For release: 05/15/03
Release #: 03-077
Three-time Space Shuttle astronaut and engineer Dr. Jan Davis is the recipient of the 2003 Norm Augustine award. The director of Flight Projects at the Marshall Center was selected for her passionate communication of the excitement and wonders of space exploration and engineering.Photo: Davis (NASA/MSFC)
Three-time Space Shuttle astronaut and engineer Dr. Jan Davis has received a national award for her passionate communication of the excitement and wonders of space exploration and engineering.
As director of the Flight Projects Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Davis leads a team of engineers and scientists pioneering science operations onboard the International Space Station, as well as other space projects. She also spends a great deal of time communicating the excitement of the construction of the Space Station-the world's most unique space laboratory.
The American Association of Engineering Societies recently presented Davis with the Norm Augustine Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communications, citing her as a rare individual who can speak with passion about engineering so the public has a better understanding of engineering and a better appreciation for how engineers improve our quality of life.
Established in 1998, the award bears the name of one of the greatest leaders in the engineering profession, Augustine, who served as the first president of Lockheed Martin Corp. when it was formed in 1995, and later became chief executive officer, vice chairman, and chairman of the firm. He retired in 1997.
Davis, who oversees more than 1,400 civil service and contract workers, leads a directorate responsible for payload and science operations for the Space Station, training crews to operate Space Station science experiments and operating the control center for those experiments.
Other support provided by her directorate for the Space Station includes production of eight EXPRESS racks to house experiments, as well as design and production of the Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System, which provides the Station crew with a comfortable environment in which to live and work.
Her directorate also oversees Nodes 2 and 3 — Space Station connectors for international laboratories in space — and three Multipurpose Logistics Modules, or "moving vans," that will carry laboratory racks via the Space Shuttle to and from the Station. The directorate is also responsible for the Chandra X-ray Observatory Program Office, overseeing operations of the world's most powerful X-ray telescope.
Davis, who grew up and went to school in Huntsville, began her career at the Marshall Center in 1979 as an aerospace engineer. She worked on several major NASA programs and projects, including Hubble Space Telescope and its later servicing mission, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Shuttle. Selected to join the astronaut corps in 1987, she spent more than 670 hours in space over the course of her three Shuttle flights.
In 1998, Davis became director of the Human Exploration and Development of Space Independent Assurance Office for NASA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., providing safety oversight for all human space flight programs. She returned to Marshall in 1999 as deputy director of the Flight Projects Directorate and was named director of the directorate in January 2001.
Davis, a 1971 graduate of Huntsville High School, earned a bachelor's degree in applied biology in 1975 at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1977 from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering in 1983 and 1985, respectively, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In 2001, she was elected to both the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.
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