NASA Space Launch System Project Debut

NASA SLS (Space Launch System) Project Debut
In Cooperation with TTU's Engineering Week Festivities and the Oakley STEM Center

What is NASA SLS? Just the most powerful rocket in history!NASA SLS engine test wb

  • NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) near Huntsville, Alabama, is an advanced heavy-lift vehicle that will give our nation a safe, affordable, and sustainable means of reaching beyond low-Earth orbit, opening new doors of discovery for science and human exploration.  

  • SLS will be the most powerful rocket in history and is designed to be flexible and evolvable, allowing access to the furthest points of the solar system.

  • SLS will also have the capabilities to support NASA's commercial partners as a backup transportation means to the International Space Station.

  • NASA is taking a leading role in the effort to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for our nation’s youth by offering programs, resources, and activities that are made available to schools, universities and STEM-education centers like NASA logo wbTTU's Millard Oakley Center.









NASA SLS (Space Launch System) Project Debut
In Cooperation with TTU's Engineering Week Festivities and the Oakley STEM Center

NASA SLS @ Oakley STEM Center | Exhibit & Event Schedule

Monday, Feb. 18 through Friday, March 1sls detail wb

SLS: Where Will It Take You? / Oakley STEM Center Lobby

  • An exhibit of two-dimensional art by regional middle and high school students. The student art exhibition represents a variety of media, including pastels, pencil, oil, acrylics, and multi-media inspired by the NASA SLS project.

Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 24

  • 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. / NASA Space Launch System Project Exhibit / Oakley STEM Center Lobby

    • The exhibit will feature displays and information about NASA SLS - THE MOST POWERFUL ROCKET IN HISTORY!
    • Hours are Oakley STEM Center regular university business hours.

Friday, Feb. 22

  • 3 p.m. / Engineering Panel Discussion with NASA SLS Engineers / Oakley STEM Center Auditorium

    • Open to TTU students and the university community.
  • 7:30 p.m. / Kimberly Robinson, Strategic Communications Manager / Space Launch System from Marshall Space Flight Center will address the attendees of the FAB Friday event in the Oakley STEM Center Auditorium.

Saturday, Feb. 23

  • During TTU's Engineering a Future workshop, NASA engineers will talk to more than 175 girls (5th & 6th grade) and their parents from the Upper Cumberland region.


Sunday, Feb. 24

  • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oakley STEM Center Opens for Continued Exhibition of the NASA SLS project and Regional Student SLS-Inspired Art Exhibit
    Admission is FREE!

    • Dr. Sally Pardue, director of the Oakley STEM Center, will be on-site to answer questions.
    • PLUS...The Virtual Theater will have showings every 1/2 hour.
      • Experience To the Edge & Back: A Tour of the Universe


NASA SLS (Space Launch System) Project Debut
In Cooperation with TTU's Engineering Week Festivities and the Oakley STEM Center

Kimberly Robinson, Strategic Communications Manager / Space Launch System Programnasa kimberly robinson wb

Dr. Kimberly Robinson serves as the Strategic Communications Manager for NASA’s Space Launch System Program at Marshall Space Fight Center, providing a range of services to build and maintain advocacy for America’s new rocket, which will transport astronauts and high-priority science missions beyond Earth’s orbit for a new age of exploration. Leading a team of professional communicators, she ensures integration between NASA Headquarters, industry partners, and other stakeholders.

Prior to her SLS assignment, Dr. Robinson was selected for the highly competitive NASA Administrator’s Fellowship, which promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education at minority universities. Previously, Dr. Robinson was the Deputy Project Manager for the Ares I-X test flight, which was named Time magazine’s science invention of the year in 2009. Before that, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Some of her many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, a Silver Snoopy Award from the Astronaut Corps, and Director’s Commendation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


Todd May, Program Manager NASA SLS at MSFCNASA-SLS-Todd May wb

Todd May is program manager of the Space Launch System (SLS) Program Office, located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Named to the post in August 2011, he is responsible for directing SLS program activities, which will lead to a new U.S. heavy-lift launch vehicle for NASA’s next generation of human space exploration.

From June 2008 until assuming his current position, he was associate director, technical, at the Marshall Center, where he was responsible for assuring that all center activities, processes and policies are consistent with the U.S. Space Exploration Policy. His position included performing special studies, providing authoritative advice and assistance in policy review, managing and reporting on center-wide metrics, and developing benchmarking strategies. As a dual assignment, he managed the Lunar Precursor Robotics Program, which was responsible for the first two lunar return missions in NASA’s Space Exploration Policy. In 2008, May was appointed to the Senior Executive Service, the personnel system covering top managerial positions in approximately 75 federal agencies.

From 2007 to 2008, May served as a deputy associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He was responsible for the efficient and effective execution of a $5 billion portfolio of robotic programs and projects, including more than 100 spacecraft in various stages of formulation, development and operations.

May has received several awards, including one of the highest honors given for commitment to excellence in public service — the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive Award (2010), as well as the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for significant contributions to NASA’s mission (2005), a Space Flight Awareness honoree (1998), the John W. Hager Award for professionalism in materials engineering (1990), and numerous special service awards. He has also been named a Distinguished Auburn Engineer (2010). MORE > >



Michael Kynard, Launch System Liquid Engines Element Manager

Michael Kynard is manager of the Space Launch System Liquid Engines Element at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.NASA Michael Kynard

Named to the position in 2011, he is responsible for the development, certification, and production of all liquid engines to be used in support of the Space Launch System, including the development of the RS-25 core stage engine and the J-2X upper stage engine.

The Space Launch System, or SLS, will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond Earth orbit. It also will back up commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. Designed to be flexible for crew or cargo missions, the SLS will be safe, affordable and sustainable, to continue America's journey of discovery from the unique vantage point of space.

From 2006 until 2011, Mr. Kynard was manager of the Upper Stage Engine Element for Ares Projects under the Constellation Program at Marshall. He was responsible for the design, development, testing and evaluation of the J-2X engine to be used on Ares I and Ares V.

From 2005 to 2006, Mr. Kynard was manager of the Ares V Core Stage and Core Stage Engine in the Exploration Launch Projects Office. He was responsible for development of the core stage for Ares V heavy lift launch vehicle, including the design, development and upgrade of the RS-68 engine. He also was responsible for the design and development of the core stage tanks and structure.

Mr. Kynard served from 2003 to 2005 as deputy manager of Marshall’s Space Shuttle Main Engine Project. He was responsible for assisting the manager in overall project management of the shuttle main engines, including design, production and operation. He also oversaw operations to ensure the safety of the main engines for flight. The project included more than 1,000 employees in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and California. MORE > >

Don Krupp, Manager of Control System Design and Analysis Branch in MSFC's Engineering Directorate

Dr. Don Krupp earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 1988.  He earned both his master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1993 and 2004, respectively.  He currently serves as the manager of the Control System Design and Analysis Branch in MSFC’s Engineering Directorate.

The Control System Design and Analysis branch that he manages is responsible for research, development and application of state-of-the-art flight control system theory, processes, tools, methods and products for spacecraft, space vehicles and flight systems.  Under his leadership, the flight control system for the Space Launch System is being designed, implemented, tested, and verified leading to a first flight of the SLS vehicle in December 2017.

Don has almost 24 years of experience in flight control system architecture, algorithm and filter design and development, modeling and simulation, system engineering and system analysis for launch vehicles, experimental spacecraft and flight research vehicles.  Don was responsible for the design, development, verification and validation of the ascent and entry flight control systems for the X-33 experimental flight test vehicle.  Over his career, Don has provided technical leadership to multiple Space Transportation Programs including NASA’s X-vehicles (X-33, X-34, X-37, X-40a), and the National Launch System, Space Launch Initiative, Orbital Space Plane and Constellation Programs.   He has also represented NASA as a flight control system expert to other government agencies and commercial companies in the areas of launch vehicle control, hypersonic vehicle control and microsatellite control.

Outside of work, Dr. Krupp is involved with mentoring young adults.  He volunteers in the youth ministry of his church and with Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama.  He also frequently speaks to school groups about NASA, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  He has received many awards during his NASA career including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for his technical leadership in the Space Launch Initiative program.

John Rector, NASA SLS Stages Element Green Run Test ManagerNASA-SLS-John-Rector-wb

John Rector is a native of Franklin, Tennessee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1991. While at TTU he was involved in several activities which included positions within the Student Government Association, Inter-fraternity Council, Radio DJ, and the Baja Team.

Rector was assigned as the SLS Stages Element Green Run Test Manager in April 2012. He is responsible for managing the activities for SLS that will result in the first Green Run Test of the Core Stage to be conducted in December of 2016. Rector's assignments include coordinating the restoration, requirements, operations, risks, scheduling, and cost managing of the Core Stage Green Run. His position includes integrating the requests from Stennis Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, and the SLS Stages Element Prime Contractor, Boeing, insuring a successful test

In July of 2011, he was selected as the Business Manager for the Stages Element Office. In this role he created the initial cost projections and budgets for the new Core Stage Element, within the SLS program. He was responsible for the efficient and effective execution of $1.4 billion budget which initiated the Design, Development, Test, and Evaluation of the SLS Core Stage.

From 2007 to 2011, Rector was the Business Manager for the Space Shuttles External Tank (ET) Project Office. His responsibilities included the execution of $1.6 billion of ET operational, technical, procurement, and delivery costs associated with 16 launches of the Space Shuttle program. Toward the end of the Space Shuttle program, Rector created, implemented, and effectively executed the ET Retention plan allowing for the successful delivery of the last ET to Kennedy Space Center for integration into STS-135, the last shuttle launch.

Rector has received numerous awards during his NASA career, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2010 for his contributions to External Tank Project and a Silver Snoopy Award in 2011 for contributions to the Space Shuttle program. He also received numerous Special Service Awards and Marshall Center Group Achievement Awards. MORE > >

Mallory Johnston, Systems Engineer at MSFCNASA malloryjohnston wb

Johnston earned at bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 2010. She began her career at NASA MSFC as a co-op student/employee in 2007. While at TTU she was president of Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering honor society), captain of Formula SAE, and co-chair of the service organization Xi.

After graduating cum laude from TTU in 2010, Johnston began a job with NASA as a dynamic analyst for space-related structures. During her first year she worked on analyzing small satellites, ground support equipment for a heavy-lift vehicle, and developmental concepts for the frequency control of large structures.

She has been heavily involved with outreach activities including speaking engagements at museums and volunteering with TTU's Engineering a Future. She also organized a space center-wide school supply drive and a toy and coat drive to support the local community. This passion for community outreach was captured during the federal government's philanthropy program - the Combined Federal Campaign.

During the campaign of 2012, Johnston organized more than 380 Marshall Center employees to volunteer more than 1,425 hours at local non-profits. Organizing and integrating ideas and people have led Johnston to her current job at NASA as a systems engineer where she supports the advanced development of environmental control and life support technology for the Orion crew capsule and a project to bring additive manufacturing (3-D printing) on-board the Space Station.

Outside of work Johnston is involved with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of North Alabama as a Big Sister to an inquisitive 5th grade girl. She serves on the Huntsville Young Professionals Board of Directors, supporting both professional development and community involvement activities. She has recently been appointed AIAA Deputy Director of Young Professionals for the Southeastern Region. Johnston is also the Marshall Association Vice President of Communication, helping bring in relevant and interesting speakers to the Marshall community.





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