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Joel W. Sills

NESC Chief Engineer at JSC

Mr. Sills is the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Chief Engineer at Johnson Space Center (JSC).  He began his career in industry as a structural dynamics subject matter expert performing structural dynamic analysis and testing of systems and subsystems.  Mr. Sills supported the Hubble Space Telescope program from deployment through Servicing Mission 3B while in industry and supported the final Servicing Missions as a civil servant.  During his tenure, he aided in the development and implementation of an on-orbit Concept Verification Test and Transfer Function Test that utilized spacecraft Reaction Wheel Assemblies to excite the spacecraft and measure responses using Rate Gyro Assemblies.  During this time, he supported multiple Servicing Missions as the Mechanical Systems Lead Engineer during the replan shift.  Mr. Sills went on to join the International Space Program (ISS) serving as project engineer within the External Carries Office providing ISS late manifest definition studies to improve ISS responsiveness to on-orbit failures.  He served as the lead project engineer responsible for the successful Launch-On-Need integration of the Canadian Space Station Remote Manipulator System joint and Russian Service Module Debris Panels on ISS Flight UF-2.  He also led the successful negotiation and completion of Space Shuttle system requirements for the ISS standardized Payload Disconnect Assembly and Latch Control Functions.

Mr. Sills joined the NASA civil service in 2004 after the space shuttle Columbia accident where he served multiple functions within the Space Shuttle Program Flight Operations Integration office including: Cargo Integration hardware technical area manager deputy, Technical Assistant to the Cargo Integration office manager, and the Cargo Integration office Structure’s Technical Discipline Manager.  Mr. Sills would then go onto become the Space Shuttle Flight Operations and Integration Office Cargo Integration Office manager and remained in that position through wheels stop of the final Shuttle flight.  Mr. Sills then transitioned to become the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Manufacturing Branch Chief within the Structures Engineering Division.  In this position, he managed the tactical and strategic direction of manufacturing at JSC and represented JSC at the Agency Fabrication Alliance.  Mr. Sills then moved to the Exploration Development Integration office in 2014 where he supported Exploration Systems Division Cross-program integration of the Space Launch System, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and Exploration Ground System elements.  During the same time frame, Mr. Sills also served as the NASA Engineering Safety Center (NESC) Deputy Loads and Dynamics Technical Fellow providing subject matter expertise on multiple independent NESC assessments and support task. Most recently, Mr. Sills served as the NASA Exploration Systems Development Deputy Chief Engineer.

Mr. Sills received a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a Graduate Certificate in Advance Project Management from the Stevens Institute of Technology.  He has authored and co-authored over 50 conference and workshop publications.  Mr. Sills is the recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, JSC Director’s Commendation Award, NESC Leadership Award, the Silver Snoopy Award, the Space Flight Awareness Award, and is a two time Lockheed Martin NOVA award recipient.  Mr. Sills is also an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow.