Headlines > News > United Space Alliance Managers Receive NASA Distinguished Public Service Medals

United Space Alliance Managers Receive NASA Distinguished Public Service Medals

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Jun 2, 2007 2:21 pm
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two United Space Alliance (USA) managers who play key roles in support of the Space Shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center were recently presented one of NASA’s most prestigious honors in ceremonies at the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. USA’s Director of Launch Operations Mike Orr and Neil Mizell, Manager of Launch Pad Electrical, Integrated Network Control System and Hazard Warning Systems Engineering, were recipients of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.
The space agency presents the Distinguished Public Service medal to individuals whose extraordinary accomplishments contribute substantially to the NASA mission.
Orr was recognized for his outstanding leadership and role in the Space Shuttle Program throughout his career.
“Mike is a highly qualified and respected individual, who has dedicated himself to his profession and to human space flight safety,” said Mark Nappi, USA’s Associate Program Manager for Ground Operations. “He is professional, well respected and he generates results by his confidence and concern for both people and processes.”

Orr joined the Space Shuttle Team with the Martin Marietta Corporation in 1979. His efforts in bringing the original propellant-loading software on line earned him the position as a prime console operator on STS-1, the first Shuttle mission in April of 1981. His performance led to his selection as Liquid Hydrogen Lead Engineer and later as Supervisor of External Tank Cryogenics Engineering.
In 1999, USA recognized Orr’s background of over 20 years of engineering, management and operational experience with Launch Operations qualified him to serve as Manager of Pad Operations. In this position, he was responsible for the technical and engineering success at the Shuttle launch pads. He continued in this capacity until 2002, when he was promoted to Deputy Director of Launch Operations. Two years later Orr was named to his current position as Director of Launch Operations.
Neil Mizell was honored for leading the effort to replace the command and control systems on the Shuttle launch pads and Mobile Launcher Platforms, a project known as the Integrated Network Control System (INCS).
According to Mizell’s nominaiton, “Neil has been an outstanding role model for all personnel in the NASA and contractor family by consistently being a positive motivator, leader and teacher.”

Mizell has been a member of the Shuttle team since 1987 when he began as a design engineer for the return-to-flight mission after the loss of Challenger. He led numerous projects that have improved the safety and reliability of the ground systems, including being part of the prime launch team exercising his technical expertise in the Firing Room during launch.
Under Mizell’s leadership, the command and control ground systems cable replacement was accomplished at both launch pads without any impact to the Shuttle manifest and completed on time and within the projected budget.
The INCS project replaces hardware being passed down to Shuttle from the Apollo Program. The new system is not only more reliable and efficient, it also provides additional redundancy and improves the operational safety well beyond the capabilities of the existing Apollo-based architecture. Even though the capability was developed to support the Shuttle Program, it will be instrumental in the launch of the Orion spacecraft and Aries I and Aries V launch vehicles for the Constellation Program. The result is a major cost savings for that initiative.
United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston and employing 10,000 people in Texas, Florida and Alabama, USA is applying its broad range of capabilities to NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as to space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.

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