My Work at NASA

        The test facility where I worked allows engineers to simulate how docking and berthing mechanisms would behave in earth orbit. The capture envelope and the stresses the devices would experience once in space can be explored, aiding in design and manufacturing. Six degree of freedom motion system
        The testing performed at the facility resulted in some redesigns of the International Space Station's berthing mechanism, which has performed flawlessly on orbit.

I was lucky to work at something I'd have done for free in my spare time (and sometimes did). Unfortunately in later years I was moved into a management position at the facility which I found less rewarding.

Common Berthing Mechanism on MPLM
        There were other reasons that led me to leave (the people I worked with certainly wasn't one of them). I felt the work I did was meaningful, even as NASA's focus wandered. NASA's management (and the direction provided by the President and Congress) had reduced NASA to a contracting agency which no longer developed new technologies. In my opinion they burdened the agency with low-value manned missions at the expense of true science. Brian Allen, David Hood, 
Patrick Tobbe, Geri Tobbe, Heath Wilson, Chris Cagle-Brown, Drew Hall 
and Mark Slone
        This poster was signed by astronaut Dave Brown for a co-worker during a visit in 2002. Dave was one of the seven astronauts onboard Columbia when it burned up on reentry on February 1, 2003. Reflecting on what Dave wrote, my co-worker said "we let him down." Astronaut safety poster