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NASA expert to discuss agency’s purpose at Wofford

Thursday, October 07, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A NASA expert will speak at Wofford College on Monday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in Leonard Auditorium. The program is free and open to the public.

Donner Grigsby, the computer security official for the Airborne Systems Competency at NASA’s Langley Research Center, will discuss the purpose of the agency.

Grigsby is a graduate of Old Dominion University and is attending graduate school at Christopher Newport University, where he has completed the course work for a master’s degree in applied physics and computer science. As part of his thesis requirement, he developed a prototype micro-gravity strength training system intended for use aboard the International Space State.

NASA recruited Grigsby in 1986 to join the six-year engineering technician apprentice program, which has produced some 1,500 graduates since 1917. He was assigned to the mechanical equipment support section as an outside machinist, performing maintenance and modifications to Langley’s wind tunnels and research laboratories. In 1992, he began working in engineering to design aerospace models and wind-tunnel hardware while continuing his studies at ODU. The crew systems organization selected him in 1996 as their systems integration engineer for two elements of NASA’s Terminal Area Productivity (TAP) program, a cooperative interagency effort implemented to improve the flight operations of the National Airspace System between NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and private industry. TAP was interested specifically in the development and integration of new and enabling technologies that could enhance global air transportation by making it faster and safer.

Both programs received, among other accolades, the prestigious Turning Goals Into Reality Awards, likened to Hollywood’s Oscars for engineering achievement.

Grigsby, a native of Michigan, is also a certified information systems security professional.