Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Call Sign: Rezac


I'm always excited when I convince someone to overcome natural camera-shyness, because frankly, I'd do a "NASA Employee Spotlight" once a week if I could get away with it. Most folks are too modest, and longtime NASAman Ed Rezac is no different, but he was kind enough to share stories and photos!

Starting in 1976, Ed supported Space Shuttle era Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) development at ILC Dover and astronaut hardware development at ILC Space Systems in Houston. Then up into the 1980s, he was a Payload Integration Engineer at JSC & KSC, supporting NASA Life Science Space Lab payload development.

Feel like a slacker yet? I was getting ready for my senior prom around the time he became a Space Station Utilization Engineer at Grumman Aerospace, and had just earned my first college degree when he moved to the Center for Space & Advanced Technology at NASA Headquarters to manage the subcontract in support of Microgravity and Life Sciences in the early 90s.

Hubble Space Telescope Mockup
Standing in the High Fidelity Mechanical Simulator (HFMS, a full size mock-up of the Hubble Space Telescope's aft shroud) in Building 29 at the Goddard Space Flight center in Greenbelt, Maryland

For the last decade, he's been at Lockheed Martin as an EVA Systems Engineer, working with engineers, scientists and NASA astronauts to plan, train for, and execute servicing missions to maintain the Hubble Space Telescope.

I could spend about 18 blog posts pestering him with questions about any number of tasks he performed at any of these jobs, but for the sake of him actually being able to escape my evil clutches and get back to work, I'll just share a few episodes in line with my blog themes of simulations and ground testing.

Hence, my favorite photo sets:

NASA - Ed Rezac
Ed again, with what he lovingly calls his "Ron Burgundy moustache."
Sweet Lincoln's mullet! (click to embiggen)

Above is a shot of Ed in 1980, as a suited tester. Definitely click to see the larger version, and see all the details of this EMU.

You were probably sitting in a theatre somewhere, watching Caddyshack. Then maybe you went home and played your Atari 2600 or the new Andy Gibb album. Yeah, Ed was conducting actual certification runs of the pre-flight testing of astronaut Bob Crippen's gloves that were flown on STS-1 in April 1981!

When I emailed Ed to ask if I could use these wonderful pictures on my blog, he replied:
"I suspect that what you may find more interesting than the activities of 30 years ago are the more recent hardware design, procedure development, and crew activities conducted in preparation for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Mission. I was the HST Project's EVA Lead for two of the tasks completed during the last Hubble servicing; changing out the three Rate Sensing Units (RSUs) that contain the gyros that keep the telescope steady during viewing operations, and repair of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) science instrument."

"Both tasks required design, development and testing of hardware; development of both nominal and contingency procedures; and instruction, training and on-orbit choreography development for the astronaut crew and ground personnel. I worked with the astronaut instructors at JSC to train the astronauts using 1-G simulators, VR, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and put in many hours "on the loops" at Mission Control for pre-mission simulations as well as actual flight console support."

Mike Good, John Grunsfeld, Ed Rezac, Mike Massimino, Andrew Feustel
L to R: Mike Good, John Grunsfeld, Ed, Mike Massimino & Drew Feustel.
The STS-125 spacewalkers in front of the mock-up HST aft shroud following a training session in Houston, TX.

I was going to do a "write-up" on all that, but it actually works better in Ed's own words, and all the amazing photographs truly speak for themselves. Click on any to move to a page where you can see the whole photo sets, Hubble mockups, astronauts and all!

Thanks so much for giving folks a view into your world, Ed... we love having looks behind the scenes at the real people who keep the space program running!