Gene Kranz

Fall 2016

For years I have read every book I could find on the early days of Mission Control. I have studied the days where every day was a new feat and every mission was a first time. I have grown to idolized the men in the first Mission Control rooms, the men that set man on the moon for the first that, that brought back Apollo 13, and faced the burden of loss with Apollo 1. These men have become names of heroes and legends to me as I grew up wanting to do what they did. men like Chris Kraft who envisioned the idea, John Aaron who single handedly saved Apollo 12 with one command - "Set SEC to AUX" and to Gene Kranz, the vest wearing white flight that set Apollo 11 on the moon and brought Apollo 13 home. I work and walk in their footsteps every day at work and that thrills me. I am even more Thrilled that now I have the chance to meet some of these living legends, a few still work here, such as Herb Baker a man famous for his involvement with the early days of the shuttle. 

 

I have dreamed of meeting Gene Kranz for a very long time. I have stated many times that part of my goal is that I want to be to the Mars program what Gene Kranz was to Apollo. So when I suddenly had an opportunity to spend some time with Flight Director Kranz, I was beyond the moons orbit. I only spent 20 mins with him. But in that time he regaled me with stories, showed me some amazing space memorabilia, and spoke nothing but encouragement and inspiration to me. It was a truly magical moment in life. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet my #1 mission control Idol. Mr. Gene Kranz. 


 I dreamed the impossible dream and won. 

I dreamed the impossible dream and won. 

NASA JSC - Job

Fall 2015

I live my dream every day at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. After 18 years of dreaming and dedication, I now have the joy of working with manned space flight. I currently work as a contractor for NASA in the Flight Operations Directorate, training to be an ISO (Inventory and Storage Officer) Flight Controller for the ISS Mission Control.

 

My future is wide open and I hope to find myself as a Flight Director, finishing my education with a PhD, and helping design the new mission ops concepts for future Mars Missions. 

 

 

 


 NASA Ames Research Center - 2012

NASA Ames Research Center - 2012

NASA Ames Internship 

Summer of 2012

  • Chronopotentiometry (CP) Research Investigated new soil analysis instrumentation for future Mars missions.
    • Furthered understanding of lead electrode in CP by characterizing limits and responses to simulated mars soil using data gathered during Pathfinder Mars Mission.
    • Successfully manufactured first CP electrode prototypes for JPL with only 3 days advance notice
    • Worked with data from the Mars Phoenix Lander
  • Participated in the Ames Science Backroom during RESOLVE payload field test
  • Sat in on communications with the ISS during a SPHEREs experiment.
  • Attended Lecture series hosted by Ames
  • Traveled to several other NASA facilities including JPL and NASA HQ. 

 


 UND Space Studies - Orion Simulator - 2012

UND Space Studies - Orion Simulator - 2012

MS Space Studies

University of North Dakota 

2009-2012

 

Independent Research - the Organization of Mission Control During Manned Surface Exploration of Mars

  • Explored the growth and development of Mission Control and operations over the years for manned and unmanned missions.
  • Confirmed that human factors and psychology support will be a vital change for Mars exploration support.
  • Revealed the need to improve bandwidth and availability of communication with Mars.

 

For a list of classes please see my LinkedIn page. 

 

Favorite Research Topics Included -

  • The Mercury 13
  • The Lunokhod Missions
  • Lunar Flyby Concept Mission Designs
  • Ground to Crew Relationships and Communications

 

 


 At the helm of the Planetarium show - 2008

At the helm of the Planetarium show - 2008

Adventure Science Center Sudekum Planetarium

2008-2009

 

  • Assisted in everyday activities at the planetarium
  • Presentation of programs
  • Operation of equipment
  • Interaction with groups and public

 

Participated in annual meeting of the South East Planetarium Association and volunteered during visits from NASA as part of their Orion EPO programs.

 

 

 


 Full Circle as a Space Camp & Aviation Challenge Counselor - Summer 2007

Full Circle as a Space Camp & Aviation Challenge Counselor - Summer 2007

Space Camp & Aviation Challenge

Camp Counselor

Summer 2007

 

 

My love of space came full circle when I ended up at the US Space and Rocket Center. As a teenager I was lucky to attend this camp and was more than thrilled to come back to work as a counselor with Aviation Challenge and Space Camp. 

 

 

 

 


 Just hours before the launch of STS-118

Just hours before the launch of STS-118

NASA's Greatest Fan

VIP Launch STS-118

2006-2007

 

In 2006, NASA had an online contest. Their mission was to find NASA's Greatest Fan. All one had to do was make a 30 second video and send it to them. From the initial videos, they narrowed the field fown to their top 9. From there, it was up to the public to vote on the videos. 

I won!

My prize was an all expense paid trip to have VIP tours and seats at the launch of STS-118! It was AMAZING!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

<--------    Check out the video here!!! Keep in mind, this was 8 years ago. 


 A first for LaFrance's - a BS

A first for LaFrance's - a BS

BS Engineering Physics

Belmont University

2005-2009

 

  • BS Engineering Physics
  • Minor of Public Relations (gov and non-prof focus)
  • Minor of Mathematics 

 

Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium 2009 - Photometry of  Asteroid 201Penelope 

 

  • Society of Physics Students; Vice-President, Belmont University, 2008 - 2009
  • Attended the SPS meeting in Chicago in 2009
  • Member of the Mathematical Association of America
  • Participant of the MATH challenge 2006-2007

 Yeah, this would be Sr. Year. Notice how my hair progressively gets shorter as this goes by?

Yeah, this would be Sr. Year. Notice how my hair progressively gets shorter as this goes by?

Pre-College Awards

2000-2003

1st place, Jack Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Service as a Young Amateur Astronomer, 2003
                     This is a nomination based award given through the National Astronomy League. Presented to students for their service to their local clubs and community in promotion, education, and growth of astronomy.

2nd place, Jack Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Service as a Young Amateur Astronomer, 2002
                     Only 3 individuals have won the "Hork Award" back to back. 

International Semi-finalist, Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Navigator Journal, JPL/Lego, 2001
                   This challenge was sponsored by JPL, Lego, and the Planetary society. Applicants filled out a journal full of questions about telecommunications navigation through the use of Lego Mindstorm sets. 

4th place, NSTA/Duracell Invention Challenge, 18th Annual, 2000
       My invention was called the 'Gyro pad'  - The idea was to create a stable work organization pad for astronauts in micro-g. It used gyros to act as a stable force and not drift away. 


 15 years old! Big glasses and Braces...oh boy.... Level 1 of the FATP

15 years old! Big glasses and Braces...oh boy.... Level 1 of the FATP

Space Camps

1999-2002

 

2001 - Level 2 - Future Astronaut Training Program - Kansas Cosmosphere

2000 - Level 1 - Future Astronaut Training Program - Kansas Cosmosphere

1999 - Advanced Space Academy - the US Space Camp - US Space & Rocket Center

 

Note - I would have tried to attend a camp in 2002, however, I was offered to join People 2 People Student Ambassador program. Australia was AMAZING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And since you made it all the way to the end, a little 'treat,' This is a video I made up back as a young 22 year old. As corny as it may be, it demonstrates that my love and passion for space is more than a fad. It is my identity, it is a defining characteristic of my life. 

I am Proud of this fact.