EDWARDS, Calif. - Two employees of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have been honored by NASA's Space Flight Awareness program for their contributions to excellence in quality and safety in support of human spaceflight.
Dennis Avila, a program manager with Lockheed Martin under contract to NASA Dryden and Michael A. Collie, a lead quality assurance specialist at NASA Dryden, were among civil service and contractor employees from throughout the agency who were honored during ceremonies Jan. 27 at the Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The awards were presented by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Greg Williams, NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
Avila, a resident of Lancaster and 40-year veteran of the aerospace industry, was honored for his exemplary leadership and management of space shuttle landing and post-flight technical support and shuttle retirement and transition activities at NASA Dryden. He was cited for his work in retaining a cadre of trained, certified and competent technicians who maintained space shuttle ground support, navigation and visual landing equipment, as well as keeping them focused on being ready to support potential shuttle landing and post-flight activities during the winding down of the shuttle program in 2009-2011.
Collie was honored for providing exemplary quality assurance support to NASA's Human Space Flight Program during assignments with the Defense Contract Management Agency, NASA's Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers and Dryden Flight Research Center from 1997 through the conclusion of the shuttle program, including detail assignments at the Rockwell / Boeing facility in Palmdale and Rocketdyne in Canoga Park. His citation noted that Collie's "outstanding contributions to the space shuttle orbiter fleet, the X-38 crew return vehicle and the Orion abort flight test program are true examples of his commitment to quality in assuring safety of flight and mission success."
In recognition of their space flight program contributions, Avila and many of the other honorees toured NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and participated in activities during the Jan. 30 launch of NASA's next-generation TDRS-K communications satellite, the latest spacecraft in the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System. TDRS is a constellation of space-based communication satellites providing tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services.
NASA's Space Flight Awareness Program recognizes outstanding job performances and contributions by civil service and contractor employees throughout the year and focuses on excellence in quality and safety in support of human spaceflight. Recipients must have contributed beyond their normal work requirements toward achieving a particular human spaceflight program goal; contributed to a major cost savings; been instrumental in developing material that increases reliability, efficiency or performance; assisted in operational improvements; or been a key player in developing a beneficial process improvement.
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