Charles A. Abner
Shuttle Chief Engineer
Charles A. Abner is the shuttle chief engineer of the Engineering Directorate at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is responsible for all engineering aspects related to processing flight hardware elements and facility/ground support equipment and for the integration of technical decisions made by both engineering and management personnel before and during launch. He makes engineering recommendations for final "go/no go" launch decisions. As the launch vehicle processing technical authority, he chairs the Shuttle Engineering and Risk Review Boards.
Abner joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in 1967 as an Apollo spacecraft ground station system engineer. He served as an Apollo spacecraft ground station manager until joining the Air Force in 1968. In 1974, he returned to the Kennedy Space Center and joined the launch processing system team to build the space shuttle test and checkout hardware and software. During the early space shuttle flights, he supervised teams responsible for the development of ground launch sequence software and the ground application software. In 1984, he was assigned a NASA excepted position to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to help manage the construction and development of the space shuttle Vandenberg launch site. He served as chief of the Shuttle Project Engineering Division until 1987 while building a joint NASA and Air Force shuttle launch team.
Returning to the Kennedy Space Center, Abner held a supervisory position in the Shuttle Engineering Directorate until becoming the launch team shuttle project engineer from 1991 to 1997. In this position, he provided engineering integration to the space shuttle launch team for 47 missions. He received the NASA Exceptional Service Award in 1993. In 1997, he was assigned to the position of assistant launch director, responsible for assisting with the management and technical direction of the shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center.
Born in Jesup, Ga., Abner earned his bachelor's degree in math at the Georgia Southern University in 1967. He earned an additional degree in physics and has obtained post-graduate credits in space technology at Florida Institute of Technology. He served five and a half years of active duty in the United States Air Force from 1968 to 1974 and remained in the United States Air Force Reserves for an additional 16 years, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. While in the Air Force, he served as a pilot flying strategic and combat military airlift worldwide.
Abner and his wife Nancy live in Titusville and have three adult children.
Biographies - Current Employees