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NASA Honors 13 Ames Employees with Silver Snoopy Awards
Silver Snoopy award winners Click image for full resolution.
Left to right back row, astronaut Stephen Robinson, David Saunders, ERC, Inc., Nichole Rayl, NASA, Kevin Sato, Lockheed Martin Space OPNS, Karin Perkins, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, David Heathcote, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Marianne Steele, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, and astronaut Megan Mc Arthur. Left to right front row, Louie Luzod, NASA, and Kenny Vassigh, NASA. Not shown are Paula Dumars, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Joseph Lavelle, NASA and Jeremy Frank, NASA.

Image credit: NASA/Dominic Hart
Thirteen NASA Ames Research Center employees, including eight from the Space Biosciences Division, recently received the prestigious 2010 Silver Snoopy award for their outstanding work and professional dedication.

Award recipients included Paula M. Dumars, David Heathcote, Louie Luzod, Karin Perkins, Nicole Rayl, Kevin Sato, Marianne Steele and Kenny Vassigh of the Space Biosciences Division; Jeremy Frank of the Intelligent Systems Division; Joseph Lavelle of the Engineering Systems Division; Donovan Mathias of the NASA Advaced Supercomputing Division; David Saunders of the Aerothermodynamics Branch; and Niki Werkheiser, also of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division. Astronauts Megan McArthur and Stephen Robinson presented the awards during a ceremony held in April.

The Ames Space Biosciences Division has been studying biology in space for more than four decades, and the eight award recipients from the division have been critical to a series of successful flight experiments on the International Space Station, space shuttle and the Russian Bion/Foton spacecraft.

Luzod, an aerospace engineer, Rayl, science project manager, and Vassigh, mission operations integration manager, were honored for their outstanding work and dedication to the Human Spaceflight Program science experiments.

"We have an exceptional team at Ames, who are the world's best at conducting biological research in space. I'm very proud, but not surprised, that so many from our group are being honored,” said Sid Sun, chief of the Space Biosciences Division.

Lockheed Martin contractors Paula Dumars, project scientist; David Heathcote, project operations lead; Karin Perkins, science payload logistics lead; Kevin Sato, project scientist; and Marianne Steele, project scientist were honored for their exceptional contributions to the Human Spaceflight Program. Their “can do” attitude, dedication to performing the best science possible, and flawless logistics planning and execution has ensured successful space life science experiments.

"We are proud to have so many Lockheed Martin personnel recognized for this prestigious award. It reflects the dedication and expertise these individuals bring every day to ensure mission success for Ames and the STS and ISS programs, and we appreciate the customer's recognition of these achievements," said Sharad Bhaskaran, program manager.

Lavelle, project manager and lead engineer of the Ames 3D Vision Lab, was honored for outstanding technical direction and leadership in developing the Mold Impression Laser Tool (MILT) which has significantly advanced safety inspection methodology for the space shuttle and increased human safety in space. Lavelle and his co-workers developed a set of 3D imaging instruments and systems that detect and measure flaws on the space shuttle thermal protection system.

Saunders, a contractor with ELORET Corp. and ERC, Inc., was honored for writing numerous codes to streamline the often tedious and time consuming task of running and analyzing high fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, thus greatly reducing the turnaround time, stress, and human errors associated with running CFD simulations. His software tools are now frequently used by the mission support team to create grids that model damages on the space shuttle; to extract surface and boundary layer properties from CFD solutions; and to automate the steps involved in running missing heat tiles or protruding gap filler simulations.

Frank was honored in recognition of his substantial contributions to the advancement of technologies supporting human and robotic space exploration. His efforts have not only identified key technology needs, but also made great strides in developing and demonstrating those technologies in relevant operational environments.

Mathias was honored for advancing the safety, reliability, and mission success of the Human Spaceflight Program by pioneering the development and implementation of Engineering Risk Assessment (ERA). This innovative approach extends traditional risk assessment techniques to explicitly include physics of failure and simulation methods, identify key risk-drivers, and provide analysis-based guidance for risk-informed design decisions. Through his exemplary dedication and leadership, he has effectively implemented these capabilities to enhance the impact of NASA's core safety efforts, and expanded NASA’s recognition of the benefits of utilizing ERA to improve crew safety for future space flight programs.

Werkheiser has made a number of significant contributions to ensure the safety and reliability of human space¬flight. As a direct result of her tireless commitment and exceptional leadership, members of the Ares Integrated Aborts Working Group (a group she established) quickly identified key abort-related issues of an Ares-based launch system.

During the awards ceremony, recipients also received a certificate and letter of commendation, personally signed by an astronaut, citing the astronauts' appreciation of their outstanding performance.

NASA's Astronaut Office awards the Silver Snoopy for outstanding performance to those employees who have significantly contributed to the space agency's goals for human exploration and development of space. The Silver Snoopy is a sterling silver pin that has flown on a shuttle mission, in the form of a Snoopy wearing a space helmet and space suit, To meet the criteria for this award, the individual's work must relate to flight safety or mission success. Job performance must be outstanding to distinguish the individual in his or her particular area of responsibility and it must make a meaningful contribution to flight safety or mission success. This coveted award has been presented to less than one percent of the NASA workforce

Alison French
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.