All in the Family
Besides being sisters, Sharon Lane, Karon Buchner and Teresa Strobush have another important thing in common -- they all work at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a combined 106 years on the job.
Lane, the oldest of the three, is an operations and processing specialist in the Requirements Verification and Data Retention Department for United Space Alliance. She works in Operations Support Building II and reviews and closes work authorization documents for ground support equipment modifications. Lane worked for Federal Electric Corp. beginning in June 1971, and then moved to Computer Science Corp., Grumman, Lockheed and Lockheed Martin through contract transitions, before settling in with USA.
Lane said one of the challenges of her job is staying focused on the importance of safety first, meeting schedules, but never forgetting that lives and hardware depend on following set procedures. "For 38 years I've been part of making history," Lane said. "I'm literally doing what others dream."
Lane said their father worked at Cape Kennedy, before it was Kennedy Space Center, as a firefighter. "I was always fascinated by his job. As long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be here.
"We hardly see each other, but just knowing they are not far away is very comforting, and if we need each other, we're there," Lane said. She described a time when her sister, Buchner, was attending a meeting in her building and they walked outside to see the shuttle landing. "It struck me then that of all the time we have worked at the center, this was the first time we had ever been together to view any of the launch or landing activities," Lane said.
Buchner is a program analyst for NASA in the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate. She is the Kennedy budget manager for Ares I-X. During her junior year in high school, she had the opportunity to join NASA as part of the Stay in School Program. After graduation, she was offered a full-time job. "I loved being part of the team making the space exploration dream come alive," Buchner said. "I worked full time and went to school at night to get a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems."
She said the best part of her job is seeing a project from development through implementation. "One of the challenges is being able to find ways to mitigate the never-ending budget challenges," Buchner said.
The youngest of the three, Strobush works in the Business Office of the Information Technology and Communications Services Directorate. She started working at Kennedy when she was 15 through a school work program, with her parents' permission. "I thought it was a great opportunity. I saw that my sisters were enjoying their work with the space program," Strobush said.
One of the best parts of her job is being able to help workers get the materials they need to do their jobs and meet their milestones. "It's nice to have someone you love close to you all the time," Strobush added. "It's nice to have your big sisters here for support, when needed."
Strobush said she's looking forward to the U.S. going back to the moon. "I was a little young when we did it the first time, so it would be great to be able to support the program to get us there again.
"Our mom was very proud of all of us working and making a difference in the space program," Strobush said.
"I hope the Constellation program will be a major leap in learning about our universe and I hope I get a chance to be a part of that contribution to science," Lane said.
Buchner hopes the government will continue to see the many benefits NASA has provided and will continue to fund the space exploration dream. "With the transition from shuttle to Constellation, Kennedy has critical skills, processes and facilities to support more than just operations," Buchner said. "Kennedy can continue to provide support to development, fabrication and implementation of the new program."
Other family members at the center included Lane's husband, Skip, who retired after 38 years; their sister-in-law, Debbie Hamm, who worked as a buyer for the NASA Exchange for 18 years; Robbie Watts, who worked for USA; Jennifer (Buchner) Watts, Jason Buchner and Shawn Hamm.
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center