NASA’S Space Flight Awareness Program recognizes Pearlington resident Janet Austill

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pearlington resident Janet Austill, an executive assistant to the center director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, was recently recognized by NASA’s Space Flight Awareness Program for her contributions to flight safety.

Astronaut Jim Kelly and Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate Lynn Cline presented the award to Austill during a ceremony in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

During the past four years, Stennis has had several changes among senior leaders within the Office of the Center Director. Austill was recognized for significantly contributing beyond her normal requirements to ensure smooth transitions and superb support of both the Space Shuttle Main Engine and Constellation programs.

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Austill, along with 13 other SSC honorees, traveled to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to tour the space center and witness the launch of space shuttle Atlantis on NASA’s STS-122 mission, which was postponed to Jan. 2, 2008.

The SFA Program recognizes outstanding job performances and contributions by civil service and contract workers throughout the year and focuses on excellence in quality and safety in support of human space flight. The award is one of the highest honors presented to NASA and its contract employees for their dedication to quality work and flight safety. Recipients must have contributed beyond their normal work requirements toward achieving a particular human space flight program goal; contributed to a major cost savings; been instrumental in developing material that increases reliability, efficiency or performance; assisted in operational improvements; or been a key player in developing a beneficial process improvement.

Built in the 1960s to test the huge engines for the Saturn V moon rockets, SSC, in Hancock County, Miss., is America’s largest rocket engine test complex. Every space shuttle main engine has been test-fired and proven flight-worthy at SSC since 1975. The center has begun work on a new test stand to test the rocket engines that will carry Americans back to the moon and on to Mars.