In continuing our celebration of the great women around us, here’s a story that found its way into my inbox by chance. I was in overwhelming support to post this on our blog as these are the stories I love to hear. These are the stories that stand as reasons on why I took this post. These are the stories that well up my own pride in Women@NASA.
Janice Hall is the director of the Business and Institutional Management Office within the Space Life Sciences Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Since Janice took over management of this office, she has continually worked towards and supported innovative solutions ranging from strategic communication inside and outside our parent organization (Space Life Sciences), to collaboration-focused information systems tools used to improve daily work activities, and Open Source technology applied to cross-organizational collaborative engineering and life sciences solutions. Through it all, Janice has been more than a manager – she has led her employees by example, embracing appropriate changes in work and communication, and always keeping an eye out for ways to do more with the resources available.
The most recent of these collaborative projects started with the Spring 2011 Innovation & Inclusion Team’s Innovation Charge Account proposal competition. Janice partnered her Space Life Sciences resources together with Nick Skytland’s Open Government Initiative team to submit a proposal for the JSC CIO’s ICA competition, which won one of the charge accounts to fund innovative projects. Over the course of the summer, members of her team and Nick’s team worked together to develop a Liquid Galaxy system, demonstrating the collaboration between NASA and Google for utilization of earth observation data in an immersive wrap-around environment. The initial goal of the project, to demonstrate the immersive capabilities of an open source clustered computing solution, were met with great success. The project was completed in time for the final outbrief presentations in September, and was requested by JSC Senior Management to be put on display in Building 1 from the end of October through the middle of January.
Beyond the initial activities of this project, Janice continued to support collaboration with Nick’s team, taking the functionality of the Liquid Galaxy exhibit to the next level. Discussions emerged for potential collaboration with various public and private organizations: Space Center Houston; NASA’s own Goddard, Glenn, and Langley Research Centers as well as NASA Headquarters; and the Pentagon. Several groups within Johnson Space Center have also requested collaborations on Liquid Galaxy or related technology spin-off projects: including Engineering Directorate’s robotics, telemetry, and future vehicle design groups; and Center Operation Directorate’s Emergency Operations Center and Dispatch Center groups. Based on collaboration with ongoing Engineering Directorate projects, several Liquid Galaxy systems in and around Johnson Space Center have been adapted to run new software, including the Mars Rover Simulator, the Habitat Demonstration Unit virtual environment, and International Space Station assembly timeline movie to name just a few.
This project has provided an inexpensive solution in the tens of thousands of dollars for many projects that used to require hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to achieve similar results. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of open source architecture for collaboration and utilization. None of this would have been possible without Janice Hall’s keen leadership and desire to pursue innovative solutions for business and technology uses.