LeRoy Cain – Flight Director on STS-114 – has been promoted to become the director of all launch integration activities for the Space Shuttle fleet at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, NASA announced today.
Cain replaces astronaut Gregory C. Johnson, who will return to Houston’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).
In his new role, Cain will assist with the overall management, integration and operations of the Space Shuttle Program and will define launch integration requirements between the Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs. He will report directly to Space Shuttle Program manager Wayne Hale.
‘LeRoy has demonstrated excellent skills in management of complex programs under very dynamic situations,’ Hale said. ‘He steps into Greg’s role and assumes additional duties at a critical time when the shuttle program must hold up its corner of the new exploration initiative.’
Cain successfully served as flight director on Discovery’s Return to Flight, showing a visible sigh of relief when Commander Eileen Collins confirmed Discovery’s wheel stop upon landing at Edwards Air Force base in August.
His relief was notable given his last mission on which he served as flight director was on the previous Shuttle flight – STS-107.
On that occasion Cain suffered the grief of losing Columbia and her crew of seven on re-entry, confirming to those listening in on the flight loop that the Orbiter had been lost when he gave the call ‘Lock the doors.’ – a command to his controllers to protect all data on their consoles in an emergency contingency protocol.
After graduation from Iowa State University in 1988, Cain joined the Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems Section at JSC. He was selected to be a flight director in 1998 and worked 16 shuttle flights – six as ascent flight director and eight as entry flight director.