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Behind the ScenesMeet the People

IMAGE: Brad Mason at work
Brad Mason schedules International Space Station Expedition crew time for science operations.

Brad Mason,
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Updating and maintaining the daily space station plan

Nov. 30, 2001 - A Cherokee County, Ala., native from Cedar Bluff is playing an important role in the worldwide science operations for the International Space Station.

Brad Mason is a member of the team that coordinates Space Station science research from the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Payload Operations Center is the science command post for the Space Station - the most ambitious research endeavor ever undertaken.

As a timeline change officer, Mason is responsible for updating and maintaining the daily plan that is used by the crew to operate science experiments onboard the Space Station.

"Each day, a new plan with a day's worth of work is sent to the crew onboard the Space Station," Mason says. "If the crew has to deviate from this plan, then it's my responsibility to figure out how to get things back on schedule with the least impact to the science experiments."

Managing the science activities - as well as the time and space required to accommodate experiments and programs from a host of private, commercial, industry and government agencies worldwide - makes the job of coordinating Space Station research a critical one.

The Payload Operation Center provides around-the-clock science research aboard the Space Station.

The facility is housed in a section of the Huntsville Operations Support Center - a historic complex that provided engineering support for Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle launches, as well as Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory operations. The complex also houses the Spacelab Mission Operations Control Center from which more than 25 Shuttle-based science missions were controlled.

Mason says working with NASA is "something I've wanted to do since I was in elementary school. It's awesome to think about the amazing history of NASA and to realize that I'm now a part of that as we continue to make history with the International Space Station."

A 1995 graduate of Cedar Bluff High School in Cedar Bluff, Ala., Mason earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1999. He is the son of Michael and Pat Mason of Cedar Bluff.

All text and photos for this story were provided by Marshall Space Flight Center.


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 06/23/2003
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