Meet Tony Ceccacci

A NASA flight director who has taken Saginaw Valley State University into orbit, spoke to graduates during Commencement exercises on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009.

Tony Ceccacci, a 1979 SVSU engineering graduate, will share his story of not letting doubters stand in the way of achieving one’s dreams. In May 2009, he served as lead flight director for the space shuttle Atlantis mission (STS-125/HST SM4) to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, and he arranged to have an SVSU pennant fly aboard. Ceccacci brought the pennant to campus, where it will be displayed.

Ceccacci has enjoyed an accomplished 28-year career at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. A proud member of the prestigious flight director class of 2000, his responsibilities include the successful management and execution of space flights, and he has served as lead flight director for several NASA missions. During his first mission (STS-121/ULF1.1) as lead flight director in 2006, Ceccacci was responsible for planning the entire mission, including two space walks, and it was executed safely.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from SVSU, Ceccacci began his career as a certification engineer at Ford Motor Company. Within a year, he joined NASA as a propulsion systems engineer responsible for supporting the space transportation system shuttle operations and all associated pre-flight, real-time and post-flight activities.

A native of Eastpointe, Mich., Ceccacci has held various positions within NASA including shuttle flight controller, group leader for the electrical systems and propulsion systems groups, flight test engineer for X-38 Flight Operations Group, and chief of guidance and propulsion system branch. He has been responsible for overseeing the development of mission control teams, mission procedures, crew procedures, and working and flying on a B-52 as flight test engineer and launch panel operator.

During his career, Ceccacci has received numerous awards including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, Group Achievement awards, and Return-to-Flight Award. The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation honored him with a Stellar Award in 2007, citing his “exemplary record leading Mission Control as a shuttle flight director.”

In 2006, the SVSU Alumni Association selected him for its Distinguished Alumni Award, the most prestigious honor SVSU bestows upon one of its graduates.

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Honors

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(above) Ceccacci with a picture taken from the latest Shuttle mission where the astronauts posed with an SVSU pennant. (below) The actual pennant that went into space.