HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Jerry R. Cook has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service position of Space Shuttle Main Engine Project manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system covering top managerial positions in approximately 75 federal agencies. In his position as manager of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project, Cook leads an office that designs, develops, manufactures, assembles, tests and is responsible for flight performance of the space shuttle main engines.
The engine was developed at the Marshall Center in the 1970s and is the most advanced liquid-fueled rocket engine ever built. Shuttle engines operate for about eight-and-one-half minutes during a shuttle liftoff and ascent, burning more than 500,000 gallons of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants in the huge external tank attached to the underside of the shuttle. The engines shut down just before the shuttle, traveling at about 17,000 mph, reaches orbit.
Cook joined the Marshall Center in 1985 as a test engineer in the Technology Evaluation Department after earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1984. He later served as a test conductor for the Space Shuttle Main Engine Test Program at Marshall. Beginning in 1991, he worked as a systems engineer in Marshall's Solid Motor Design Branch, where he managed resources required to assemble, install, check out and test hybrid and solid rocket combustion simulator motors. In 1995, he returned to the Technology Evaluation Department as a senior test engineer, providing technical direction and management of numerous hazardous test programs.
From 1999 to 2001, he worked in the Space Transportation Directorate, first as a goals manager in the Program Planning and Development Office and then as a second generation reusable launch vehicle representative at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He was named deputy manager, Program Planning and Development Office for the Space Launch Initiative, in 2001, and became manager of the Acquisition Management Office in the Orbital Space Plane Program in 2003. He was appointed deputy manager of the Crew Launch Vehicle Upper Stage Office in 2005, responsible for planning, procurement, design, development, testing, production and operational aspects of the Upper Stage Project. He assumed his current position in May 2007. During his career, Cook has been the recipient of several NASA awards, including the Silver Snoopy award from the Astronaut Corps in 2000 for his contributions to the success of human spaceflight missions; and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2004 for significant contributions to the NASA mission.
In June 2007, he was named Aerospace Engineer of the Year 2006-2007 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his technical skill and leadership in the practice of the aerospace engineering profession. He has authored and co-authored numerous American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics papers and has been published in "Aerospace America" and the "McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology."