A Silver Snoopy pin (Source: WikiMedia).

IAASS fellow William Manha is the recipient of the Silver Snoopy Award, the highest honor given by NASA to a non-astronaut “in appreciation for professionalism, dedication and outstanding support that greatly enhanced space flight safety and mission success.”  The award, name after the popular character from Charles M. Shulz, consists of a sterling silver “Silver Snoopy” lapel pin flown during a NASA mission, a commendation letter stating the mission the Silver Snoopy pin was flown on, and a signed, framed Silver Snoopy certificate.

The award was conceived after the Apollo 1 fire as a way to promote greater awareness among NASA employees and contractors of the impact they had on flight safety, the flight crews and their missions. The idea came from Al Chop, director of the public affairs office for the Manned Spacecraft Center at the time. The choice of an “astronaut Snoopy” came from the desire to use a symbol well known by the greater public. Charles M. Schulz was honored by the idea, given his  personal support of the U.S. space program, so he drew the pin and agreed to let NASA use “Snoopy the Astronaut” at no cost.

According to NASA, employees to be considered for a Silver Snoopy award are those who have satisfied one or more of the following criteria:

  • Significantly contributed beyond their normal work requirements to the development and implementation of human spaceflight programs while ensuring quality and safety.
  • Accomplished single specific achievements that have had significant impact on attainment of a particular human spaceflight program goal while ensuring quality and safety.
  • Contributed to a major cost saving or a series of lesser cost savings pertaining directly to human spaceflight programs.
  • Has been instrumental in developing modifications to human spaceflight mission hardware, software, or materials that increase reliability, efficiency, or performance.
  • Assisted in operational improvements that increase efficiency or performance.
  • Has been a key player in developing a beneficial process improvement of significant magnitude.
  • Contributed significantly beyond fundamental task accountabilities in support of the NASA programs.
  • Sustained quality performance over an extended period of time in support of human spaceflight programs.

William Manha has provided engineering support to the Space Shuttle Payload Safety Review Panel to assure compliance with the hazardous materials containment, pressure  and propulsion systems compliance with shuttle and International Space Station payload safety requirements since 1999. He is co-author of Safety Design for Space Systems.

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