Aerospace engineering graduates to direct upcoming shuttle mission

Fri, 04/02/2010 - 8:22am
Texas A&M University

When the space shuttle Discovery launches Monday (April 5), two graduates of Texas A&M University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering will be directing the mission from the ground.

Richard Jones ’90 is the lead space shuttle flight director for STS-131 and has been a NASA flight director since 2005. A native of El Paso, Texas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M. He previously has served as a flight director overseeing two shuttle launches and four landings.

Also serving as flight director on the STS 131 mission is Ron Spencer ’89, who has been a flight director since 2006. He is a native of Decatur, Ill., and also earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M. Before becoming a flight director, he helped develop the assembly sequence used to build the space station.

Discovery’s flight, one of only four remaining space shuttle missions, will carry a logistics module packed with eight tons of cargo to the station. The mission also will include three spacewalks to replace a tank assembly on the station’s backbone that provides ammonia for use in the complex’s cooling system.

For more information on the shuttle’s mission, visit



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