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Robert Downing
Robert Downing

Robert Downing, Arcata Associates Chief Engineer on the Research Facilities and Engineering Support Services (RF&ESS) contract at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), was awarded a NASA Exceptional Service Medal at the DFRC Honor Awards ceremony on August 23, 2012.

He received this award for the exceptional design and management of the development and implementation of Dryden's Mission Control Center's data acquisition and processing system called the Western Aeronautical Test Range Next Generation System (WINGS).   This system is instrumental in capturing and processing the data required by scientists and engineers who are conducting aeronautical and space related testing and research projects at the Center. 

"I was very surprised and humbled when I was informed of receiving the award.  The implementation and success of taking the WINGS concept and design to an operational system was truly a team effort that included both Arcata and Government personnel.  Everyone in Code MC (Range Engineering) had a part in this development: system engineers, software engineers, systems engineers, Test Information Engineers, testers and operations," commented Robert Downing.

This award, which must be approved by the NASA Administrator, is based on the following criteria:

  • Sustained performance has made a significant improvement to NASA deliverables, operations, or image;
  • Employee's record of achievements sets a benchmark for others to follow;
  • Substantial improvement to a NASA program that yielded high quality results or improvements;
  • Impact and importance of the employee's services have been instrumental to the past and ongoing success of NASA.

"We congratulate Bob on receiving this great honor.  He has demonstrated an amazing level of dedication and commitment to meeting the evolving needs of NASA DFRC.  He has made a valuable contribution to the success of NASA, and we could not be more proud that he is a part of the Arcata Team," said Tim Wong, Arcata President.

The award was presented by Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., NASA Acting Associate Administrator, and David McBride, NASA DFRC Administrator.