Senior Drafter for NASA shares his secret for saving weeks of MicroStation work (and provides Super Bowl pick).

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  • “My dream since I was eight was to work at the Space Center,” states Terry Jackson, the sun-tanned Senior Drafter for Space Gateway Support in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He started out in drafting about 30 years ago, straight out of high school. He confesses that “it was the only thing I ever wanted to do.” Since the debut of CAD onto the drafting world, Terry has trained himself on four different programs, including MicroStation, and was later appointed shift supervisor and trainer. Now, aside from being the Senior Drafter, he is the head of the CAD Standards Committee.

    Leon McGovern (Director of Engineering, left) and Terry Jackson (Senior Drafter and Chuck Norris fan).

    MicroStation Today had a chance to get to know Terry better and hear about the exciting projects that he has been a part of, throughout his 20-year CAD journey.

    MicroStation Today: What are your daily duties as the Senior Drafter?
    Terry:: I design, create and maintain CAD Standards and draft construction drawings. I work with 11 drafters in my particular department, but we have approximately 20 MicroStation seats here.

    MST: What have been some of your most memorable projects?
    Terry:: Designing the Launch Control Center, the NASA Headquarters building and the power dispatch center for the Air Force.

    The Launch Control Center project involved designing a conference room that looks out over the firing room (command center where all the launch engineers sit and ensure the launch is successful). The object was to make an area where dignitaries could come and watch a shuttle launch through glass windows overlooking the firing room.

    For the NASA Headquarters building project, we were tasked to design what engineers called “force protection” (due to the events of 9/11). We designed the front of the building and grounds so no vehicle could get close enough to the building with any kind of explosives to do any damage. The offices for the Center’s director and other NASA officials are in that building.
    Lastly, we designed a high-tech power dispatch center for the United States Air Force. There, Air Force personnel monitor everything going on in the Air Force station from one room. It has become quite a showcase as far as power dispatch rooms go.

    Clouds cast shadows as Space Shuttle Atlantis crawls back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. To the left of the VAB is the Launch Control Center, which houses the firing rooms that are used to conduct shuttle launches. Photo: NASA

    MST: How do Axiom tools help you in your work?
    Terry: CellManager has been extremely valuable and it has saved us at least 200 hours in just a couple of months. This tool is great for building and combining cell libraries. It allows you to be able to see any duplicate cells, scale the cells, rename, change weight, change color or change line type. Where it used to take weeks or months to do, it now takes hours or days.

    FileFixer has also saved us a lot of time with just a few files that have been fixed. Due to software conflicts, we were losing levels and getting “end-of-file missing” errors. Because of the complexity of the drawings, it would have taken several weeks to redraw the drawings. Because of FileFixer it only took approximately ten minutes to fix the files.

    We own Microsoft Office Importer and are still incorporating into our procedures. Microsoft Office Importer will save several hundred hours of production time a year once it is fully implemented.

    MST: When was the last time you broke the rules?
    Terry: Last week.

    MST: What is your favorite TV show?
    Terry: “Walker, Texas Ranger”. I love the way [Chuck Norris] fights.

    MST: Who’s your Super Bowl pick for this NFL season?
    Terry: Indianapolis Colts.

    MST: Terry, thank you for your time! We think Chuck kicks some major butt as well. Good luck in your future endeavors!

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