NASA flight systems engineer Terrie M. Gardner 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. Gardner was honored in the professional category.
Gardner works in technical management within a division of the Marshall Engineering Directorate's Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department. From August 2012 to August 2013, she was the review director for the Space Launch System Preliminary Design Review -- a newly completed milestone which validates the detailed design and integration of NASA's next-generation heavy-lift launch vehicle and ensures the program -- pending agency approval -- is ready to begin implementation for the first full-scale test flight in 2017.
"It has been a pleasure, as Terrie's supervisor and mentor, to see her continually accept greater responsibilities, expanding her expertise in the process," said Dr. Vernotto McMillan, chief of the Technical Management Branch and Gardner's supervisor. "Her commitment to engineering excellence and dedication to the NASA mission have helped to greatly improve the quality of engineering products developed within our branch."
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.
Gardner and two other honorees received their awards July 30 during the annual NASA/Marshall Honor Awards ceremony recognizing those who made significant achievements to NASA's mission and the work of the center over the previous 12 or more months.
Beginning her NASA career in 1990 as a materials engineer, Gardner spent the next 16 years performing materials, selection and control duties for mission-critical activities in support of Marshall-managed science hardware and systems. These included the Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched to space in 1999 to conduct X-ray studies of the cosmos; the Environmental Control and Life Support System, the International Space Station's regenerative, cost-saving life support hardware; and the Materials Science Research Rack, enabling intensive study of metals, ceramics, glasses, crystals and other materials in the space station's microgravity environment.
Gardner led the Environmental Test Integration Group which spent 2007-2008 assessing materials and processes facility capabilities, and coordinating project test schedules for the Constellation Program. From 2008 to 2011, she was lead test integrator for Ares upper-stage integrated thermal testing, serving as liaison between project and engineering product teams around the nation. After completing that work, she transitioned smoothly to support development of the Space Launch System, coordinating preparations for the combined System Requirements Review and System Definition Review beginning in spring 2012 -- for which she acted as deputy review director.
A native of Scottsboro, Ala., Gardner received an associate's degree in science from Northeast Alabama State Community College in Rainsville, Ala., in 1987. She earned a bachelor's degree in materials engineering at the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1990, and a master's degree in engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1999. She is completing coursework for a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering at Mississippi State University in Starkville.
During her NASA career, Gardner has received numerous awards and honors. She received a Marshall Center Director's Commendation Award in 2013 -- the highest award given at the center for Space Launch System technical review planning. In 2003, the NASA Astronaut Corps presented her with the Silver Snoopy, an honor given to just 1 percent of the agency's workforce in recognition of outstanding contribution to America's human spaceflight program. Gardner also has received six performance awards, 10 group achievement awards for vital contributions to various engineering projects and programs and numerous team and peer awards.
Gardner resides in East Limestone County with her daughter, Rachel Rice.
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