Astronauts Recognize Silver Snoopy Award Recipients… Personally
By: Denise Adams

Astronauts Rex Walheim, Leland Melvin and Steve Frick are thankful for the work that the Silver Snoopy Award recipients have done to make spaceflight safer.

So much so, that they told them in person at the Reid Conference Center on May 1.

It also allowed the crew members to talk about their experiences on STS-122.

STS-122 crew members.

Astronaut Rex Walheim answers a question from the crowd at the Reid Conference Center. From left to right: Walheim, Leland Melvin and Steve Frick.
Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

It was a homecoming for Melvin. “Thank you for all of your help and support and for getting me ready for this here at Langley for 10 years,” he said.

Frick introduced a movie that highlighted moments from their mission starting with preparations the morning of the launch and ending with the Space Shuttle orbiter landing back to Kennedy Space Center’s runway.

“I like this video because it shows the mission through our eyes,” explained Frick, commander of STS-122.

This 24th mission to the International Space Station (ISS) led to successful delivery and installation of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory.

The movie showed Melvin’s footage of the external tank as it fell back into the ocean. Other crew members were able to capture some breath-taking moments from the orbiter as they passed over the Swiss Alps, Cape Cod and the Caribbean.

“You get to look outside for a few minutes, then it’s time to get back to work,” Frick said.

They showed clips of how some of the crew slept -- on the floor, on the ceiling and with floating arms. They also showed the robotic arm, controlled by Melvin, putting a nitrogen tank into the ISS. They also were able to bring back a failed gyroscope to prepare for its replacement.

“So all those years of playing video games finally paid off,” Frick cracked.

“It seems like it goes by in the blink of an eye and then we’re back,” Walheim said of the 13-day trip.

And they gave plenty of credit to the contributors at NASA Langley who have made these spaceflights possible and continued to improve upon them over the years.

“It all started [Silver Snoopy Awards} at the Apollo program. We wanted an award for special jobs that make spaceflight safer. These awards are very close to our hearts,” Frick said.

The Langley individuals honored with a Silver Snoopy Award were:
Walt Bruce, for his outstanding contribution to quality and flight safety on the Space Shuttle Program External Tank Project.
Patty Howell, for her significant contributions to the success of the effort to provide NDE tool for use during manned space missions. This tool greatly enhances the ability to identify critical vehicle damage and offers the opportunity to mitigate such damage at a crucial stage in the mission.
Mike Kegerise, for his significant achievement in developing a successful correlation for cavity-induced transition from the various wind tunnel facilities. This achievement and his statistically rigorous quantification of uncertainties is made even more significant due to the very limited orbiter flight data for cavity transition to compare predictions.
Sotiris Kellas, for his critical role as lead test engineer for Langley’s Return to Flight Damage Threshold Analysis Team. His significant contributions in the development and innovative debris testing techniques and fixtures have demonstrated that he is a vital link in the success of our space programs.
Rudy King, for his significant contributions toward developing major improvements to the Boundary Layer Transition Tool Version 2 used to assess damage to the lower surface of the Orbiter and ensure the survival of the Shuttle Orbiter during reentry.
Cathy McGinley, for her establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between damage to the windward Thermal Protection System of the Space Shuttle Orbiter and early boundary layer transition.
Bert Senter, for his integral role, as Langley Aerothermodynamics Laboratory Facility Manager, in the successful achievements obtained for the Shuttle program throughout the accident investigation, Return-to-Flight activities and direct mission support.

The Shuttle Orbiter Main Engine Flowliner Crack Inspection Team was also honored with a Silver Snoopy Award for its ability to transform a laboratory crack detection method into a proven and reliable method which represents a 15-fold improvement in the state-of-the-art crack inspection.
The team included the following employees:
Harold Claytor
Dave Dawicke
Robert Edahl
Andy Newman
Robert Piascik
Stephen Smith
Scott Willard

NASA Langley Research Center
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor and Responsible NASA Official: H. Keith Henry
Editor and Curator: Denise Adams