Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Former Astronaut Joins Huntsville Firm

Former NASA astronaut James Halsell is joining a Huntsville, Ala., systems engineering and integration company as the technical director and manager of advanced space transportation projects

Dynetics, a company that employs 1,300, hired the retired Air Force Colonel. Halsell flew five shuttle missions and also served as shuttle launch integration manager at Kennedy Space Center. His most recent position was vice president of Safety and Mission Assurance at ATK, the Utah company that manufactured shuttle solid rocket boosters.

Halsell was the pilot on STS-65 and STS-74, and commander of STS-83, STS-94 and STS-101. He served as NASA director of operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and led NASA’s shuttle Return-to-Flight Planning Team after the Columbia accident. He also served as assistant director for spaceflight training and aircraft operations in the Flight Crew Operations Directorate at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"Jim brings rare hands-on human-rated test flight, operations experience and managerial experience that will be invaluable to Dynetics’ space hardware programs,” Steve Cook, the company's director of space technologies, said in a news release.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of Jim’s caliber join us. With his experience flying high performance aircraft and commanding space shuttle missions and test flying SR-71 aircraft, he will greatly enhance our already impressive team of aviation and space professionals," added Dave King, the company's executive vice president and former director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. "We continue to add members to our team with skills in multiple technical and operational areas from both the government and commercial sectors.”

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