NASA employee Gail H. Gordon has received a Federal Women's Program Outstanding Achievement Award from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
The honor, which commemorates Women's Equality Day, recognizes outstanding achievement and exceptional service to the Marshall Center and to NASA's mission. Awards are presented in three categories -- professional, administrative and supervisory. Gordon was honored in the supervisory category.
Gordon is the branch chief of the Materials Test Branch of the Marshall Center's Materials and Processes Laboratory, a key facility within the center's Engineering Directorate. Since 1990, she has served in a number of successive leadership roles in the laboratory.
"Gail Gordon has long been instrumental to her branch and to the entire Materials and Processes Laboratory team," said Wendell Colberg, director of the laboratory and Gordon's supervisor. "Her diligence and inspiration have ensured timely completion of complex tasks supporting the Space Launch System, the International Space Station, NASA's commercial partners and other customers. I'm very proud of her sustained, positive impact on the laboratory and on the Marshall Center."
Women's Equality Day, celebrated each Aug. 26 by presidential proclamation, honors certification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 26, 1920, granting women the right to vote.
Gordon and two other honorees received their awards July 30 during the annual NASA/Marshall Honor Awards ceremony, recognizing those who made significant contributions to NASA's mission and the work of the center over the previous 12 or more months.
Beginning her NASA career in 1980 as a materials engineer, Gordon has assisted with and led numerous investigations and planning efforts, conducting more than 19,000 chemical and mechanical tests to ensure NASA launches and flies the safest, most cost-efficient vehicles and hardware possible.
Throughout her career, she has provided materials support for high-profile, mission-critical programs and projects at Marshall and other NASA centers and industry partners, most recently contributing her expertise to the J-2X engine development effort. The J-2X, an update of the powerful engine that helped lift NASA's Saturn V rockets to the moon, is part of NASA's Space Launch System Program, set to deliver a next-generation launch vehicle and all associated elements to lift new exploration missions beyond Earth orbit.
In 1982, Gordon was part of the process engineering team that conducted an evaluation of techniques and processes available to refurbish aluminum hardware on the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters that was less invasive and would not damage the hardware during refurbishment. She provided hands-on demonstration of proposed testing techniques, evaluated resulting test data and helped guide process development and standardization of the chosen, soft-abrasive procedure, walnut hull blasting -- an environmentally friendly technique offering uniform delivery.
A native of Limestone County, Ala., Gordon received a bachelor's degree in zoology and chemistry from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville in 1974, and a master's degree in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne in 1985.
During her NASA career, she has received numerous awards and honors. Among them are a Marshall Center Director's Commendation, presented in 1989 for her contributions to the nation’s space program, and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals in 1991 and 2013 -- awarded to civil-service employees for sustained performance and multiple contributions to NASA programs, projects or initiatives. She received a Marshall "Caring in Action" award in 2010, presented by the center's Safety & Mission Assurance Directorate for recognizing the need to provide specific work accommodations for a disabled Marshall team member. In 1990, she received the Federal Women’s Program Outstanding Women Achievers Award, in the category of Science and Engineering, for highly effective leadership and significant technical accomplishments in Marshall's Productivity Enhancement Complex. She also is the recipient of numerous Marshall Center Group Achievement awards, certificates of appreciation and special service awards, and she is a founding member of Alabama A&M University's Mechanical Engineering Industry and Government Advisory Board.
Gordon and her husband Maurice reside in Madison, Ala. They have a daughter, Danielle, who lives and works in Montgomery, Ala.
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