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Tony Cruz

picture of Tony Cruz

Hello! Welcome to the HST Operations Control Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. I'd like to take this opportunity to give you a brief description of my role as a member of the HST Team and a little background that led me to a career in the Aerospace Industry. I joined the HST Team one year before the First Servicing Mission as a Pointing Control Flight System Engineer. My current position is the Pointing Control System (PCS) lead engineer. I am also the supervisor of the Pointing Control, Safing, and Optical Telescope Assembly subsystem engineering groups.

My team of engineers along with the flight controllers are primarily responsible for three things: 1) Ensuring the health and safety of the pointing control subsystem, including the monitoring of flight hardware used for attitude reference and control, 2) Verifying and evaluating the safing system necessary to safeguard the vehicle and science payload, and 3) Ensuring that the optical telescope assembly and fine guidance sensors are performing correctly.

My interest in aerospace can be dated back to when I was a young child growing up in San Diego with my brother and three sisters. I remember the first models my brother and I ever built--Kenny put together a model of the Mercury capsule, and I put together a Gemini capsule. Another thing we liked to do is share in all the fun of building things, even if it meant getting into trouble for using our dad's brand new tools before he even had a chance. Kenny went on to develop his talents in carpentry, and I went on to pursue my interest in aerospace.

When it was time to enter college, I wanted to learn more about how airplanes and spaceships defy gravity. I first attended a community college, where I finished a two-year degree program in Aeronautics and Air Traffic Control. During those two years I also was involved with Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue. I never got to be part of an actual rescue, but I did get to log plenty of flight time in the back seat during training flights.

Instead of going ahead with tackling the pressure of directing airplane traffic, I decided to see if I could handle the pressure of hitting aerospace engineering textbooks. It took me 6 years while working part time, but I finally earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. I was most inspired to finish college by my father, who only had an 8th grade education when he left Guam to join the US NAVY during World War II. While I studied to finish college, he studied to earn his high school diploma. I later went on to obtain my Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Control Systems.

In 1981 I joined Lockheed Missile and Space Co. in Sunnyvale, California, where I have been involved with spacecraft programs throughout my career. In 1993 I welcomed the opportunity to work on my first NASA program on the HST Team. My experience on HST has been very rewarding and a tremendous experience I have been able to share with my wife, Laure, and our three children -- Travis (8), Ford (6), and Taryn (3). As a Cub Scout den leader for the past two years, I have enjoyed sharing first hand HST experiences with young children by taking them on field trips to NASA. Scouting tries to foster a sense of personal achievement for these future scientists and engineers by developing new interests and skills. Most of all, they have fun and get to experience exciting new things.

When I'm not working at NASA or busy with Scout activities, I can usually be found working on one of many fix-it jobs around my house. My three kids make eager assistants. No matter the outcome of the project, they get a lot of satisfaction and reward just being part of the team.

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