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SCU Distinguished Engineering Alumni Inducted into the National Invetors Hall of Fame
Frank J. Cepollina, an engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who leads the team responsible for the on-orbit missions that keep NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in peak condition, was one of 17 inductees named to the National Inventors Hall of Fame at a formal announcement today in Washington, DC.
The Hall of Fame is the nation's preeminent center for the recognition of invention and creativity. Cepollina was chosen for his pioneering concept of on-orbit satellite servicing by astronauts. Cepollina will be officially inducted into to the Hall of Fame in May.
The inductees named today were chosen "to pay tribute to one of the greatest accomplishments of humankind by recognizing 17 inventors whose ideas have advanced the fields of aviation and science," according to the announcement by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "From developing airplanes that fly non-stop around the world, to jets that travel faster than the speed of sound, and rockets that can launch us into space, this year's inductees have left their mark on the past 100 years of flight, exploring new frontiers in the world around us."
After leading the world's first orbiting repair mission in 1984, as well as several other astronaut-assisted service calls, Cepollina orchestrated the historic 1993 repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. He led three subsequent Hubble servicing missions, which added powerful new cameras and science instruments. Now he is preparing for the next mission to Hubble, currently scheduled for late 2004, which will equip the telescope with even more advanced capabilities.
Cepollina's involvement with Hubble dates back to the mid-1970s, when he contributed to the telescope's modular instrument design, as well as its scientific command and control subsystem. Later, as Satellite Servicing Project Manager, he directed the design of the generic servicing platforms and instrument carriers that would be used on Hubble and many other NASA spacecraft. He has been involved in designing Hubble's astronaut interfaces and power tools since the inception of the program.
As manager of the Hubble Space Telescope Development Project, Cepollina leads the on-orbit missions that keep Hubble in peak condition throughout its 20-year lifetime. Located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Cepollina is also responsible for developing all the new science instruments and replacement hardware that keep Hubble on the cutting edge of technology throughout its long life.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Akron, Ohio, was founded to celebrate the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of great inventors. The hall is dedicated to the individuals who have brought about technological advances that have greatly increased the general welfare of society. Founded in 1973 and sponsored by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the National Inventors Hall of Fame honors the women and men responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social, and economic progress possible.
The Hall of Fame's goals include inspiring people of all ages to use knowledge in creative ways to solve problems, creating positive changes that encourage under-represented populations to succeed in science and technology, and encouraging participatory, engaging methods of teaching science, technology, and creativity as the foundation for invention.
Cepollina's many other prestigious awards include NASA's Exceptional Achievement Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the National Space Club Eagle Manned Mission Success Award. In April 1995, he received the University of Santa Clara Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award and was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society as an Eminent Engineer. He was named a finalist for the 1997 Design News Engineer of the Year Award. In February 2000, he was awarded NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's highest honor for mission success, the Robert C. Baumann Memorial
He and his wife Ann have four children, one deceased, and seven grandchildren.