Dorothy S. Rasco is perhaps closer to outer space than other URI graduates: She is the manager of the Space Shuttle Business Office for the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Rasco, who earned her BS in civil engineering from URI in 1981, has been with NASA for 25 years. She joined the agency as a civil engineer, designing facilities such as the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory used to train the astronauts in a “weightless” environment.
Since then, she has served in positions of increasing responsibility, and in 2006, was named business manager of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP). She is a key advisor to the SSP manager, sharing program responsibility and accountability for managing an annual budget of more than $3.2 billion and a multi-disciplinary workforce of more than 11,000 civil servants and contractors across the country.
With the decision to retire the Space Shuttle in 2011, Rasco was asked to manage the transition and retirement of this highly complex program. Leading an organization of more than 700 government and contractor employees, Rasco provides strategic guidance, technical management policy, acquisition strategy, budget processes, analysis and assessments, for retiring the Space Shuttle Program.
She was awarded NASA fellowships to the Smith College Management Program and the Harvard Business School Leadership for Senior Executives. Her accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the JSC Certificate of Commendation, JSC and the NASA Group Achievement Awards, the Equal Opportunity Award, Outstanding Performance Award. She has served as vice-president and president of the Asian Pacific American Council, vice president of the board of directors of the JSC Child Care Center, and a member of Senior Executive Service, Society of Women Engineers, the JSC Diversity Council, the JSC Exchange Council, and the National Managers Association.
A native of South Kingstown, she lives with her family in Houston, Texas.