Catherine Watson March 1, 1995
TRIO OF WICHITA STATE GRADS WORKS IN MISSION CONTROLThree Wichita State University graduates will be working together in NASA's Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during the upcoming space shuttle mission, STS-67, scheduled to launch March 2.
All three of the former Wheatshockers are veterans of Mission Control duty, but this is the first mission on which all three will be working simultaneously.
Stan Schaefer will work as the Guidance, Navigation and Control Officer, monitoring all of Endeavour's guidance systems.
Becky Swanson will serve as the Payloads Officer, coordinating the onboard and ground system interfaces between the flight control team, the astronauts on- board, and scientists on the ground.
Catherine Watson will act as Public Affairs Officer, providing commentary to supplement and explain air-to-ground transmissions to the news media and the public on NASA Television.
The STS-67 mission is dedicated to the study of the mysteries of ultraviolet radiation emanating from distant galactic objects through an astronomy payload called ASTRO-2. In addition, Endeavour's crew of seven will work with a Middeck Active Control Experiment collecting data on the vibrations imparted on space-based structures to help engineers to design sturdy, vibration-resistant components for the International Space Station; a handheld radio experiment, an Australian astronomy experiment, and several protein crystal growth experiments.
Schaefer, 31, who graduated from WSU in 1987 with a bachelor's in aeronautical engineering, began working at JSC through a cooperative education program where he became the first WSU student to coop at NASA. He completed four work tours at JSC from 1984 to 1986; and upon graduation, accepted a full-time job in JSC's Mission Operations Directorate.
The 1981 Derby High School graduate now heads the Space Shuttle Guidance and Control Systems Section, leading its 14 members and overseeing its projects. He has trained and certified at all of the five G&C; console positions and has worked 10 missions in the most challenging slot, the launch and entry GNC Officer.
On the STS-67 mission, he will be working one of the orbit shifts, monitoring Endeavour and its crew and troubleshooting any failures that develop. In particular, he will be assisting in the operations of the Instrument Pointing System, a high-accuracy platform equipped with astronomical telescopes.
Schaefer, the son of Marlin and Janet Schaefer of Derby, is married to a former Derby resident, Suzanne Uher. They have one son, Karl (2 1/2 yrs) and are expecting another child in September.
Swanson, who graduated from WSU in 1988 with a bachelor's in computer engineering, began working in JSC's Payloads Operations Branch shortly after graduation. She has trained and certified at all of the three payloads console positions and has worked seven missions. STS-67 will be her third flight as a Payloads Officer and her first opportunity to lead a 16-member payloads team.
During the past year, she has concentrated on integrating the STS-67 payloads operations, contingency procedures, payload constraints and payload safety constraints into mission activities.
The former WSU volleyball player and assistant coach graduated from Wichita East High School in 1983. She is the daughter of Dan and Edith Richardson of Hutchinson, Kan., and is married to John Swanson. They have two daughters-- Lauren, 3, and Allie, 21 months.
Humphries, who earned a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's degree in Public Administration at WSU in 1980 and 1986, joined JSC as a Presidential Management Intern. Since 1988, he has worked in JSC's Public Affairs Office as editor of the weekly center newspaper, the Space News Roundup, and as an internal communications and computer networking
specialist. He is now team leader for information services in the Education and Information Services Branch.
Humphries has supported Shuttle flights in Mission Control since 1989, serving as "the voice of Mission Control" on numerous missions and as lead commentator on both of the recent Space Radar Laboratory missions that included radar imaging of Kansas and Oklahoma. The 38-year-old Wichita native is a 1974 graduate of North High School and the son of Kathleen Kelly Whalen of Newton.
Editors note: Photographs are available on request from the JSC Still Photo Library at 713-483-4231.
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