Bagley alumnus earns prestigious NASA award

July 10, 2017

Bagley College of Engineering alumnus Terry Abel has been awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest recognition the agency bestows to non-government individuals.

NASA honored Abel for his “exceptional dedication to the education of young aerospace professionals by sponsoring, organizing, and participating in activities related to space exploration.” He was presented the award by Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

Abel was one of just 14 people nationally who were awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal, which are given to individuals who demonstrate a level of excellence that makes a profound impact to the success of NASA.

“I’m greatly honored with this prestigious award from NASA,” said Abel. “It represents an area for which I have a great deal of passion: the opportunity to give back and help shape the future generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.”

A member of Lockheed Martin’s Huntsville and Commercial Civil Space team, Abel’s recognition is in large part due to his work as the Education Chair for the Huntsville National Space Club. His leadership has helped impact more than 34,000 students through the awarding of almost $464,000 in scholarships.

NASA goes on to say,

“Mr. Abel demonstrated exceptional dedication to the education of young professionals for the past 33 years as part of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. As Manager and Technical Liaison to the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), he excelled in educational outreach and has served a key role in developing, promoting, and sponsoring the national Human Exploration Rover Challenge and MSFC’s Internship Initiative.”

Abel earned a pair of degrees from Mississippi State: a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1982 and a master’s in mechanical engineering in 1983. He was selected as a Bagley College of Engineering Distinguished Fellow in 2016.

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By: Philip Allison