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Astronaut and former Kepler mission science office director Janice Voss inspects a printout depicting the star field as seen through Kepler's eyes.
Image credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart NASA astronaut Janice Voss passed away Feb. 6, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer. One of only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss' career was highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and exploration. She was 55.
Voss spent the majority of her career at NASA in the astronaut program. However, from 2004 to 2007, Voss served as the science office director for the Kepler mission at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.
In her role, Voss was responsible for coordinating science activities for the Kepler mission. In particular, Voss was responsible for coordinating the efforts to generate the Kepler target catalog, an extensive pre-launch ground survey of the space telescope's field-of-view for stars similar to the sun.
Voss also helped establish the original guest observer office and in the planning of the follow-up observation program for the mission.
"Janice had tremendous passion about her work and her personal interests," said Marcie Smith, Kepler mission director at Ames. "She always thoroughly researched the task at hand to arrive at the best logical decision. She loved to encourage interest in Kepler and the manned space program with public talks and lectures."
Voss will be remembered for the team spirit she brought from her days in the Astronaut Office. One such instance was a suggestion that the Kepler managers buy ribbons to distribute among the team in appreciation of individual contributions. These ribbons can be seen pinned to the walls of the Kepler team members today in recognition of their work.
"Whenever anyone mentioned a science fiction story, Janice would pull out a small notebook that she carried to see if she had already read the story," recalls Kepler principal investigator William Borucki at Ames. "If she hadn't read the story, it would quickly be added to her list to read."
Voss began her career with NASA in 1973 while a student at Purdue University. After completing her doctorate in 1987, she worked within the aerospace industry until she was selected as an astronaut in 1990.
Voss' first spaceflight mission was STS-57 in 1993, followed by STS-63 in 1995 and STS-83 and STS-94, both in 1997. Her last mission was STS-99 in 2000. In total, Voss spent more than 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits.
For Voss' complete biography, please visit: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/voss-jan.html