Previously published in Examiner
Part 24 of the female astronaut series
Women have penetrated almost every field and some women made the lists of firsts long before the USA. This series will concentrate on female astronauts. The astronauts are Russian, American, British, French, Japanese, South Korean and Canadian. Julie Payette is Montreal’s astronaut.
Nancy Jan Davis
This astronaut was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida as Nancy Jan Smotherman in 1953, but then took her astronaut stepfather’s name.
Dr. Davis received her bachelor of science degree in biology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a second bachelors of science in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. She received her masters and her PhD in mechanical engineering from The University of Alabama.
Engineering career and NASA
After graduation Dr. Davis worked for Texaco as a petroleum engineer in tertiary oil recovery.
In 1979, Dr. Davis joined NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as an aerospace engineer. She was the team leader for the Structural Analysis Division which was responsible for the structural analysis and verification of the Hubble Space Telescope(HST), the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility. and the HST maintenance mission. She was the chief engineer on the team to redesign the solid rocket booster external tank attach ring. She is a registered professional engineer and holds her own patent.
She has performed the duty as a CAPCOM in Mission Control communicating with Shuttle crews, mission specialist, Astronaut Office representative for the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), with responsibility for RMS operations, training, and payloads, and Chairperson of the NASA Education Working Group.
After finishing her space flights she worked at NASA Headquarters as the Director of the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS), Independent Assurance Office for the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. In 1999 she made the move to Marshall Space Flight Center where she was the Director of the Flight Projects Directorate responsible for the “International Space Station (ISS) Payload Operations Center, ISS hardware and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Program.” She was the head of Safety and Mission Assurance at Marshall and retired from NASA.
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1998,
NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1995 and 2002,
NASA Space Flight Medal in 1992, 1994, and 1997,
NASA Fellowship for Full-Time Study in 1983,
ASME National Old Guard Prize in 1978,
ASME Ralph Coates Roe Medal in 2001.
Inductee Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame,
Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame,
Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. Sourcehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Davis