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For release: 08/13/03
Release #: 03-137

Dr. Jan Davis named NASA Marshall Center Safety And Mission Assurance director

Photo description: Davis

Former astronaut Dr. Jan Davis has been named director of the Safety and Mission Assurance organization at the Marshall Center. Davis presently serves as director of Marshall's Flight Projects Directorate.

Photo: Davis (NASA/MSFC)

Dr. Jan Davis has been named director of the Safety and Mission Assurance organization at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Marshall Center Director David A. King announced that Davis, an astronaut who flew three times and an engineer, will succeed Amanda Goodson, who recently left the Agency.

Davis, a former astronaut who joined NASA in 1979, had been serving as director of the Flight Projects Directorate at the Marshall Center. In her new position, Davis will direct the safety, reliability and quality activities of all Marshall Center programs, including establishing and assuring compliance with NASA safety and mission assurance strategies, policies, and standards and implementing methods for identifying and assessing safety risks. The Marshall Safety and Mission Assurance organization serves as both a partner and a facilitator for the organizations at Marshall, incorporating safety and mission assurance functions as an intrinsic element in the development of new technologies, work planning and performance, fostering employee expertise and actively involving them in the improvement of systems, processes and procedures to assure the success of the Agency.

"As the Marshall Center works with all of NASA to return the Space Shuttle to flight, Dr. Davis' experience as an astronaut, working engineer and senior manager will be a tremendous asset to Marshall's Safety and Mission Assurance organization," said King. "With mission areas in Space Transportation Development, Microgravity and Space Optics Manufacturing, safety and mission assurance are critical to the people and work at the Marshall Center. I believe her dedication and commitment to Marshall make her an excellent choice to undertake the challenge at hand."

As flight projects director, Davis led a team of more than 1,400 civil service and contract workers responsible for payload and science operations for the International Space Station, training crews to operate Space Station science experiments and operating the control center for those experiments. Davis also was responsible for the Chandra X-ray Observatory Program Office, overseeing operations of the world's most powerful X-ray telescope.

"I look forward to leading the Safety and Mission Assurance Organization as we enter this critical time in the Agency and return the Space Shuttle to flight." said Davis. "I hope to bring all of my experiences and strengths together to this very important and challenging task."

Davis, who grew up and went to school in Huntsville, began her career at the Marshall Center in 1979 as an aerospace engineer. She worked on several major NASA programs and projects, including Hubble Space Telescope and its later servicing mission; the Chandra X-ray Observatory; and the Shuttle. Selected to join the Astronaut Corps in 1987, she spent more than 670 hours in space over the course of her three Shuttle flights.

In 1998, Davis became director of the Human Exploration and Development of Space Independent Assurance Office for NASA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., providing safety oversight for all human space flight programs. She returned to Marshall in 1999 as deputy director of the Flight Projects Directorate and was named director of the Flight Projects Directorate in January 2001.

A 1971 graduate of Huntsville High School, Davis earned a bachelor's degree in applied biology in 1975 at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1977 from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering in 1983 and 1985, respectively, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In 2001, she was elected to both the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. The American Association of Engineering Societies recently presented Davis with the Norm Augustine Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communications, citing her as a rare individual who can speak with passion about engineering so the public has a better understanding of engineering and a better appreciation for how engineers improve our quality of life.

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June Malone
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034


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