News Release Archive:

News Release 1022 of 1049

April 3, 1991 12:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1991-06

NASA Awards Hubble Space Telescope Mission Planners

The full news release story:

NASA Awards Hubble Space Telescope Mission PlannersView this image

Citing "exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) project," NASA has given awards to Dr. Rodger Doxsey, Chief of the Science and Engineering Systems Division at Space Telescope Science Institute (ST ScI), James Crocker, Head of STScI's Operations Division, and to the team of astronomers and engineers which implemented the early engineering tests on the space observatory.

Doxsey and his Orbital Verification Implementation Team received the NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award, awarded annually to non-government employees whose outstanding accomplishments have contributed substantially to a NASA mission.

"The synergy of the scientific, engineering and software professionals working on this team greatly fostered the completion of the engineering checkout of HST," according to the space agency citation. "The team is a credit to both the Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA."

NASA cited Doxsey's team for the program of activities it developed to facilitate the engineering checkout of the systems aboard HST, following the 12-ton observatory's orbital deployment on April 25, 1990. The team began its intensive implementation planning for this Orbital Verification (OV) phase of the HST mission 18 months before launch. A total of 120 separate proposals for engineering checkout activities had to be prepared in detail and translated into commands the HST would understand.

Ingenuity and dedication of the team was necessary to carry out activities that went well beyond the ground system's capabilities. The group developed customized operational procedures to enable special testing of HST which otherwise would not have been accommodated by the ground system. This required detailed analysis and understanding of the proposed activities and the operation of the spacecraft and its scientific instruments.

Doxsey credits the group's success to detailed pre-launch planning, flexibility in reworking the program to accommodate emergencies, as well as ingenuity. "During OV, some routines had to be invented from scratch," said Doxsey, adding that "the team knew what to do with every problem; they were a great asset to the project."

NASA agrees in its citation: "Without the commitment and originality shown by this Team, the engineering activities required for the initial checkout and activation of HST could not have been accomplished."

In a separate award, Doxsey, a 1O-year veteran on the HST project, has been given NASA's prestigious Distinguished Public Service Medal — the highest honor NASA confers to a non-government employee. Doxsey was honored for "outstanding leadership in developing the concepts of the scientific operation of HST, as well as the subsequent implementation of systems to accomplish these ends."

Astronomers credit Doxsey for being one of the key HST program people who has a working knowledge of the extremely complex Space Telescope from top to bottom. "On his shoulders rest the weight of the astronomy community", says Princeton astrophysicist, Dr. John Bahcall.

Doxsey previously was with the Center for Space Research at MIT where he gained experience in the scientific operation of astronomy spacecraft with the X-ray space observatories SAS-3 and HEAO-1. Doxsey holds a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT.


Ray Villard
(301) 338-4514