Meet the STS-127 Launch Team

Launch Team members share the responsibility and excitement of launching space shuttle missions. They report to their respective computer or communication consoles following the "call to stations" for the final countdown. Many of the consoles are located in the firing rooms in Kennedy's Launch Control Center, next door to the Vehicle Assembly Building in Launch Complex 39. Below are some of the key members with descriptions of their responsibilities during the events that lead up to the liftoff of a space shuttle.

Michael P. Moses Michael P. Moses, Pre-Flight Mission Management Team Chairman
Moses shares mission management team responsibilities with the In-Flight Mission Management Team Chairman. He reports directly to the Space Shuttle Program manager and assists with the overall management, integration and operations of the Space Shuttle Program.



Pete Nickolenko Pete Nickolenko, Shuttle Launch Director
Nickolenko polls the payload manager, the shuttle engineering director, the launch weather officer and the director of safety to get a launch consensus, and verifies that the test and mission management team directors are in agreement. The launch director is responsible for making the final "go/no-go" decision to proceed with the launch.


Steve Payne Steve Payne, NASA Test Director
Payne leads the shuttle test team responsible for directing and integrating all flight crew, orbiter, external tank/solid rocket booster and ground support testing throughout the shuttle launch countdown. The test director also is responsible for the safety of all personnel inside the pad after external tank loading, including the flight crew. He reports to the launch director.


Charlie Blackwell-Thompson Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Assistant Test Director
Blackwell-Thompson is responsible for management of the launch team and launch procedure for the terminal countdown in support of the test director's duties, including management of the countdown clock with the ground launch sequencer operator, and management of any special crews sent to the pad for major issues or emergencies.


Shannon Bartell Shannon Bartell, Director of Safety and Mission Assurance
Bartell is the advisory member to the mission management team and is responsible for reviewing the rationale in decision-making, ensuring that dissenting opinions are encouraged, and for calling on additional resources to respond to short turnaround issues.



Kathy Winters Kathy Winters, Launch Weather Officer
Winters monitors weather conditions from the Morrell Operations Center on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and evaluates range and shuttle weather launch commit criteria. She is in constant contact with the launch director and landing recovery director during the countdown, and contacted by the launch director during the final launch poll.


NASA insignia Dana Hutcherson, Endeavour Flow Director
Hutcherson is responsible for space shuttle Endeavour's integration, scheduling and conduct of the orbiter's processing operations, and launch countdown.




Scott Higginbotham Scott Higginbotham, Mission Manager
Higginbotham leads the team of engineers and technicians that assemble and test the payloads that are flying on mission STS-127, acting as the primary interface with the payload customers and solving any technical issues that may arise with any of the hardware.