Gosport mum’s pride in Nasa engineer at space launch

SO PROUD Ursula Jackson, whose son Kevin, was part of a team at NASA. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132725-1)
SO PROUD Ursula Jackson, whose son Kevin, was part of a team at NASA. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132725-1)

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BLASTING a rocket into space is a dream come true for anyone fascinated with the final frontier.

But Kevin Jackson has gone one step further after designing and building parts of a space freighter before sending into space.

The 54-year-old, from Gosport, is deputy chief engineer on the Cygnus project at Nasa, in Virginia, America.

He helped launch the freighter, designed to replace the shelved space shuttles, on its mission to the International Space Station.

Its cargo of food and other supplies has now been unloaded by astronauts aboard the ISS, which is orbiting the planet.

Kevin has been working on the project for around five years.

He said: ‘It’s been interesting, I’ve worked for five years on the project, from the beginning.

‘So to see it actually come to fruition and get to the space station is amazing.

‘We developed it from basically nothing – just ideas, all the way through to a finished spacecraft and delivering that to orbit.

‘It’s not just the spacecraft, it was the whole rocket development that went side by side with it, so it’s an amazing endeavour.’

Kevin, who worked on the communications for the freighter, grew up in Gosport and went to St Luke’s School, which is now Charter Academy, in Portsmouth.

He is now lives in America, and was in Mission Control at the Nasa facility in Wallop’s Island, Virginia, for the launch.

He moved to America with his wife Melanie and young son Tomas more than 16 years ago.

Kevin’s mum, Ursula Jackson, 80, of Jellicoe Avenue, Alverstoke, Gosport was amazed she could watch him in Mission Control on her laptop.

She said: ‘It was quite emotional, to think I could see him.

‘I did say to him in one email, “why didn’t you wave?”.

‘I could see him sitting in his seat watching everything. He’s happy there, his job’s his hobby.’

Kevin has previously worked for the Postmouth-based satellite firm Astrium.

Mrs Jackson added: ‘He’s always been interested in that kind of thing.’

Cygnus is now on its final leg after arriving at the ISS on September 28 with astronauts now filling it with their rubbish.