When the “Discovery” space shuttle heads into space this month it will carry a special package ‘gift-wrapped’ by a Jamaican-born engineer and his team at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States.
Glenn Chin is NASA mission manager charged with delivering a Node 2 module called “Harmony” that will expand the docking area at the International Space Station to accommodate other space programs. Chin heads a multi-disciplined team of 30 to 40 engineers and technicians at NASA which is involved in the testing, integration and assembly processes that will make “Harmony” ready for launch inside “Discovery’s” cargo bay on the morning of Oct. 23. Once installed at the space station, “Harmony” will serve as a port for space programs from
“Harmony is a module with six docking ports where modules can dock to make the station bigger,” explained the 43-year-old Chin, who attended high schools in
“It’s like a six entrance hallway that you can add rooms to…It’s actually the gateway to the international partners.”
That “hallway” or central building block is 24 feet long and 15 feet wide. It weighs 31,500 pounds.
SIMPLE TASK It was built in
But Chin is confident it will. Discovery’s transportation of “Harmony” this month, also called “STS-120”, is not the only mission Chin has been involved with at NASA. He has been in charge of 16, four of which he has seen through to their launch. However, despite acknowledging a familiarity with the procedures required for the task, Chin said the different types of “payload” he is required to deliver in proper working order keeps the challenge interesting.
“It’s pretty routine,” he said. “The processes are pretty much the same. But the differences in hardware for each mission is unique. Each hardware is unique.”
So is his background. Chin is one of a handful of
“That’s huge for me,” he said. “As a Jamaican I’ve always been a hard worker, persistent. When I came to the States I realized the opportunities here and went after it. “I have enough savvy to know you can reach for your dreams in this country.” For the married father of a son, his dreams extend to outer space.Glenn Chin's Bio
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