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Too often we only think of CAD terminals and labs with equipment lined rooms. Here is anpother example of potential life options engineers can pursue.

It also looks like I am in store for more than an average day at the ofiice this week. On Thursday January 30th, NASA astronaut Jeff Ashby will be visiting my company in Boulder. We developed and built the ruggedized camera and video telemetry system for use on the External Tank of the Space Transportion System. Ashby was the Crew Commander of STS-112, the first Shuttle mission to fly the system. It has been on some 30 launches of Titan, Pegasus, Atlas and other vehilces previously.

NAME: Jeffrey S. Ashby (Captain, USN)
NASA Astronaut

Graduated from Evergreen High School, Evergreen, Colorado in 1972; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 1976, and a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee in 1993. Ashby is also a graduate of the Naval Test Pilot School, and the Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun).

Born June 16, 1954, and raised in the Colorado mountains where he developed a love for skiing, soaring, backpacking and fly fishing. Jeff and his wife, Paige, share their home with two spoiled dogs.

SPECIAL HONORS: Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medal, and two NASA Space Flight Medals. Ashby was selected as the Navy's Attack Aviator of the Year in 1991.

EXPERIENCE: Designated as a naval aviator in 1978, Ashby has accumulated over 7000 flight hours and 1000 aircraft carrier landings. He completed five aircraft carrier deployments, and flew 65 combat missions in the FA-18 during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Continue Hope in Somalia. Ashby also participated in the development of the FA-18 aircraft, directing tests of the Hornet's smart weapons and electronic warfare systems. He flew test flights for over 80 projects including carrier suitability, ordnance release, and flying qualities of the night attack and reconnaissance versions of the Hornet. Ashby served as the Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 94. Under his leadership, VFA-94 earned the coveted Battle "E" Award and designation as the Navy's top FA-18 squadron in 1994. Ashby reported to the Johnson Space Center for training with Group XV in March 1995.

SPACE FLIGHTS: STS-93 – Ashby's first space flight was in July 1999 as pilot aboard Space Shuttle Columbia which deployed the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra is the third in a series of NASA's Great Observatories following the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Chandra was designed to conduct comprehensive studies of the universe, and has enabled scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars, and black holes.

STS-100 – Ashby flew as pilot aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in April 2001, on assembly flight 6A to the International Space Station. This was the most complex robotics flight in the history of the Space Shuttle program, responsible for installing both the Canadian-built Robotic Arm, and the Italian-made Logistics Module "Raffaello". Ashby operated the Shuttle robotic arm to lift a pallet containing the Space Station robotic arm from Endeavour's payload bay, and attached it to the International Space Station. After undocking Endeavour from the station, Ashby piloted a unique separation and fly-around profile that enabled IMAX-3D images of the International Space Station.

STS-112 – In October 2002, Ashby served as Crew Commander on assembly flight 9A to the International Space Station. The STS-112 crew conducted joint operations with the Expedition-5 crew by delivering and installing the S-One Truss (the third piece of the station's 11-piece Integrated Truss Structure). It took three spacewalks to outfit and activate the new component. The crew also transferred cargo between the two vehicles and used the shuttle's thruster jets during two maneuvers to raise the station's orbit. STS-112 was the first shuttle mission to use the CrossLink designed & built camera on the External Tank, providing a live view of the launch to flight controllers and NASA TV viewers.

With the completion of his third mission, Ashby has flown a total of 435 orbits around the Earth and logged over 655 hours in space.

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