction and tracked to closure. 

Scott also serves as the Stennis close call reporting system manager and provides oversight of close call investigations to ensure reported hazards are appropriately documented, communicated and addressed.  

Prior to his current role, Scott served as the Stennis mishap manager from January 2018 to November 2018.  His responsibilities included investigating non-appointed civil servant mishaps, as well as the review and closeout of all center mishaps within the NASA Mishap Information System. Before joining NASA, Scott served as the chief of safety and occupational health for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, from April 2012 to September 2017. Prior to that position, he served as an industrial hygienist for the mobile district from January 2007 to April 2012.

Scott received a Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in both 2011 and 2017 and the NASA Agency Innovation Coin Award in December 2018. He is the recipient of a CP-12 Safety and Occupational Health Certificate and a CP-12 Explosives Safety Certificate Level 1. He has completed SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP) Level 1 and STEP Level 2 with a focus on Operational Safety. Scott received a bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry from Spring Hill College.

Freddie Douglas III

Freddie Douglas III is director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. In this position, he is responsible for the safety and mission success of all activities executed at Stennis, including public and private rocket propulsion testing and operation of the federal city.

Douglas joined NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in 1983, as a professional intern. There, he worked on several projects, such as the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and the post-Challenger Accident Return to Flight Effort, and served as a neutral buoyancy diver. In 1989, he transferred to Stennis Space Center, where he has worked on the space shuttle main engine test program, research-and-development rocket testing and other agency initiatives, such as the Intelligent Synthesis Environment. In addition, he has served in both project and functional management positions and as the Constellation/System Engineering and Integration Office/Integrated Modeling and Simulation, Risk Modeling and System Dynamics Team lead. Prior to leading Stennis’ Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, Douglas served as its deputy manager, and in 2007, he was selected as the Stennis chief engineer (co-located) with the Langley Research Center-based NASA Engineering and Safety Center.

Born in Houma, Louisiana, Douglas graduated from Terrebonne High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a master’s degree in engineering management with minors in statistics and operations research from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Louisiana, and a master’s degree in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Systems Design and Management Program). He also completed NASA’s Accelerated Leadership Option for Program and Project Management.

Douglas has authored and co-authored several technical publications. He has received awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Astronaut’s Silver Snoopy and Dollars and Sense magazine’s “America’s Best & Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women.” He is retired from the U.S.Naval Reserve, where he served as an engineering duty officer with rank of commander. Douglas is a deacon at the Starlight Missionary Baptist Church. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He and his wife, Anita, also a NASA employee at Stennis, have three children: Candace, Morgan and Lacey.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly is chief of the Technical Excellence Office for the NASA Safety Center (NSC). In this role, he is responsible for planning, organizing and directing a full range of integrated services including Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) curriculum and course development, SMA engineering support for over 2,800 NASA civil service and support contract employees agencywide, and the SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP) — NASA’s university for safety. Kelly also serves as program manager for the Chief Safety Officers Summit and Executive Safety Leadership Program. He is located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 

Prior to this role, Kelly served as the Technical Leadership Technical Discipline Team Lead (TDTL) and also as the Quality Engineering (QE) TDTL for the NSC. As the Technical Leadership TDTL, he offered a professional development path for the SMA Technical Leadership discipline through STEP and developed and defined the role of the SMA Technical Leadership curriculum participant through professional development opportunities, collaborative events and working groups. As the QE TDTL, Kelly was responsible for the professional development of NASA’s QE workforce.

Before joining the NSC, Kelly was the assistant director of the Goddard Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) directorate in Greenbelt, Maryland. In this position, his duties included serving as the Contracting Officer Representative for the SMA Services contract and supporting both Continuity of Operations Planning and awards programs for the directorate. Kelly provided leadership as the center technical liason officer of the SMA 3 contract, which provides SMA support at supplier facilities for all Goddard projects.

Kelly spent four years as the chief of the Mission Support Division within the Goddard SMA directorate. Under his direction were the Chief SMA Officers, Reliability engineers, System Safety engineers, software Quality Assurance engineers, and Lean Six Sigma and Risk Management programs. Kelly provided SMA leadership, direction and support for all NASA Goddard programs and projects.   

Kelly also served as the chief of the Institutional Support Office within the SMA directorate at Goddard. While in this office, he provided technical leadership for multiple activities at Goddard, which included the Goddard internal auditing program, SMA directives management, mission operations assurance, on-orbit anomalies investigations and Goddard Open Learning Design rules. Also included in his duties were the development and management of the NASA Goddard Supply Chain Management Program. Kelly has visited and led in-depth AS9100 and contractual assessments at more than 70 aerospace suppliers. Kelly was the original creator of the Supply Chain Conference held each year at Goddard. 

Prior to his SMA management role, Kelly was the systems assurance manager for almost 17 years, working many Goddard projects, including the GOES Series, STEREO, SWIFT, SOLAR-B, EO-1, XTE, TRMM, ACE, TOPEX and MOLA. 

Don Brandl

Donald “Don” E. Brandl is the Quality Engineering (QE) Technical Discipline Team Lead for the NASA Safety Center. In this role, he is responsible for providing QE expertise related to Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) and oversight and management for the SMA Technical Excellence Program. He is based at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Brandl began his career as a hardware engineer for Lockheed Martin where he worked multiple Department of Defense (DOD) programs developing Automated Test Equipment (ATE) for the Navy and Army. He oversaw prototype development, design, and ATE testing and demonstrations to the DOD customers.

Beginning in 2001, Brandl worked on the Space Shuttle Program as a software test engineer for United Space Alliance, performing Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) on newly-developed or modified software for the Space Shuttle Program Launch Processing Systems. He performed IV&V for the Record and Playback Subsystem, Firing Room Checkout Control and Monitor System, and Shuttle Connector Analysis Network. Brandl later moved into performing Reliability analyses for ground operations equipment in support of the Space Shuttle Program.

Brandl began working for NASA in 2006 and spent three years as the lead of the Safety Engineering Branch for the Kennedy Space Center SMA Division in support of the Launch Services Program (LSP). In this position, he provided leadership and technical expertise to a team of System Safety engineers and operations safety specialist personnel responsible for assessing launch vehicle design, spacecraft design and launch site operations. The team was also responsible for ensuring accurate hazard identification and safe processing during launch site processing activities. Brandl served as the Payload Safety Working Group chairman for numerous LSP missions (including Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite, Aquarius, JUNO and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite), working with various NASA centers, as well as domestic and international partners.

Brandl spent the last seven years as the lead of the QE and Quality Assurance (QA) Branch for LSP. In this role, he provided leadership and technical expertise to a team of Quality engineers and QA specialist personnel responsible for assessing the effectiveness of Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) contractor’s Quality Management System, the health of the launch vehicle build processes and launch vehicle production supply chains. Brandl was responsible for managing and leading a large team of QA specialists at various commercial launch vehicle manufacturing and production locations, including multiple launch sites. Brandl has participated in numerous launch vehicle contractor and supplier AS9100 audits, and NASA-led audits during launch vehicle certification efforts.

During his time with the LSP SMA Division, he supported more than 40 LSP missions flying on various ELVs such as Delta II, Delta IV, Atlas V, Pegasus XL and Falcon 9.

Brandl has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida. He has been recognized with multiple center awards, including the NASA Silver Achievement Medal and the Kennedy Certificate of Appreciation.

Brandl lives with his wife Stacey, daughter Madison, and sons Jacob and Zachary. He also shares his home with five cats, two dogs and five chickens. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking and camping. He is also an avid landscape photographer.

Anita Liang

Anita D. Liang serves as director of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) at Glenn Research Center. As director, Liang leads and directs the Glenn Research Center Operational Safety, Mission Assurance and Occupational Health efforts to ensure program success and workplace safety.

Prior to serving as Glenn’s director of SMA, Liang assisted the director of the Facilities and Test Directorate as the deputy director with the planning, organizing, coordinating and evaluating new Facilities and Test Directorate’s work. Liang directed the management of Glenn’s test facilities’ operation, including flight assets, at Lewis Field.  She also provided oversight of maintenance and assessment of the center’s facilities, infrastructure, and test and evaluation technical services in support of its research and development programs and business activities. 

Liang has been an integral part of Glenn’s Aeronautics Management Team since 1994. As associate director for Aeronautics, Liang served as the center’s Point of Contact for developing the overall Aeronautics Program strategy. In the position of chief of the Aeropropulsion Project Office, she was responsible for the management, execution and implementation of all projects at Glenn related to aeropropulsion advancements for future propulsion and power systems. Liang also served as Glenn's focal point for the integration and coordination of all aerospace fuel cell efforts.

Liang began her professional career at Babcock and Wilcox in 1981 as a research and project engineer. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She is a 2011 recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award. She participated in the Johnson Space Center’s Program and Project Manager Development Program and NASA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. She has also received several NASA honors, including the Exceptional Leadership Medal, Medal for Exceptional Achievement and Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award.

Anthony Nerone

Anthony Nerone is the subproject manager for Advanced Aircraft Icing, a project within the Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) Project, at Glenn Research Center. Nerone works with the technical organizations to formulate a project plan for the subproject each Fiscal Year, including technical content and budget. This involves developing goals for the icing work that fit into and support the broader goals of the AATT Project.

In this role, Nerone executes the plans each year and is responsible for managing the budget at all centers where the work is performed. His work is heavily tied to industry needs, and he also works with aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturers to ensure the NASA research meets their needs. Nerone develops collaborative agreements in which his team leverages resources to meet both NASA and industry goals more effectively.

Prior to this position, Nerone was a cooperative education student during his undergraduate years from 1999-2002, working in the Turbomachinery Branch. He was a mechanical engineer from 2002 until 2015 in the same branch, which was later renamed the Mechanical and Rotating Systems/Mechanisms and Tribology Branch. During that time, he performed design and analysis of turbomachinery components, including jet engine compressors, inlets, nozzles, turbines, and pumps. Eventually, Nerone became the mechanical team lead for several projects, leading teams of engineers developing mechanical systems for various aero and space projects. He also served as a systems engineer.

Some of Nerone’s major achievements and projects include Integrated Radio and Optical Communication, Environmentally Responsible Aviation ITD 30A, G6 Flywheel, Ares I Upper Stage Thrust Vector Control System, Zero-Gravity Test Flight for Advanced Liquid Pumps, AIFC/HCF 10x10 Supersonic Wind Tunnel Test, and Satellite Propellant Pump Demonstrator.

Nerone received two Group Silver Achievement Medals for the Glenn engineering and research support SEB and environmentally responsible aviation.

Nerone has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He also completed the NASA FIRST (Fundamentals of Influence, Relationships, Success, and Teamwork) Leadership Development Program and Space Mission Excellence Program Product Engineer Development Track Program. Nerone has served as an officer and board member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Cleveland section.

Robert Corban

Robert R. Corban is the branch manager of the International Space Station (ISS) and Human Health Office at Glenn Research Center. Corban manages 18 projects in support of the ISS and Human Research Program (HRP). The Human Health Office has four main programs, including the ISS Facilities (Combustion Integrated Rack and the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) Programs), Physical Science Research Program, ISS Power Sustaining Engineering Program, and HRP’s Exercise Countermeasures and Exploration Medical Capabilities Program.

Prior to this position, Corban was the project manager of the Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF) development and operations on the ISS and the project manager for the FIR development. He began his career at NASA as a co-op (intern) in 1980.

Corban is the author of 15 NASA technical papers dealing with space flight development projects, such as Expendable Launch Vehicles, lunar and Mars missions, and microgravity science experiments. He received the Outstanding Leadership Medal, Exceptional Achievement Medal, Silver Snoopy Award and FCF Development Team Award.

Corban has a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio. He is a member of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research.

Corban is married with three grown children. He enjoys golfing, boating, kayaking and traveling.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is the project manager for Orion spacecraft testing at Plum Brook Station, where she leads the design and development of a world-class test facility, manufacturing of unique test-specific hardware and test operations in support of the Orion Program. 

Smith’s career has taken her through engineering, mission operations and program management for the International Space Station and Orion Programs at both Johnson Space Center and Glenn Research Center, with a brief tenure on Capitol Hill as the aerospace and manufacturing legislative fellow for the senior senator from Ohio. She served on the board of directors for both Hard-Hatted Women  Ohio and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She currently serves on the Advisory Council and Women’s Advisory Council for Miami University’s College of Engineering and Computing. 

Nicole received the Lawrence Sperry Medal, NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the JSC Center Director’s Commendation. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and statistics and a Bachelor of Science in aeronautics from Miami University, and a Master of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Gregory Follen

Gregory J. Follen serves as the deputy director of aeronautics at Glenn Research Center. In this capacity, he assists the center director’s participation in the Advanced Air Vehicles, Integrated Aviation Systems, Airspace Operations and Safety, and Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Programs.

Follen previously served as the Fundamental Aeronautics Subsonic Fixed Wing deputy project manager, where he was responsible for developing the yearly subproject plans and managing the execution of its activities across four NASA centers.

Since starting work at Glenn more than 30 years ago, Follen has accumulated an extensive portfolio of technical and project management experience to aid cross-center and cross-theme project integration. He held high-profile research positions in several areas of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) fixed wing arena, including project manager of the Aircraft Aging and Durability Project, which focused on developing advanced diagnostic and prognostic capabilities for detection and mitigation of aging-related hazards. He also served as deputy project manager for the ARMD Fundamental Aeronautics Research Program's Subsonic Fixed Wing Project and project manager for the Numerical Propulsion System Simulation Project.

During his NASA career, Follen has authored several technical papers detailing NASA’s aeronautics research efforts. He also received several personal and team awards, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, an R&D 100 Team Award for Numerical Propulsion System Simulation Project and NASA’s Software of the Year Team Award.

Follen is a 1979 graduate of Cleveland State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He returned to Cleveland State, earning a Master of Science degree in computer science, in 1989.

Follen and his wife reside in North Olmsted, Ohio.

Clayton Meyers

Clayton L. Meyers currently serves as the Commercial Supersonic Technology deputy project manager at Glenn Research Center. Meyers’ work involves managing an aeronautics research, design or ground/flight testing project. His position also includes project planning, development, analysis, and forecasting, such as: analyzing and managing project resources, objectives, and schedules; preparing overall statuses, including technical, budget, and schedule; and presenting and defending these to agency management.  

Prior to his current position, Meyers served in numerous roles as the Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) lead for Combustion Model-1; deputy project manager and subproject manager for Commercial Supersonic Technology; and subproject manager for the Environmentally Responsible Aviation, High Speed Supersonic, and Ultra Efficient Engine Technology Projects, where he developed and managed project requirements from pre-decisional to finalized. 

One major effort Meyers worked on at NASA was as a Contracting Officer Technical Representative for N+2 Supersonic Validations. Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor with General Electric and Liberty Works Propulsion as subcontracts. An Integrated Airframe and Propulsion Testing Program validated an integrated vehicle capability to meet environmentally-acceptable supersonic transportation. The program was completed in 2014 and the contract award value was in excess of $21 million, including options if exercised. Meyers made Statement of Work (SOW) revisions, reviewed proposals, and recommended approval; ensured deliverables were provided on time, within cost, and verified requirements were met; initiated changes to the SOW when scope was added, options exercised, or redirection was required; and performed evaluations of the contractor performance.

Meyers earned the Silver Achievement Medal for exceptional demonstration of NASA’s core values of teamwork and excellence in the execution of project management responsibilities on aeronautics research projects. He also won the NASA Honor Award as the Combustion Module-1 SE&I principal engineer from 1993-1996.

Meyers has both a bachelor’s of science and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He also has training in systems engineering and project management.

Joshua Freeh

Joshua Freeh is currently the deputy manager of the Orion European Service Module Integration Office and has 18 years of experience at NASA Glenn Research Center in both spaceflight and aeronautics projects.

Freeh previously served in management roles in the Systems Engineering and Architecture Division. He served as chief engineer of the Power and Propulsion Element; the Asteroid Redirect Mission; and Space Communications and Navigation Testbed, an external payload on the International Space Station. 

Prior to these leadership roles, he was an engineer on projects including radioisotope power systems, lunar surface power systems and hybrid electric aircraft systems. He began his career as a mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin on the Gravity Probe-B and Television InfraRed Observational Satellite spacecraft projects. 

Freeh received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Peter Van Wirt

Peter Van Wirt is a former deputy department head for labs and research of the Department of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been a visiting lecturer for the Technical University of Delft’s SpaceTech Master's Degree in Space Systems Engineering and is an adjunct professor for the Space Systems Engineering Master’s Program at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He also instructs at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, CO.  He has served as a systems engineer/program manager for a variety of US Air Force engineering developments.  Peter has over 30 years of aerospace engineering experience and over 20 years teaching experience. He earned his doctorate at the Utah State University. He is also an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Mark George

Mark George is the Aviation and Operational Safety Technical Discipline Team Lead at the NASA Safety Center. He has more than 30 years of experience in facility design, construction, operation and maintenance. In addition, George has participated as an ex-officio and chair for multiple NASA mishap investigations. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio, a Certified Safety Professional, and has achieved his Safety and Mission Assurance Technical Excellence Program Level 4 certification in Operational Safety.

Scott Graham

Scott R. Graham is the associate director of the Space Flight Systems Directorate at Glenn Research Center. In this capacity, Graham helps to lead a program and project management organization responsible for overseeing all of Glenn’s space flight technology and development work.

Prior to this assignment, Graham served as the chief of the Launch Systems Project Office where he led all of Glenn’s activities supporting the Ares rocket design and development for the Constellation Program. Before this, he worked as a project manager for numerous space transportation projects and served as a branch chief in the Advanced Space Analysis Office where he led space transportation and exploration studies and analyses primarily focused on human exploration missions to Mars. 

Graham has 37 years of experience at NASA as an engineer, project manager and supervisor; primarily working in areas associated with space transportation, launch vehicles, liquid propulsion and cryogenics. He served one year at NASA Headquarters where he helped lead the agency’s Nuclear Propulsion Technology Program and other space technology efforts.

Early in his NASA career, Graham served as a system engineer for the Atlas/Centaur expendable launch vehicle and the Shuttle/Centaur project. His responsibilities and expertise included the Atlas and Centaur propulsion systems and the Shuttle/Centaur cryogenic propellant system.  Graham also managed the RL10 Rocket Engine Product Improvement Program.

Graham has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Wayne State University in Detroit. He and his wife, Sandra, have three sons and live in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

Tibor Kremic

Dr. Tibor Kremic is currently the chief of the Space Science Project Office at Glenn Research Center. In this role, he is responsible for the center’s work in space science.

During his 28 years of service at NASA, Kremic has held various positions managing tasks, projects and programs relating to technology development, science and mission formulation. In addition to his management duties, he is serving as principle investigator for the Long-Lived In-Situ Solar System Explorer, a project developing a long-duration lander for Venus. He also supports various national and international committees in science and technology areas.

Anne Mills

Anne Mills serves as the records manager and history officer at Glenn Research Center. She has nearly 16 years of government service experience — 15 with NASA and one with the National Archives and Records Administration.

Mills is a former board member of the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators and in 2012, she was profiled as part of the Women@NASA initiative. Her introduction to NASA history was watching “I Dream of Jeannie” reruns on middle school summer break.

She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland College Park.

Mills is an avid runner — mostly because she also loves baking — and lives the best life ever with her husband, John, and their white German Shepherd, Senna.

Keith Boyer

Keith Boyer is the vice president for propulsion at Practical Aeronautics, Inc. Boyer spent 32 years in the United States Air Force as an enlisted member and a retired colonel. He was in the Air Force's Department of Aeronautics for 10 years as the director of propulsion and outstanding academy educator and senior faculty educator.

Boyer was the associate dean of students at the Air Force Institute of Technology's Graduate School of Engineering and Management and an adjunct faculty member to the Air Force Test Pilot School, during which won the Flight Test Instructor of the Quarter award twice. He was also an adviser to Air Force's propulsion product group manager.

Boyer has a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from the University of Florida, a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a PhD in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech. Boyer is the co-author of "Elements of Propulsion 2e."

Pamela Magee

Pamela Magee currently serves as the director of online learning and assistant professor of aerospace and space systems engineering. In this role, she develops and maintains online course materials for Stevens Institute of Technology graduate-level “Human Space Flight Mission Analysis and Design,” “Designing Space Missions and Systems” and “Space Mission Operations” web campus courses. Magee responds to student questions regarding course content and homework and reviews lesson materials, homework, forum posts, quizzes and other assignments for three graduate courses.

Magee also serves as the website developer and administrator supporting 10 “Teaching Science and Technology” courses. She schedules and coordinates course activities for six professors who teach short courses and workshops around the world.

Magee provides technical consulting in aerospace engineering, research and publishing, and technical editing for numerous Space Technology Series books. She develops online course content for select Space Technology Series text books to include “Human Space Flight Mission Analysis and Design,” “Applied Space Systems Engineering,” “Applied Project Management,” “Understanding Space,” “Space Mission Analysis and Design,” and “SmallSat/Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.” She is also the co-editor of new NASA- and U.S. Air Force-sponsored textbook, “Space Domain Awareness.”

Prior to this position, Magee managed missile and aircraft system wind tunnel tests at Arnold Engineering Development Center, taught in the Department of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, developed software in support of the Space Weather Rapid Prototyping Center at the Peterson Air Force Base, and developed and instructed space science material at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Magee holds a Bachelor of Science in astronautical engineering with a minor in German from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Magee holds the rank of a second-degree black belt in karate and recently became recertified in SCUBA diving. She enjoys reading, playing and coaching soccer, running, skiing, and martial arts.

Anthony Mastalski

Anthony Mastalski is a NASA Aerospace Technologist and the center agreements manager within the Partnerships and Formulation Office, Science and Technology Office, Marshall Space Flight Center. He came to NASA and Marshall in August 2012 as a team lead and strategic analyst within the Center Office for Strategy, Office of Strategic Analysis and Communication.

He is responsible for the development and implementation of Space Act Agreements (SAAs) for the large, technically diverse Marshall, maintaining more than 300 active business agreements per year while generating approximately 100 new SAAs a year. He expertly led a team managing new business/program opportunities, proposal development and partnerships for Marshall while assisting in the formulation and integration of strategic vectors for the historic space flight center.

Prior to joining NASA, Mastalski had more than 18 years of executive management and worldwide business development experience in high-technology companies. He also had experience providing sophisticated computer and communications systems and Information Technology services to U.S. federal and state agencies, commercial and defense industry contractors, as well as international programs. His applied leadership, program management expertise and business acumen produced steady sales growth and solid business foundations for fledgling high-technology enterprises, both foreign and domestic.

Mastalski also served as a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, with 12 years of progressive command and technical experience while serving in Air Defense units and for the Marine Corps Research, Development and Acquisition Command. There he provided skill and innovative technical leadership in the C4I and aerospace systems acquisition management field.

Highly successful as a project officer, Capt. Mastalski directed groundbreaking air defense and ballistic missile intercept concept development efforts. He boldly led prototype engineering, product testing and evaluation, and acquisition management within a rapidly evolving digital computing and communications environment. Concurrently, he managed large Reseach, Development, Test and Evaluation ($15 million) and procurement ($250 million) budgets that incorporated international/foreign military sales joint ventures.

Capt. Mastalski’s most notable professional experience was as a commanding officer for a surface-to-air missile battery. In 1988, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal in recognition of his leadership and service as a HAWK missile battery commander and battalion operations officer, 2nd Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps.

Mastalski has been married for nearly 40 years to Susan Thomas of Virginia. He and Sue enjoy the fruitful lives of their adult children, Matthew and Kristen. Most recently, courtesy of Matt and Ginny Mastalski, he and Sue became grandparents for the first time with the arrival of Natalia Ray Mastalski.

Dr. Nigel Packham

Dr. Packham is the Manager of the Flight Safety Office (FSO) in the JSC Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA) Directorate, which has responsibility for implementation of the Safety Technical Authority for all human spaceflight programs. Dr. Packham is also Associate Director, Technical, for the S&MA Directorate and the Deputy Technical Lead for Life Support Systems for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center. In addition, he was the Project Manager for the effort that culminated in the release of the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report.

Prior to these appointments, Dr. Packham served as the Chief of the Environmental Factors Branch of the (then) Space Life Sciences Directorate, which had responsibility for the oversight of environmental quality (water, air, microbiological, radiation and acoustics) for all for all Human Spaceflight Programs. He started his career at NASA in the Engineering Directorate working on the Space Shuttle Program, ISS, and Advanced Life Support Systems. In this position, he also served as the commander of a four-person crew that spent 91 days inside a 6-meter diameter chamber to demonstrate the capabilities of advanced systems for air, water, and waste recovery for long-duration missions.

Gordon DeRamus

Gordon DeRamus is the Science and Space Systems Assurance lead at Marshall Space Flight Center. In this role he develops aerospace system, payload, integrated and operational System Safety hazard analyses for International Space Station (ISS) systems and equipment. He also performs safety and Quality Assurance evaluations, assures proper consideration of safety in system design, monitors safety and Quality Assurance activities, and develops documents to lay out specific safety and Quality Assurance policies and procedures.

Prior to this position he was a payload safety engineer, the lead System Safety engineer for the Marshall Regenerative Environmental Control and Live Support Subsystem and Multi-Purpose Logistics Module elements, and a Safety and Mission Assurance lead engineer.

DeRamus has won a number of NASA Silver Achievement Medals, NASA Director’s Commendation Honor Awards and Safety Excellence Awards. He also won the ISS OB Outstanding Performance Award and a Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award. He was just recently presented with the Silver Snoopy for his work on the 3D Printer and the Life Science Glovebox projects

 

DeRamus has Bachelor of Science degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. DeRamus serves as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is qualified as an instructor and as a coxswain for boat crew and personal watercraft search and rescue operations.

George Gafka

George Gafka currently serves a dual role as the Chief Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Officer (CSO) and SMA Director for Exploration Systems Development (ESD), NASA’s human space exploration enterprise beyond low-Earth orbit. In this capacity, he exercises the SMA Technical Authority for ESD, which also includes the Orion spacecraft hosted at Johnson Space Center, Space Launch System heavy lift rocket hosted at Marshall Space Flight Center, and Exploration Ground Systems processing/launch facilities hosted at Kennedy Space Center.

Gafka also leads the multi-center ESD SMA team to assure ESD-wide SMA integrity. More specifically, he represents the multi-center SMA community as a voting member at ESD director-chaired control boards and flight readiness reviews. Gafka also approves the acceptability of residual catastrophic risks typically reflected in waivers and exceptions to safety requirements.

Gafka joined Johnson Space Center in 1989 as a cooperative education student. He has supported various legacy human spaceflight programs, including the Space Shuttle, X-38  International Space Station and Commercial Cargo/Crew from a number of diverse chief engineer and CSO senior leadership positions during lifecycle phases spanning from early development to real-time operations.

Gafka has a Master of Business Administration degree, a professional certificate in Aircraft Accident Investigation, a Master of Space Systems Engineering degree, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering.

When not involved with family activities and sports, Gafka holds a third-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and is a founding member and lead vocal stylist of a rock band.

Alan Phillips

Alan H. Phillips is the director of the NASA Safety Center (NSC), hosted by NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio. In this capacity, Phillips leads the agency’s support of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) organizations at each of the field centers in four areas: technical excellence, knowledge management systems, audits and assessments, and mishap investigation. The NSC is comprised of approximately 70 civil servant and support service contractors, with an annual budget in excess of $15 million.

Prior to his selection as the director of the NSC, Phillips led Langley Research Center's (LaRC) Office of SMA in Hampton, Virginia, for four years, after being accepted as a member of the Senior Executive Service. In this position, he led and managed the center's Institutional SMA programs.

From 1994 until 2002, Phillips held progressive supervisory positions, first as the head of the Facility Assurance Section and later as the safety manager at LaRC, overseeing facility systems and industrial safety and occupational health programs for the center's civil servant and contractor populations. Also during this period, Phillips managed the center's certification (and recertification) as the first federal worksite to be recognized in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program as a STAR participant, OSHA's highest level of recognition for exemplary safety and health programs.

Phillips served for seven years as a Facility Systems Safety engineer for LaRC's 8-Foot-High Temperature Tunnel Modification Project, a $25 million effort to prepare the facility for scramjet engine testing.

Phillips's five years of startup and test engineering experience in the commercial nuclear power industry was beneficial to the startup of several balance-of-plant systems, leading to successful power ascension testing of the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant in New Hill, North Carolina.

Phillips is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and is licensed as a professional engineer in North Carolina. In 1991, he earned his master's degree in engineering management from George Washington University.

Phillips is married and has three college-aged boys.

Terrence Wilcutt

Terrence Wilcutt is NASA's chief of Safety and Mission Assurance. Appointed to this role in September 2011, Wilcutt is responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of all Safety and Mission Assurance policies and procedures for all NASA programs.

Wilcutt is a retired Marine colonel and veteran astronaut who previously served as director of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA's Johnson Space Center from 2008 to 2011. In that position, Wilcutt was tasked with the Safety Technical Authority of the programs and projects at Johnson, as well as the center's Institutional Safety program.

Wilcutt joined NASA in 1990 as an astronaut candidate and was accepted into the corps in 1991. He logged more than 1,007 hours in space as the pilot on two shuttle missions, STS-68 in 1994 and STS-79 in 1996, and commander of two others, STS-89 in 1998 and STS-106 in 2000. His technical assignments as an astronaut included work on space shuttle main engine and external tank issues; supporting shuttle launches and landings as a member of the astronaut support personnel team at Kennedy Space Center; and technical issues for the Astronaut Office Operations Development Branch at Johnson.

Wilcutt also served as NASA director of operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia; and at Johnson as chief of the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch, manager of Safety and Mission Assurance for the Space Shuttle Program, and deputy director of Safety and Mission Assurance.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Wilcutt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in math from Western Kentucky University in 1974. He taught high school math for two years before entering the Marine Corps in 1976 and earned his naval aviator wings in 1978.

From 1980 until 1983, he was stationed in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and flew F-4 Phantoms during two overseas deployments to Japan, Korea and the Philippines. For the next three years, he served as an F/A-18 fighter weapons and air combat maneuvering instructor while assigned to Squadron VFA-125 at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California. From 1986 until his selection by NASA, Wilcutt attended the United States Naval Test Pilot School and served as a test pilot and project officer for the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate of the Naval Aircraft Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, flying the F/A-18 Hornet, the A-7 Corsair II, the F-4 Phantom and other aircraft. He has more than 6,600 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

Wilcutt has received numerous special honors, including NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Exceptional Service Medal and four space flight medals; the Distinguished Flying Cross; the Defense Superior Service and Meritorious Service medals; and the Navy Commendation Medal. He also has received the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award; the V.M. Komarov Diploma, Federation Aeronautique Internationale space award for outstanding achievements in space exploration; and distinguished alumnus recognition and an honorary doctorate degree from Western Kentucky University.

Wilcutt maintains offices in Houston and Washington.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly is chief of the Technical Excellence Office for the NASA Safety Center (NSC). In this role, he is responsible for planning, organizing and directing a full range of integrated services including Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) curriculums and course development. Kelly provides SMA engineering support for over 2,800 NASA civil service and support contract employees agencywide, and has released the SMA Technical Excellence Program (STEP) in 2020 program — NASA’s university for safety and mission assurance. Kelly also serves as program manager for the Executive Safety Leadership Program and Chief Safety Officers Summit.  He is located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Prior to this role, Kelly served as the SMA Technical Leadership Technical Discipline Team Lead (TDTL) and also as the Quality Engineering (QE) TDTL for the NSC. As the SMA Technical Leadership TDTL, he offered a professional development path for the SMA Technical Leadership discipline through STEP and developed and defined the role of the SMA Technical Leadership curriculum participant through professional development opportunities, collaborative events and working groups. As the QE TDTL, Kelly was responsible for the professional development of NASA’s QE workforce.

Before joining the NSC, Kelly was the assistant director of the Goddard Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) directorate in Greenbelt, Maryland. In this position, his duties included serving as the Contracting Officer Representative for the SMA Services contract and supporting both Continuity of Operations Planning and awards programs for the directorate. Kelly provided leadership as the center technical liason officer of the SMA 3 contract, which provides SMA support at supplier facilities for all Goddard projects.

Kelly spent four years as the chief of the Mission Support Division within the Goddard SMA directorate. Under his direction were the Chief SMA Officers, Reliability engineers, System Safety engineers, software Quality Assurance engineers, and Lean Six Sigma and Risk Management programs. Kelly provided SMA leadership, direction and support for all NASA Goddard programs and projects.   

Kelly also served as the chief of the Institutional Support Office within the SMA directorate at Goddard. While in this office, he provided technical leadership for multiple activities at Goddard, which included the Goddard internal auditing program, SMA directives management, mission operations assurance, on-orbit anomalies investigations and Goddard Open Learning Design rules. Also included in his duties were the development and management of the NASA Goddard Supply Chain Management Program. Kelly has visited and led in-depth AS9100 and contractual assessments at more than 70 aerospace suppliers. Kelly was the original creator of the Supply Chain Conference held each year at Goddard. 

Prior to his SMA management role, Kelly was the systems assurance manager for almost 17 years, working many Goddard projects, including the GOES Series, STEREO, SWIFT, SOLAR-B, EO-1, XTE, TRMM, ACE, TOPEX and MOLA. 

Creating a Shortcut on Your Phone

To safeguard sensitive and proprietary information, some content may only be available from inside the NASA firewall. Creating a shortcut to the Cohort Program web page on your mobile device home screen is easy. No mobile app download required!

For iPhone Users:

  1. Launch the Safari browser* on Apple’s iOS and open nsc.nasa.gov/cohort
  2. Tap the share button on the browser’s toolbar (the rectangle with an arrow pointing upward at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the Share menu
  4. Enter the name of the shortcut and press “Add”
  5. The Cohort Program icon will appear on your home screen like any other app shortcut or widget, so you can drag it around and put it wherever you like

*Due to limitations in iOS, only Apple’s Safari web browser is capable of creating this shortcut.

For Android Users:

  1. Launch Chrome for Android* and open nsc.nasa.gov/cohort
  2. Tap the menu button (three dots in the right-hand corner of the screen)
  3. Tap “Add to Home screen”
  4. Enter the name of the shortcut and press “Add”
  5. The Cohort Program icon will appear on your home screen like any other app icon, so you can drag it around and put it wherever you like

*If using Firefox for Android, first tap the menu button, choose the “Page” option and select “Add to Home Screen.”