NASA’s IV&V program under new leadership, just before showing the latest work on the James Webb Space Telescope

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Longtime program director Greg Blaney is retiring after 12 years with the NASA Independent Verification and Validation program at Fairmont.

Greg Blaney (NASA IV&V)

The program doubled in size and broadened its expertise during Blaney’s time as director.

Looking back, Blaney said the highlight was meeting Katherine Johnson. The NASA IV&V facility was named in Johnson’s honor years ago to honor his career on the National Aeronautics and NASA Advisory Committee.

“Katherine Johnson exemplified what a good person at NASA does. They do their job, they do it with excellence and they don’t care about fame or glory, ”said Blaney.

He also said he was proud that NASA didn’t lose a mission because of the software during his tenure as director.

“I think NASA’s IV&V program is now recognized as a national asset,” said Blaney. “I think it’s the best IV&V program in the federal government… it’s hard to believe NASA has a gem like the IV&V program sitting here in West Virginia.”

Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility at Fairmont (Image WBOY)

Blaney thinks the program is in good hands with new director Wes Deadrick.

“I kind of feel like Wes is my son… I think he’s going to be able to level up, maintain it and even make it grow,” Blaney said.

Wes Deadrick (NASA IV&V)

Deadrick has been part of the program for almost 20 years. He started out as an intern and has held several management positions since then.

“Greg has had a very firm hand on the pillar over the past 10 years and I hope I can do the same and help ensure the stability of our workforce, but at the same time help us continue to grow and progress and provide excellent service to the agency. ”

Deadrick is ready to take on new challenges and is also ready to take ongoing projects forward.

“Positioning ourselves for the future of work is going to be something that we must continue to work on, on a daily basis. Obviously with covid the whole working environment has changed over the past couple of years and I hope what I’m looking forward to is being able to be a leader they can look to and be someone they see as an entity that helps them and helps them be successful in their jobs, ”Deadrick said.

He is particularly eager to find ways for the program to increase its role in missions beyond simple software.

Deadrick also mentioned additional support for his education outreach program. The West Virginia native said he knows what it was like not to have all the resources and opportunities that larger areas have and believes their educational program is doing well in bringing them to West Virginia.

“It also helps us train future members of our workforce. We love to hire people from the state of West Virginia. West Virginia is some of the hardest working people I have ever seen, ”said Deadrick.

Blaney said the education awareness program was instrumental in bringing robotics to schools, which is now considered a sport. This same awareness program was introduced in the June Harless Hall of Fame for their academic support to the State.

NASA and West Virginia University logos (Image WBOY)

Since 1993, the IV&V program has contributed to the safety and success of NASA’s most publicized missions by ensuring that the software works properly.

The latest exhibit of NASA IV&V work is on the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch on Christmas Day. The program has been doing IV&V on the telescope for over 20 years.

“It’s going to change science forever,” Blaney said.

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