NASA team wins national space award

December 15, 1999

A NASA team led by Harvard fellow Parker Counts, a senior engineer at NASA¹s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has won the Dr. Wernher von Braun Space Flight Award for its work on the Space Shuttle¹s external fuel tank.

Counts is manager of the Space Shuttle External Tank Project at the Marshall Center. The 2,600-person, nationwide team of civil servants and contractor employees was lauded for its work to develop the super-lightweight fuel tank, an improved version of the large, orange tank the Shuttle "rides" into orbit. The team developed an aluminum lithium tank that weighs 7,500 pounds less than older tanks. The lighter weight lets the Shuttle carry more payload, use less fuel and more easily rendezvous with the high-orbiting International Space Station.

"Receiving the award for the External Tank team was one of the personal highlights of my career," Counts said. "It¹s an outstanding tribute to a team that was truly dedicated to overcoming the challenges encountered during the development of the tank." The award is presented annually by the National Space Club-Huntsville to an individual or group for outstanding contributions to space flight. It is named for Dr. Wernher von Braun, pioneer rocket scientist and first director of the Marshall Center.

Counts was born in Winchester, Tenn., and graduated from Franklin County High School there in 1958. He graduated in 1962 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a bachelor¹s degree in engineering. He completed the program for management development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business in Cambridge, Mass., in 1990. He is married to the former Peggy McCombs of Attalla, Ala. They have two children, Stacy and Christopher.
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Note to Editors / News Directors: For an interview with Parker Counts, and photos and video supporting this release, media representatives may contact June Malone of the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034.

Members of the media: To receive Marshall releases by e-mail instead of fax, please e-mail judy.pettus@msfc.nasa.gov . Include the name of your media outlet, your title, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and the headline of this news release.

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

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