Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tharp Wins Debus Award

Roy Tharpe, president of Space Gateway Support, has been selected by the National Space Club Florida Committee to receive the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award.

Tharpe will be honored at the Debus Award Dinner on April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Debus Conference Facility at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

"Roy's almost 50-year service to our nation's space program has spanned from his work for NASA during the Apollo era with Dr. Debus to his current role as president of Space Gateway Support," said National Space Club Chairman Mike Maier. "His dedication toward excellence has been both steadfast and noteworthy in its influence in our space program."

The Debus Award was created by the National Space Club Florida Committee to recognize significant achievements and contributions made in Florida to American aerospace efforts. It is named for KSC's first director, Kurt H. Debus.

Tharpe joined the Kennedy Space Center family in 1963 as a data analyst working for NASA on Project Gemini. He worked on the launch team during Apollo and Skylab, and in 1972 joined an elite group of planners who worked with Dr. Debus to transform KSC's operations, facilities and organization from Apollo to the Space Shuttle.

After spending two years in California to support the Space Shuttle's Approach and Landing Test program, Tharpe returned to work Shuttle operations at KSC before spending another two years on the West Coast, this time supporting the construction and activation of Space Launch Complex Six at Vandenberg AFB. Upon returning to Florida in 1984, Tharpe's NASA career included support of shuttle payload operations, evaluating Russia's space capabilities, and consolidating shuttle operations into a single contract, which was awarded to United Space Alliance.

Tharpe left NASA in 1996, joining Boeing to help manage International Space Station processing at KSC. He worked a number of management roles, including Site Chief of Staff, until leaving Boeing in 2007 when he joined Northrop Grumman as Director, Space and Science and was assigned to Space Gateway Support as deputy of operations for the Joint Base Operations Contract.

Tharpe is currently president of SGS where he leads a team of 400 employees providing support as part of KSC's Interim Protective Services Contract for Security, Fire and Emergency Management.

Tharpe is well known along the Space Coast as a community leader, including a one-year term in 2007 as Chairman of the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. From 2007 to 2009, he served as chairman of the National Space Club Florida Committee. Among his many awards include a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals and the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement.

Tharpe was born in Georgia but moved to Florida at age 4, growing up with the space program on Merritt Island. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from Western Carolina University at Cullowhee, N.C., in 1963 and immediately began work at NASA's Launch Operations Center.

Tharpe continues to reside on Merritt Island with his wife of 47 years, the former Barbara Ann Reinholdt. They have three adult children and two grandchildren who all reside in Brevard County.

For reservations contact LaDonna Neterer at 321-383-6135 or e-mail LaDonna.J.Neterer@boeing.com For further information on the NSC visit www.nscfl.org.

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