Memphis, Tenn., Native and NASA Marshall Center Engineer Susan Spencer Honored With Silver Snoopy Award
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Susan Spencer, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and a native of Memphis, Tenn., has received the prestigious Silver Snoopy award from NASA’s Astronaut Corps for her outstanding performance contributing to flight safety and mission success. Less than 1 percent of the space program work force is awarded the Silver Snoopy annually.
In 2008, Spencer was named project manager for Marshall’s Window Observational Research Facility, or WORF. The facility is designed to make the best possible use of the research window in the International Space Station’s U.S. Destiny Laboratory module. The Earth observation window is made of the highest quality optics ever flown in a human-occupied spacecraft. Spencer is responsible for the installation and operation of the WORF rack, which provides room for a variety of experiments and power, communications, data and other utilities needed for Earth-observing equipment. She also coordinates the payloads that will use the rack on the space station.
Spencer and 23 other honorees were presented the award by NASA astronaut Andrew S.W. Thomas, who was joined by Marshall Center Deputy Director Gene Goldman, at a July 13 ceremony at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville. She was presented a lapel pin depicting Snoopy, the dog from the comic strip "Peanuts," as an astronaut. Each pin has flown on a previous space shuttle mission. She also received a framed certificate and a letter signed by Thomas.
Spencer began her NASA career in 1989 as a senior structural analyst in Marshall’s Advanced Concepts Office. She worked in Marshall’s Flight Projects Office from 2000 to 2003, and among her duties, was lead systems engineer for the first flight of the Lightweight
Multi-purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier -- a cross-bay carrier for hardware. She was deputy project manager for technology flight demonstrations for Marshall’s Space Transportation Directorate from 2003 to 2004.
From 2004 to 2008, she was deputy manager for several projects in Marshall’s Science & Mission Systems Office, including the NASA Orbital Express Project. That project demonstrated the first U.S. automated rendezvous and docking using the Marshall-developed Advanced Video Guidance Sensor.
Spencer received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis in 1983.
She has received numerous awards throughout her NASA career, including a Space Flight Awareness award in 2010 for outstanding contributions to the space program. In 2002, she was awarded two Director’s Commendation Certificates. The highest award given at the Marshall Center, the certificate is presented to an individual whose job performance and/or special accomplishments merit recognition where other avenues of recognition are not sufficient.
Spencer and her husband, Jeff Spencer, formerly of West Memphis, Ark., live in Madison, Ala., and have two children. Her parents are Myra and the late JC Horn of Corley Community, near Paris, Ark. › Photo
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