Kennedy Biographies

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Hortense Blackwell Burt
Teacher and Student Programs Lead
Education Programs and University Research Division
External Relations

Hortense Blackwell Burt is currently the Teacher and Student Programs Lead within the External Relations Directorate's Education Programs and University Research Division at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida. She also has a collateral role as the Centers Alternate Ombudsman.

Burt is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. She began her career in 1983 in Indian Head, Maryland, at the Naval Ordnance Station for the U.S. Navy. There she worked as a project engineer and was responsible for the design, test, technical operations, and logistical support for Naval aircrew escape propulsion system devices.

In 2000, Burt joined NASA as a flight assurance manager in the Expendable Launch Vehicles Safety and Flight Assurance Office where she was responsible for developing and implementing flight assurance activities. She was the Mission Assurance Manager on both Mars Exploration Rover Missions A and B and the Deep Impact missions.

As a spaceport manager, assigned to the Air Force/NASA Cape Canaveral Spaceport Joint Planning and Customer Service Office, Burt was responsible for implementing the 45th Space Wing's vision of the "one-stop shop," developed to ensure outstanding spaceport support to the Department of Defense, NASA, and commercial launch industry programs. In this position, Burt served as the customer's advocate and primary point of contact for obtaining necessary spaceport support.

In 1991, she transferred to the Eastern Space and Missile Center (now designated the 45th Space Wing) and became a system safety engineer working to resolve all safety issues related to the Delta space launch rocket. In 1992, Burt was promoted to the position of program safety manager and lead engineer for all Delta launches from Cape Canaveral AFS. Her duties included leading and directing a team of safety engineers, who were responsible for all aspects of safety engineering from preliminary design concepts through vehicle erection and preparation for launch.

In 1989, Burt accepted a position with the U. S. Air Force and relocated to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (AFS) in Florida. She was assigned to the 6555th Aerospace Test Group's Medium Launch Vehicle Division (now designated the 1st Space Launch Squadron). As part of the space commercialization program, she was the vehicle and lead engineer for all commercial Delta II space launch vehicles. In this role, she ensured the contractor used government approved test procedures and was cognizant of all daily vehicle testing, handling, and anomaly resolution. On launch day, as the booster countdown controller, she polled the Air Force team and provided the Air Force launch site director the final "go" for launch.

Burt is a native Texan, and she and her children (James, Bobby and Afton) currently reside in Titusville, Fla. She is a member and actively involved in both St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She enjoys working with children, reading, exercising, shopping and traveling with her children.

May 2006

Biographies - Current Employees