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Kylie Clem
Johnson Space Center, Houston

RELEASE : J08-006
Four New Flight Directors Selected to Lead NASA’s Mission Control
HOUSTON - NASA has selected four new flight directors. Gary C. Horlacher, Jerry P. Jason, Michael L. Lammers and Royce J. Renfrew will join a select group of individuals who lead human spaceflights from Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston.

Leading a team of flight controllers, support personnel and engineering experts, a flight director has the overall responsibility to manage and carry out shuttle flights and space station expeditions. Flight directors also are involved in developing plans for future Constellation Program exploration missions.

“The members of the flight director class of 2008 bring a solid background of experience to the office,” said John McCullough, chief of the Flight Director Office. “They have an average of 13 years of spaceflight experience and leadership backgrounds in multiple flight control disciplines as well as organizational management. We look forward to their contributions to assembling and operating the International Space Station, safely completing the remaining shuttle missions and working on future flights to the moon and Mars.”

A flight director leads and orchestrates planning and integration activities with flight controllers, payload customers, station partners and others. All of the recently selected flight directors have previously served as flight controllers in Mission Control and will begin training as International Space Station flight directors.

This selection process began in January 2008. It brings to 28 the number of active space shuttle and space station flight directors, including those in training. Only 77 people have served as NASA flight directors, or are in training to do so, in the nearly 50 years of human spaceflight.

-- Gary C. Horlacher was born in Sewickly, Penn., but considers Chesterton, Ind., his hometown. He earned a bachelor’s in engineering from Purdue University in 1989 and a master’s in space sciences from the University of Houston Clear Lake in 1995. Horlacher has worked in Mission Control for the space shuttle Instrumentation and Communications (INCO) discipline intermittently since 1989, beginning with Rockwell Space Operations Co. and then United Space Alliance (USA). He spent brief periods working for Hughes Information Technology Systems and for Lockheed Space Systems Co. NASA hired him in the INCO discipline in 2006. He has supported 75 space shuttle missions.

-- Jerry P. Jason was born in Westland, Mich. He has a bachelor’s in metallurgical engineering from Michigan Technological University. He began work with USA in Mission Control for the space shuttle Mechanical, Maintenance, Arm and Crew Systems discipline in 1996 and NASA hired him in 1998. He supported 28 space shuttle missions. Jason served as assistant to the JSC Center Director 2006-2007 and recently was chief of the Avionics Branch within the Space Transportation Vehicle Division of the Mission Operations Directorate at JSC.

-- Michael L. Lammers was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but considers Albert Lea, Minn., his hometown. He earned a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University in 1996 and a master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Houston in 2004. He began work with USA as an instructor 1996 and moved to Mission Control in 2000. He has worked as both a space station Attitude Determination and Control Officer and Telemetry, Information, Transfer, and Attitude Navigation flight controller. He was hired by NASA in 2004. In 2006 he was the lead for the station Communications and Tracking Officer discipline.

-- Royce J. Renfrew was born in Riverton, Wyo. He earned a bachelor’s in computer science in 1985 and a bachelor’s in history as well as a secondary school teaching certification in 1989 from Trinity University. He spent seven years teaching high school mathematics. He began work with USA as a robotics instructor in 1997 and moved to Mission Control as a station Robotics Officer (ROBO) in 2001. He was hired by NASA in the ROBO discipline in 2003 and moved to the station Onboard Data Interfaces and Network (ODIN) discipline in 2005. He recently served as the ODIN lead, beginning in 2007.

Photos of the new flight directors are available online at:

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