Personnel News: September 2012 Archives

United Space Alliance laying off 121 Floridians, 13News

"United Space Alliance says they are laying off over 150 employees across the country -- the majority being here along the Space Coast. USA said 121 of its workers in Brevard County will be laid off. The reduction represents about six percent of their total workforce. Following the layoff, USA will have a total 2,263 employees -- with 1,073 of those in Florida, 1,186 in Texas and 4 in other states. The layoff is due to a reduction in work scope as the Shuttle Transition and Retirement work approaches completion."

Keith's note: NASA has announced that Patrick Scheuermann will be the new Center director at MSFC. Current SSC Deputy Director Richard Gilbrech has been appointed as the new SSC director. Former MSFC Center Director Robert Lightfoot is now officially NASA Associate Administrator.

Bolden Seeks To Replace Multiple Center Directors, earlier post

Jaylee Mead

Jaylee Mead dies: NASA astronomer was a cultural benefactor in D.C., Washington Post

"Jaylee Mead and her husband, Gilbert, came, in some ways, from different universes. Gilbert was an heir to the riches of Consolidated Papers in Wisconsin -- one of the largest papermakers in North America -- while Jaylee was the daughter of a general store owner in rural North Carolina. They worked together for years at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, he as a geophysicist and she as an astronomer, one of the few women of her generation to pursue a career in astrophysics."

Bob Wharton

President of South Dakota School of Mines dies, PRapid City Journal

"Wharton served as executive officer for the National Science Foundation's office of polar programs, participating in 11 expeditions to the Antarctic. He also was a visiting senior scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C."

Keith's note: I am profoundly saddened to hear of Bob's passing. I got to know Bob very well when he and I worked at the old Life Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters in the 1980s. Bob was an astrobiologist before the word had even been coined. He was an adventurer and a jack of all trades. Among other things, he spent a lot of time diving under Antarctic ice with Chris McKay and Dale Andersen and roaming the Antarctic dry valleys. He was also an avid climber and mountaineer. Bob and I went rock climbing several times. One trip in particular, to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, on a day not unlike today, is etched into my mind. I can clearly recall asking him on that trip if he thought there was life on Mars. He paused for a moment and said "I ... think so". I can only hope that somewhere on Curiosity's travels across Gale crater on Mars, that something of prominence is named after Bob Wharton.



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