Katie Lynne Cranor
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
Ms. Katie Cranor has been with the Wallops Safety Office for over 4 years. Throughout this time she has demonstrated an outstanding ability to work closely with flight projects to ensure safety requirements and processes are satisfied while helping to facilitate each mission. Katie’s many talents and positive attitude have been highlighted during the current Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) mission from Wanaka, New Zealand, for which she is serving as Mission Range Safety Officer.
The New Zealand mission involves the flight of an unproven, developmental Super Pressure Balloon system with the potential to overfly populated land masses multiple times throughout the 100+ day mission. A traditional balloon flight safety analysis indicated that this mission, if performed using the traditional concept of operations, would exceed NASA’s public safety risk criteria. Without a new flight safety approach, this mission was a NO-GO. Katie has led the development of the new flight safety analysis and operational approach needed to make this mission possible without waiving safety requirements.
The New Zealand mission will be the first time that NASA fully implements the range safety policy that allows application of the public safety risk criteria per distinct phases of flight. Katie worked with the project and the Wallops Safety Office staff to develop the ability to make near-real time public risk assessments for the various flight phases, including balloon launch, float, and decent. Katie developed her own tools to facilitate the public risk assessments and she defined the safety processes to be followed throughout the operation. She did this all with a sensitivity for giving the mission the best opportunity for success. Katie is present with the operational team in New Zealand where she has helped to resolve issues with local businesses and the public at this first-time launch site. She has worked tirelessly with the rest of the operational team to prepare for launch and she will ensure flight safety using the newly developed capabilities.
Katie embraces the “YES-IF” approach to safety with measured flexibility and the inventiveness needed to support unique and challenging missions. She is most deserving of this award.