First Lieutenant Mark Kurtz, from the 45th Space Wing’s 5th Space Launch Squadron, is this year’s winner of the 2020 Forrest S. McCartney National Defense Space Award. The Forrest S. McCartney Award was named after one of the most influential space leaders we’ve had.
Pictured left from left to right are Colonel Brande H. Walton, Vice Commander, 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida who was the luncheon guest speaker, First Lieutenant Mark Kurtz and Pedro Medelius, Chairman of the National Space Club Florida Committee.
First Lieutenant Mark Kurtz is an Air Force Engineer responsible for all Department of Defense satellites and is currently stationed at the 5th Space Launch Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Mark earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Delaware with a focus in aerodynamics. Mark is certified in all three satellite subsystems (Mechanical, Electrical, and Propulsion), making him a subject matter expert for all National Security Space assets and currently leads an 18 member Mission Assurance team for the next generation Global Positioning Systems (GPS-III) program.
Colonel Brande H. Walton is the Vice Commander, 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, FL. Colonel Walton is responsible for the processing and launching of U.S. government and commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Colonel Walton serves as a Launch Decision Authority with final approval for launches on the Eastern Range, a 15-million-square-mile area supporting an average of 20 launches per year aboard various launch vehicles. She leads more than 15,000 military, DOD civilian and contracted personnel assigned to operating locations in Florida, Ascension, and Airmen deployed worldwide in support of contingency operations overseas.
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