WASHINGTON — NASA has presented its Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition, or QASAR, award for 2008 to Robert D. Straney of Merritt Island, Fla.

Straney, an employee of United Space Alliance at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, received the award for his attention to detail in an inspection of the space shuttle Discovery. He was recognized along with three other recipients Feb. 25 at the agency’s sixth annual Project Management Challenge in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The QASAR award recognizes individual government and contractor employees who have demonstrated exemplary performance in contributing to the quality and/or safety of products, services, processes, or management programs and activities.

“I’m proud to be part of the shuttle program and it’s an honor to be recognized by NASA,” said Straney.

While conducting a post-flight inspection of shuttle Discovery’s thermal protection system, Straney found that one of the two bolts that connect a carrier panel to the orbiter’s wing had a washer installed where it should not have been.

The hidden configuration of the washer posed a safety hazard, and it took a keen eye for the graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach to see it. Straney’s discovery prompted changes in inspection procedures for the same flight hardware in the future.

For more information about the Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition award program, visit: