Four engineers from across Hampton Roads received special recognition from NASA’s astronaut corps for their work at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Richard Boitnott, of Poquoson, Virginia, was singled out for his significant contributions to NASA’s Orion spacecraft water and land impact tests, the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 vehicle testing and the NASA Engineering Safety and Center Crew Impact Attenuation System. Boitnott graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg with a bachelor’s degree in forestry, a master’s degree in Forest Products Utilization and a Doctor of Psychology degree in engineering mechanics.  

Garfield Creary, from Chesapeake, Virginia, received an award for his exceptional contributions and technical leadership in the development of the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III Nadir Viewing Platform, which will be integrated with the International Space Station (ISS). Creary earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering design and a master’s degree in engineering from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Victor Lessard, of Yorktown, Virginia, received an award for his dedication, professionalism, and significant contributions to the development and application of state-of-the-art computational techniques to support NASA’s manned space flight program and the development of advanced space transportation systems. Lessard earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at ODU. 

Christopher Kuhl, also from Yorktown, received an award for his outstanding contributions on the Development Fight Instrumentation Flush Air Data System for the Orion spacecraft’s first flight test in December 2014. Kuhl earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at West Virginia Wesleyan in Buckhannon and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

Astronaut Kevin Ford presented the awards in a ceremony at Langley on June 19. Award recipients received a Silver Snoopy lapel pin flown on board space shuttle mission STS-128, along with a letter of commendation and certificate signed by Ford.

The Silver Snoopy is the astronauts’ personal award and is presented to less than one percent of the total NASA workforce annually. It is given to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success.

Ford reported for NASA astronaut training in 2000. He served as pilot for space shuttle mission STS-128 to the ISS, which launched in August 2009 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and landed in September 2009 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Ford also launched aboard Soyuz TMA-06M “Kazbek” as flight engineer two in October 2012 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. After docking with the station, Ford served as flight engineer for Expedition 33, and then assumed duties as commander of Expedition 34. Kazbek landed safely in Kazakhstan in March 2013, having completed 2233 Earth orbits in 143 days, 16 hours.

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