Roe is the manager of the Space Shuttle Vehicle Engineering
Office at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.|
Johnson Space Center,
former space shuttle launch director leads a group of ace troubleshooters
-- At 22 years old, Ralph Roe Jr. joined the NASA family as a young
engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., or KSC. Twenty years
later, the man from Meadville, Pa., remains an important part of
the NASA family.
to NASA, Roe was a mechanical engineering student at the University
of South Carolina. After graduating in 1983, Roe joined KSC and
worked as a propulsion system test engineer for the Shuttle Engineering
In 1999, after
more than 16 years at KSC, Roe moved to the Johnson Space Center, or JSC, in Houston, Texas. Before making the move to Houston, he
was the space shuttle launch director at KSC.
duty when I arrived at JSC involved investigation of the STS-93
electrical short," he said. "This led to fleetwide inspection
and repair of each ship's wiring."
tiny crack in a flow liner halted space shuttle launches in
2002. Roe and his team investigated the problem. |
As the manager
of the Space Shuttle Vehicle Engineering Office, Roe leads a team
of more than 2,000 government and contractor engineers working on
the space shuttle orbiters. He has been instrumental in the technical
leadership role of several space shuttle anomaly investigations
and repair events.
summer of 2002, several tiny cracks were discovered in metal liners
used to direct the flow inside main propulsion-system propellant
lines on the space shuttle vehicles. Roe and his team of engineers
researched the cause of the problem and determined the best way
to repair the cracks.
few meetings as a team were over the Fourth of July weekend, and
I happened to be on vacation with my wife in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,"
first days after the discovery of the flowliner cracks his team
spent countless hours, nights and weekends helping solve the problem.
that there was an outstanding effort by all NASA engineering organizations.
But in particular, JSC provided outstanding contributions in the
areas of Material and Processes, Structures, Stress and Loads Analysis,
and Main Propulsion.
theories concluded that the most probable cause was the combined
environments associated with the engine pumps and vehicle vibration
during liftoff," said Roe.
solutions were implemented and the shuttles were repaired. In October,
NASA returned to flight with STS-112, delivering and installing
a new element of the International Space Station, or ISS.
absolutely thrilled just to be a member of the team that gets to
fly humans in space and helps build the ISS, [where astronauts]
perform research that will improve our lives on Earth," Roe