Jon Cowart

Jon Cowart is currently the Senior Project Manager for Ares 1-X Ground Systems with NASA at the KSC Shuttle Program. He graduated from Tucker High School and he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1983 with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree and an Air Force commission. Second Lieutenant Cowart was assigned to the 6595th Shuttle Test Group at Vandenberg AFB, California where he worked as a solid rocket booster (SRB) mechanical systems and handling engineer for his first two years. Jon was in charge of the first ever stack of SRB's at Vandenberg AFB and was then promoted to an Orbiter mechanical systems engineer. He received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal for his work in the Shuttle program. In 1987 Jon became a staff officer to Major General Donald Cromer, commander of the Air Force's Space and Missile Test Organization. He resigned his commission as a captain in 1987 to join NASA. When Jon joined NASA he became a project engineer on the Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis. His primary duty in this job was to oversee daily testing and preparations for flight of the Orbiter Atlantis. In 1993, Jon was one of 50 people chosen from throughout NASA to participate in the Space Station Redesign and received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for that effort. Jon then became the chief engineer at Kennedy Space Center responsible for the Orbiter's docking system which is used to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir and the International Space Station. In August 1995, Jon was selected to go Washington D.C. and work on special projects for the Chief Engineer of NASA. Among the projects he worked on were: Next Generation Spacesuits and launch vehicle reliability. Upon his return from Washington, Jon was named the Chief Engineer for the Orbiter Discovery. In May 1996 Jon left the Shuttle Program to be the Space Station Assembly Flight 3A Mission Manager. In July 1997 he was named as the Space Station Assembly Flight 2A Mission Manager. Flight 2A was comprised of the Unity connecting module and two pressurized mating adapters and was the first U.S. launched component of the International Space Station. These components were launched on Space Shuttle mission STS-88 on December 4, 1998. Unity’s on-orbit activation was virtually flawless and now, along with the Russian FGB named “Zarya” and the Russian Service Module named “Zvesda”, these components form the cornerstone of the International Space Station. Jon was then assigned as the Mission Manager for the inboard truss elements of the ISS. He was then appointed as the Mission Manager for the U.S. Laboratory Module, named Destiny, and the Airlock. As the Mission Manager, Jon was responsible for all of the acceptance testing, outfitting, testing, and final preparation for flight of these two elements of the International Space Station launched on separate Shuttle missions in 2001. After the successful on-orbit activation of the US Lab, in 2001 Jon became the manager of the JSC Resident Office at KSC representing the Orbiter Project Office located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. His office is responsible for all design engineering problems and changes encountered and implemented at KSC, and is now known as the Orbiter Sustaining Engineering Office. In 2007, Jon took on a new challenge in the Constellation Project Office at KSC. He is the senior project manager responsible for all modifications to the launch pad, vehicle assembly building, and the mobile launch platform for the new Ares I-X test launch vehicle, which is currently scheduled for launch in April 2009. Ares I is the launch vehicle which will carry astronauts into orbit after the Space Shuttle Program ends in 2010.

Broadcast 969 (Special Edition)

Guests: Brian Mosdell, followed by Bill Dowdell and Jon Cowart. Brian Mosdell is the Director of Florida Launch Operations for SpaceX. We started this discussion with a brief overview and history of SpaceX, its objectives, launch vehicles, and their launch services/market that they will likely provide. We also talked about the upcoming Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launches scheduled for this year. In response to my question having visited Space X in California, Mr.

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