Kennedy News

Allard Beutel
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington

Feb. 23, 2012
RELEASE : 15-12
NASA Presents Safety Award To Three Kennedy Employees
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA has presented its Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition, or QASAR, award for 2011 to three Kennedy Space Center, Fla., employees; Humberto "Bert" T. Garrido, Joseph B. Hamilton and Francis "Frank" Merceret.

NASA's QASAR award recognizes individual government and contractor employees who have demonstrated exemplary performance in contributing to the quality or safety of products, services, processes, or management programs and activities.

"The first of NASA's four core values is safety, and without it, none of the agency's missions of exploration and scientific discovery can successfully happen. Bert, Joe and Frank exemplify that core value," said Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana.

Garrido was responsible for safety, quality, reliability, software assurance, mission success and independent assessments of space shuttle, International Space Station and expendable launch vehicle activities at Kennedy, as well as institutional activities and developmental efforts at the space center.

Garrido led development of the space shuttle independent assessment program and Kennedy's implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's safety and mission assurance recommendations. He established Kennedy's current safety and mission assurance readiness review process and led the space center to its first Voluntary Protection Program certification from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Through his work to enhance Kennedy's safety culture, Garrido influenced development of agency-level standard safety and quality metrics for human and robotic space flight. He developed and implemented agency policies and programs to safeguard payloads and the public.

Hamilton is a NASA contractor quality engineer employed by Millennium Engineering and Integration Company of Arlington, Va., received the award for recommending ways to strengthen occupational safety requirements for ground handling of graphite epoxy containers called composite overwrap pressure vessels. The vessels, which are used in space to store life support commodities such as oxygen and nitrogen, are regarded as hazardous equipment.

Hamilton analyzed the danger of keeping the vessels pressurized for long periods before launching them into space. As a result, NASA initiated a study to gather statistical data on the vessels' behavior and asked Hamilton to lend his expertise to design of a recharge system that will be flown on cargo ships sent to resupply the International Space Station in the future.

Merceret, director of research for Kennedy's Weather Office, received the award for improving the criteria agency officials use during a countdown to determine whether the potential for a lightning strike presents a safety hazard for launching a rocket.

Merceret was the driving force behind an initiative to document the history of the so-called lightning launch commit criteria for U.S. government ranges and two major research programs, which resulted in major revisions that have helped prevent unnecessary launch delays and cancellations.

Garrido, Hamilton and Merceret were recognized along with two other recipients on Feb. 23 at the agency's ninth annual Project Management Challenge in Orlando, Fla.

For more information about the Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition award program, visit:


- end -

text-only version of this release

To receive status reports and news releases issued from the Kennedy Space Center Newsroom electronically, send a blank e-mail message to To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail message to The system will confirm your request via e-mail.