Famous deaths in Feb 2012: Janice Voss
Famous deaths in Feb 2012: Janice Voss - NASA astronaut Janice Voss passed away Feb. 6, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer. One of only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss’ career was highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and exploration. She was 55.
Voss spent the majority of her career at NASA in the astronaut program. However, from 2004 to 2007, Voss served as the science office director for the Kepler mission at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.
In her role, Voss was responsible for coordinating science activities for the Kepler mission. In particular, Voss was responsible for coordinating the efforts to generate the Kepler target catalog, an extensive pre-launch ground survey of the space telescope's field-of-view for stars similar to the sun.
Voss also helped establish the original guest observer office and in the planning of the follow-up observation program for the mission.
"Janice had tremendous passion about her work and her personal interests," said Marcie Smith, Kepler mission director at Ames. "She always thoroughly researched the task at hand to arrive at the best logical decision. She loved to encourage interest in Kepler and the manned space program with public talks and lectures."
Voss will be remembered for the team spirit she brought from her days in the Astronaut Office. One such instance was a suggestion that the Kepler managers buy ribbons to distribute among the team in appreciation of individual contributions. These ribbons can be seen pinned to the walls of the Kepler team members today in recognition of their work.
"Whenever anyone mentioned a science fiction story, Janice would pull out a small notebook that she carried to see if she had already read the story," recalls Kepler principal investigator William Borucki at Ames. "If she hadn't read the story, it would quickly be added to her list to read."
Voss began her career with NASA in 1973 while a student at Purdue University. After completing her doctorate in 1987, she worked within the aerospace industry until she was selected as an astronaut in 1990.
Voss’ first spaceflight mission was STS-57 in 1993, followed by STS-63 in 1995 and STS-83 and STS-94, both in 1997. Her last mission was STS-99 in 2000. In total, Voss spent more than 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits.
PERSONAL DATA: Born October 8, 1956, in South Bend, Indiana, but considers Rockford, Illinois, to be her hometown. She enjoys reading science fiction, dancing, volleyball, flying. Her parents, Dr. & Mrs. James R. Voss, reside in Dupont, Indiana.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1972; received a bachelor of science degree in engineering science from Purdue University in 1975, a master of science degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in aeronautics/astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977 and 1987, respectively. From 1973 to 1975 she took correspondence courses at the University of Oklahoma. She also did some graduate work in space physics at Rice University in 1977 and 1978.
ORGANIZATIONS: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Space Flight Medals (1993, 1995, 1997, 2000); Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellowship (1982); Howard Hughes Fellowship (1981); National Science Foundation Fellowship (1976).
EXPERIENCE: Dr. Voss was a co-op at the NASA Johnson Space Center from 1973 to 1975. During that time she did computer simulations in the Engineering and Development Directorate. In 1977 she returned to the Johnson Space Center and, for a year, worked as a crew trainer, teaching entry guidance and navigation. She completed her doctorate in 1987 and accepted a job with Orbital Sciences Corporation. Her responsibilities there included mission integration and flight operations support for an upper stage called the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS). TOS launched the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) from the Space Shuttle in September 1993, and the Mars Observer from a Titan in the Fall of 1992.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Voss became an astronaut in July 1991. She is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Her technical assignments have included working Spacelab/Spacehab issues for the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, and robotics issues for the Robotics Branch. From October 2004 to November 2007 she was assigned to the NASA Ames Research Center, where she served as the Science Director for the Kepler spacecraft. Kepler is scheduled to launch on a Delta II into a heliocentric, earth-trailing orbit, and will be looking for Earth-size planets around distant stars. More information can be found at http://www.kepler.nasa.gov. Dr. Voss currently serves as Payloads Lead of the Astronaut Office Station Branch.
A veteran of five space flights, Dr. Voss has logged over 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits. She served aboard STS-57 in 1993, STS-63 in 1995, STS-83 & STS-94 in 1997, and STS-99 in 2000.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Dr. Voss first flew on STS-57 (June 21 to July 1, 1993). Mission highlights included retrieval of the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) with the Shuttle’s robotic arm, a spacewalk, and the first flight of the Spacehab module. She next flew on STS-63 (February 3-11, 1995). Mission highlights included the rendezvous with the Russian Space Station, Mir, the deployment and retrieval of Spartan 204, and the third flight of Spacehab. She also flew as payload commander on STS-83 (Apr 4-8, 1997). The STS-83 Microgravity Science Laboratory ( MSL-1) Spacelab mission was cut short because of problems with one of the Shuttle’s three fuel cell power generation units. The entire crew and payload reflew on STS-94 (July 1-17, 1997). The STS-94 MSL-1 Spacelab mission focused on materials and combustion science research in microgravity. Most recently she served on STS-99 (February 11-22, 2000). This was an 11-day flight during which the international crew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour worked dual shifts to support radar mapping operations. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission mapped more than 47 million square miles of the Earth’s land surface.