Local woman key in getting space shuttle to pad

By: Chad Mills Email
By: Chad Mills Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, Friday, March 11, 2011

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.---Under a clear Florida sky, Space Shuttle Endeavour shined under the spotlight as it made its way to the launchpad one final time. Creeping slowly along on a tank-like vehicle known as a crawler, Endeavour departed the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building to begin its 3.4 mile trip.

The person in charge of getting Endeavour to the pad happens to be a local. Her name is Dana Hutcherson, and News 12 spoke with her via Skype.

"My whole family actually lives in the Augusta area and my dad actually went to Evans High School," she said "So we have a lot of ties to the Augusta area."

Dana graduated from both Evans Middle and High School, and some of her fondest memories come from this area. Retired Evans High teacher Henry Quinn had Dana in his Social Studies class back in the nineties.

"Also I had a club that studied space topics after school, and she was always there and always had a great deal of interest in it," he told News 12.

Dana remembers her time in the club.

"That was a lot of fun, getting to do some model rocketry---an early intro into the space atmosphere," she said.

This roll-out will be Dana's last, as the space shuttle program nears its end. Even though many of her coworkers will be laid off soon, Dana says they're still dedicated to making this mission to the International Space Station a success.

"We all are a big family out here---we care deeply about each other," she said "And, you know, we go through the laughter and some of the tears as well."

Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to launch on April 19th at 7:48 p.m. EDT.

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