Augusta woman plays large role in getting Endeavour ready for launch

By: Chad Mills Email
By: Chad Mills Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, May 1, 2011

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL---Space Shuttle Endeavour is on the pad now, but Dana McAlhany-Hutcherson helped get it there.

"We actually oversee all the operations with the Space Shuttle Endeavour," she told News 12.

She's a flow director at Kennedy Space Center, which means she's in charge of getting the shuttle ready for launch and taking care of it once it lands. She happens to have roots in Augusta.

"You know, I have a lot of great memories from being back in Augusta, Georgia. That's where I grew up. That's where my family is," she said.

She went to Evans Middle and High School, where she met Henry Quinn, a social studies teacher who tried to spark her interest in space.

"She was kind of quiet, but when she spoke, she spoke with knowledge," Quinn said.

"He comes down here and visits me a lot, and we have some good times together," said Hutcherson.

Dana lives in Florida now, but her professor, who got Dana involved in a space club at Evans High School, has stayed in touch.

"While we were having supper, we met her about 7 o'clock and she had her Blackberry. And she said, y'all pardon me, but constantly she was checking the Blackberry," said Quinn.

Henry didn't care. Dana's job is pretty important. But this job as Flow Director is likely her last as the shuttle nears its retirement.

"Of course there's a little emotion involved, because this is the last mission for Endeavour," she said.

Dana has another job lined up, but Henry Quinn has a prediction for her future.

"I think a name-plate at the Director of the Kennedy Space Center would be probably where she would like to go," Quinn said.

"We'll see about that," Dana laughed.

Wherever she does end up, Quinn is satisfied.

"It's made it worthwhile. It's made it worthwhile, and I can kind of look and say, well, maybe I did do something," said Quinn.

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