Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Cousin, Jackie -- SHE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meet my cousin, Jackie. photo credit: Craig Bailey, Florida Today

Tears of Joy Will Mark Spacewalk
article by Todd Halvorson, Florida Today

Jackie Townsend is bound to get emotional next year after spacewalkers slip NASA's newest planetary camera into the Hubble Space Telescope. A married mother of two, Townsend is the instrument manager who shepherded the Wide Field Camera 3 through testing in advance of a planned May 2009 launch on Atlantis.

Camera installation is the top priority for NASA's last Hubble servicing mission. So astronauts will take on the job during the first spacewalk planned for the flight. Townsend, 41, of Silver Springs, Md., will watch in a control room at Goddard Space Flight Center.

"I'll be very technical, very crisp, very focused -- just like the crew -- on what comes next, making sure that we do everything perfectly," Townsend said. "But the moment it's done, and it's in, I think it's going to be like watching your child take its first steps. It's going to be a very powerful and personal experience for me to know that I was a part of that -- that the work I've done over the last three-and-a-half years is going to be part of history," she said in an interview before the mission was delayed into 2009.

"That really, I think, is going to be very moving."

Contact Halvorson at 639-0576 or thalvorson@floridatoday.com