July 24, 1998
John Ira Petty
Johnson Space Center, Texas
The Missions Operation Directorate at the Johnson Space Center has named four new flight directors for future assignments in the Mission Control Center.
The four new flight directors, all former flight controllers, are Kelly Beck, LeRoy Cain, John Curry and Richard LaBrode.
Beck is from Cahokia, Ill. She holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Parks College of St. Louis University and a master’s in physical sciences from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Beck, 31, has been a part of the space program for almost 10 years, first as a government contractor and more recently as a NASA /JSC employee.
Before being selected as flight director, she supported numerous space shuttle missions, 16 of them as a guidance and procedures officer responsible for the onboard guidance and navigation.
Cain joined Rockwell Shuttle Operations Co. at JSC in 1988. He became a NASA/JSC employee in 1991. Before being appointed a flight director he served as a guidance, navigation and control (GNC) officer for numerous space shuttle missions, including 14 flights as the ascent/entry GNC officer. More recently he served as the group lead for the Ascent/Entry Guidance & Procedures Group, overseeing the preflight and real-time operations and support responsibilities of the guidance and procedures officers. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Cain, 34, holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University in Ames.
Curry is from Albuquerque, N.M. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M. Curry, whose NASA career began in 1987, served as a flight planner on 18 space shuttle missions, four of them as lead flight activities officer. In April 1997, Curry, 33, transferred to the Operations Liaison Office and supported Mike Foale’s Mir/NASA-5 mission as one of the NASA operations leads in the Russian mission control center outside Moscow.
Four months later, Curry was named lead for NASA’s International Space Station mission operations in Russia. He will remain in that position until completion of the STS-88 mission, the first shuttle launch of an International Space Station component, now set for December.
LaBrode, 36, was born in Orleans, France but grew up in St. Louis, Mo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
A 13-year veteran of the space program, LaBrode began as a contractor employee and served as a flight controller in the Communications Group. He is a veteran of 51 space shuttle missions, 31 of which he supported as an instrumentation and communications officer. He became a NASA civil servant when he was selected as a flight director.
Working in the Mission Control Center, a flight director has overall responsibility for the management and execution of a space flight.
In addition to duties performed during a mission, a flight director leads and orchestrates premission planning and integration activities with flight controllers, payload customers, International Space Station partners, and others who support the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.
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