Showing Some Shuttle Love (Employee Photos and Favorites!)
Question: How many people does it take to mastermind, assemble, and execute a brand-new human space exploration program (i.e., space shuttle)?
However, what we have here are employee submissions and photos from the countless teammates who spent time, effort, and love making the Space Shuttle Program legendary in the annals of history. Take a trip through their memories, and just think of the memories you are creating each day as you propel NASA forward programs like the International Space Station, Artemis, Gateway, and more.
Keep your cameras handy and your minds open as we create new history together.
Submitted by Tim Fisher/EA121, "Here's a picture of the STS-114 Mission Evaluation Room. The back row (closest to the camera) is the combined OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) inspection team. I'm the almost bald head to the left of the center in that back row. After Columbia crashed, I led the team working on the sensors on the end of the boom to examine the wing leading edge and tiles for damage so we didn't have a repeat occurence. My, how time flies."
It’s all relative. Diane Laymon and her daughter Kristin at Endeavour’s first and last visits to Ellington — May 1991 and then September 2012.
Bruce Adams submitted quite a few oldies but goodies (clockwise, from top left). The first image is from the STS-19, or STS-51A, Palapa/Weststar satellite-retrieval mission. Adams and his teammates worked all night long to get this tool board to the cape. Next, team members (left to right) Calvin Smith, Adams, Wayne Andrews, Gary Scheer, and Phil Franze work on the solar max tether arm built by ILC Space Systems at the Nova Building in Clear Lake. Last, from left to right are Charlie Glenn, Roger Pulley, Adams, Michael Withey, Danny Carter, and Pete Petersen.
From left, a young Rick Nygren in the OV-101 CDR Seat in Palmdale. Nygren also submitted some awesome memorabilia from his time with shuttle. The middle pic harkens from STS-1 and STS-2, while the image at right is from the STS-9 landing at Edwards Air Force Base.
Milt Heflin, who worked at Johnson from 1966 to 2013, was the Apollo landing and recovery engineer for eight splashdowns in the Pacific, as well as a flight director for 20 space shuttle missions in the Mission Control Center. He says of his submission, “The picture insert on the left shows me overseeing the recovery of the Apollo Command Module aboard the USS New Orleans in the Pacific at the end of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project with the then Soviet Union in 1975. On the right it also shows me observing the activity around the space shuttle orbiter Atlantis after its landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was the last space shuttle mission, STS-135, in 2011. I’m the guy with his hands on his hips … So, I now get to be the answer to a very obscure trivia question: ‘Who is the only person on the planet to have been on the scene at the landings of the last Apollo AND space shuttle missions?’ By the way, the background of this montage is a picture taken by International Space Station astronaut Mike Fossum of the re-entry trail of Atlantis as it enters the atmosphere during its final re-entry and landing.”
Erin Winick Anthony sent in some photos her family attending the first space shuttle launch. “Then, I also included a photo of my mom and I attending the final space shuttle launch. My grandfather worked on the Space Shuttle Program, but passed away before the first launch. I’m excited to carry on his legacy through my work at NASA.”
Sharon Hart, who will have clocked 40 years in the space industry this coming Aug. 24, has felt all the honor and privilege to be involved in such a remarkable industry. Some of her submissions include (clockwise from top left): Hart in front of Endeavour at Ellington in September 2012; the orbiter mock-up “crawling” down NASA Parkway to its final destination at Space Center Houston in June 2012; Sharon and Kevin Hart in front of the final flight (STS-135) Short Extra-Vehicle Mobility Unit (SEMU) in the FCE/EVA processing facility 2011; and the Harts at the nighttime rollout of Atlantis for STS-135 on May 31, 2011, during a Space Flight Awareness event.
Andrew Rechenberg offers some interesting views. First up, Atlantis’ blankets, taken at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex. Then, Endeavour as she lifts off on STS-130, as seen from the NASA Causeway in Florida. And, finally, at the Smithsonian, a close-up of Discovery’s name on thermal blankets.
And, in case you were wondering if you have the coolest job … Alex Peña probably has you beat (or, at least, he did during shuttle). Here, Peña is pictured inside and outside of Space Shuttle Atlantis prior to her final launch for STS-135 in July 2011. The purpose of the trip to Kennedy was to perform verification testing of the flight Payload and General Support Computers, or PGSCs — a.k.a. crew laptops.
Oh, to be thisclose. Michael Ciancone on Pad A, following a launch scrub in October 2009.
Though Jenna Contenta’s experience with shuttle is limited to witnessing two launches in person, her submission at left is so unique it begs a little explanation. “My proud godfather called one day from the airport to ask me about the ‘creeper.’ He had been telling his new friends there that I work at NASA and personally escort it to the launch pad. It was so sweet and funny that a co-worker, Nate Grant, and I cooked up a plan — and this photo of the glorious shuttle on top of the crawler — and myself heading to the pad.
Sort of related, but in honor of another shuttle trainer, Contenta received a Power of One award a few years back and was able to treat herself and her parents, Pete and Donna, and experience a few of the virtual trainers in Building 16. “A very cool experience, indeed,” Contenta said. “This is one of my favorite family pictures thanks to NASA photographer Bill Stafford.”
Some Johnson team members also took the time to call attention to their favorite official NASA pics, as well, representative of the mighty shuttle. Take a look at some orbiter eye candy before perusing the personal collection, below.
Some employee favorites. Submitted by (clockwise from top left): Bob Hoyt, Mary Wilkerson, Mark Craig, Bill Stafford (who has the unfair advantage of being a NASA photographer and, thus, getting to shoot these incredible images), and Mark Craig again.
Stafford offered up a few more glimpses into the inner workings of shuttle behind the scenes (clockwise from top left). JSC2011e026940: NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, STS-134 mission specialist, attired in a training version of his shuttle launch-and-entry suit, is pictured during an ingress/egress training session in a shuttle mock-up in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at Johnson. Also pictured in the background are suit technicians Drew Billingsley and Tony Cost-Davis. JSC2011e026945 and also JSC2011e026949: The STS-134 crew during CCT-II prelaunch ingress/egress training. JSC2012e216284: Space Shuttle Endeavour is ferried by NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft over Ellington Field in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2012, as it departs for California. NASA pilots Jeff Moultrie and Bill Rieke are at the controls of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. NASA T-38 chase plane has NASA pilot Greg C. Johnson at the controls. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford.
BUT WAIT. There's MORE!
Behold: More of your beloved photos!