Nancy Evans Was A Hidden Figure

Keith's note: The other day I posted a note about the passing of Nancy Evans. I got a nice note from Michael Ravine at Malin Space Science Systems about Nancy. She was truly another often unsung hero in the tradition of "Hidden Figures":

"Your story about Nancy made me think about her contribution to something I was involved in: I spent the second half of the eighties working for Ed Danielson at Caltech, building the Mars Observer Camera for Mike Malin, then at ASU. The team was mostly twenty-something kids, smart but inexperienced, but Ed leavened it with a few people had actually worked in the space business before. One of those was Nancy Evans. Ed hired Nancy to run the schedule and deal with the other paperwork tasks that this business demands. None of us kids had much patience for that stuff, and I know it was an ongoing challenge for her to maintain a rational schedule on top of the chaos that was going on at the work level. But she did it, and we eventually got the instrument delivered. The MOC was lost when Mars Observer blew up, but we put together the spare MOC and it was flown on Mars Global Surveyor. That, fortunately, made it to Mars, and made some amazing discoveries. Like many other people, Nancy deserves a slice of credit for that.

One day in 1988, I brought my camera into work and shot pictures of everyone, to try to capture what it was like there, then. I shot this one of Nancy, caught (I see now, squinting at the picture) entering an RFA from our recent instrument CDR into a spreadsheet so she could track it. Now, I'm older than she was in this picture, and I'm the one that gets build spreadsheets to track RFAs."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 12, 2020 12:13 PM.

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