Kennedy Biographies


G. Thomas Pentrack
Former Deputy Director for Operations and Exploration
International Space Station/Payload Processing

G. Thomas Pentrack was deputy director of International Space Station/Payload Processing at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Pentrack joined NASA in 1989 after working as an aerospace design and development engineer in industry for three years. Between 1989 and 1996, he held several positions of increasing responsibility in the Space Shuttle Operations Directorate, including Vehicle Assembly Building site operations manager, shuttle payload operations lead, vehicle integration test team member representing astronaut flight crews, and NASA test director.

In 1996, Pentrack transitioned to the Space Station Hardware Integration Office (SSHIO) as an operations engineer. He was assigned to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. Laboratory "Destiny" module, which was being manufactured in Huntsville, Ala. There, he was responsible for overseeing assembly operations, acceptance/qualification testing, and acceptance and delivery to the Kennedy Space Center.

In 1998, Pentrack became the Multi-Element Integration Testing (MEIT) Branch chief. He led a large multi-center, multi-agency, and multi-national test team comprised of international partner engineers, ISS Program engineers, and contractor hardware development engineers that reduced technical ISS on-orbit risk by demonstrating end-to-end performance, interoperability, and compatibility on the ground. His team was responsible for the all aspects of testing, including flight software and hardware configuration, ground support equipment readiness and operations, control rooms, and checkout systems.

From 2000 through 2001, Pentrack served as Technical Committee chairperson of the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) Source Evaluation Board. He was responsible for leading a team of payload processing engineering experts through contract acquisition strategy development and evaluation during the recompetition of the ISS and Payload Processing Operations Contract. After contract award, Pentrack led the directorate's technical transition to the new contract to ensure continued safe and effective processing.

In September 2001, Pentrack served as Integration Engineering Branch chief, and was then named Engineering Division chief in January 2004. In these roles, he led a large group of contractor and government engineers that were responsible for ISS flight element processing, testing, and preparations for launch. After the Columbia accident, Pentrack served as the directorate's management representative to the Columbia recovery efforts, the reconstruction, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) and Return to Flight.

In February 2005, Pentrack accepted a remote assignment at NASA Headquarters to represent KSC on the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Systems Engineering and Integration procurement development team and source evaluation board. He chaired the Design, Development, Test and Evaluation Committee, comprised of engineers from multiple centers, tasked with defining requirements and acquisition strategies for the integration contract. Pentrack also served as deputy program manager for Launch Vehicles in the Constellation Project Office at NASA Headquarters. There, he was responsible for developing initial acquisition strategies and resource requirements for new launch vehicle development needed for Exploration.

Since September 2005, Pentrack serves as deputy director for Operations and Exploration in the ISS/Payload Processing Directorate. He is responsible for launch site ground processing of the International Space Station and shuttle payloads and overall strategic planning for Constellation support. He is responsible for long-range multi-year work plans of the subordinate divisions and offices and provides direction to the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) operations contractor.

Pentrack has received numerous group achievement and performance awards, including NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2003 for his outstanding leadership in the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) Source Evaluation Board and was recognized as a Spaceflight Awareness Launch Honoree in 2004 for his leadership during the Columbia Return-to-Flight activities.

Born in Johnstown, Pa., he graduated in 1982 from Blairsville High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering in 1986 from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in engineering management in 1992 from the University of Central Florida.

Pentrack wa married and had two children. He succumbed to cancer in November 2009.

May 2010

Biographies - Current Employees