NASA Marshall Center’s Frank Six Receives Wernher Von Braun Aerospace Educator Award for Contribution to Education
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Dr. Frank Six, assistant manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., recently was honored with the Dr. Wernher von Braun Aerospace Educator Award for his outstanding contribution to Alabama aerospace education.
The award was established in 1996 by the National Space Club, a nonprofit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and a continuing program of educational support.
Six was presented the award Oct. 26 at the 23rd Annual Dr. Wernher von Braun Memorial Dinner at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville. The event honors the memory of von Braun -- renowned rocket scientist and the Marshall Center's first director – and recognizes individuals and groups who personify his ideals and vision. Honorees have made significant achievements in advancing space exploration, or have contributed to America's leadership in rocketry and astronautics.
Six, a native of Tampa, Fla., has been assistant manager of Marshall’s Academic Affairs Office since 2008. He manages Marshall’s NASA Academy, Robotics Academy and Propulsion Academy projects, which provide hands-on research internships at Marshall for students across the United States.
He also has served as Marshall’s university affairs officer since 2006, responsible for university internships, graduate fellowships, minority university research and other education initiatives. Six is responsible for two of Marshall’s student competitions – the NASA Student Launch Initiative and the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race.
The launch competition challenges high school and university students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The moonbuggy race encourages students to think like NASA engineers as they design, build and race lightweight, human-powered buggies.
Six designed and initiated the moonbuggy race in 1994 with the help of professors from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Auburn University as part of the 25th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. The widely popular competition drew 850 students to Huntsville for the 2010 race, including teams from four countries.
Six started his career at the Marshall Center in 1962 as a contractor, supporting the Space Science Laboratory. He accepted a position in 1966 at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and worked as a professor and chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy until 1983. He rejoined the Marshall Center in 1986 as a visiting scientist. He has held several positions throughout his NASA career, including manager of the Space Science Department and the Earth and Space Science Laboratory at the National Space Science and Technology Center. He facilitated research in high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, space and planetary science and Earth science. Six also was deputy project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1992, he designed and administered the JOVE program – a joint venture between NASA and 132 universities in which select faculty members worked with scientists and engineers at 10 NASA field centers in the areas of research, outreach and education.
Six holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Florida and the University of California, Los Angeles.
He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Special Service Award in 2006 for scientific leadership and strong advocacy of NASA’s exploration initiative, and several group achievement and performance awards.
He and his wife, Patricia Six, reside in Huntsville. They have six children and eight grandchildren. › Photo
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