15/25/50

Some personal calendar numerology.

15. Fifteen years ago last week, I started work for NASA. At the time, we were transitioning human spaceflight into construction of the International Space Station. My assignment at the time was as lead Rendezvous officer in Mission Control for Shuttle mission STS-88 in which we rendezvoused later that year 15 years ago with the FGB launched by Russia, and delivered Node 1. Over the subsequent 15 years, human spaceflight was dominated by the construction of the ISS, and saw the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Now, without a domestic human launch capability, we're attempting to grow a commercial one.

How times have changed.

25. Today marks twenty-five years that I first started work in the space business, fresh out of graduate school. At the time, I started work for a NASA contractor in a division that supported trajectory design and operations for the Shuttle. I started my career in software development before eventually transitioning to operations. At the time I was hired, NASA and its contractors were rapidly ramping up for resuming missions following the Challenger accident in 1986. I came on board a few months before flights resumed with Shuttle mission STS-26, and formed part of a cadre that grew within a few years to 800 NASA civil servants and contractors supporting trajectory design and operations for the Shuttle. That same division today supports trajectory work for the International Space Station, Orion, and commercial crew vehicles (bet you didn't know the latter) with a team of about a hundred, both due to reduced demand as well as technological advances.

How times have changed.

50. Next week marks my 50th birthday. It goes without saying: how times have changed.

Here's to another 15, 25, and 50 years!

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15/25/50

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