photo of ronald farris

Colonel, United States Air Force & GS-15, NASA (Retired)

B.S. ASE, 1977, The University of Texas at Austin, 
M.S. ASE, 1978, The University of Texas at Austin

Ron Farris, now retired, enjoyed rewarding careers with both NASA and the USAF from 1978-2011. Post-retirement he led teams which operated facilities in Europe and Antarctica and served as mission manager for NASA WB-57 high altitude research flights.

Farris received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Under the tutelage of Dr. Wallace Fowler, Farris developed control algorithms and digital simulations of the space shuttle Remote Manipulator System while in graduate school. He also performed thesis research on shuttle approach/separation trajectories utilizing orbital mechanics to minimize plume impingement on satellites being deployed or retrieved. Upon graduation in 1978, Farris joined the NASA JSC Rendezvous/ProxOps team and refined the trajectories; they were subsequently used throughout the shuttle era. Upon returning from USAF pilot training in 1981, Farris joined the NASA JSC robotics team where he developed techniques and flight-specific procedures to deploy/retrieve the most important payloads of the shuttle era, including Hubble Space Telescope. He worked multiple flights in Mission Control and was present when the Challenger accident occurred. While head of the ExtraVehicular Activities section, his team prepared and successfully executed the initial HST repair mission; for this he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. While at JSC, Farris held positions as Group Lead, Section Head, Deputy Branch Chief, Project Manager and Office Chief.  Additionally, he served as the lone JSC representative on NASA Administrator-chartered review teams for the X-33, X-34 and X-37 programs. The events of 9/11 prompted Ron’s transition from NASA to USAF active duty.

Concurrent with his NASA responsibilities, Farris maintained currency as a USAF pilot eventually accruing ~2800 flight hours in high performance aircraft including the T-38, F-4 and F-16. He served in many capacities including Command Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Command Post Chief, Flight Commander, Director of Training for the Euro-NATO joint pilot training program, Director of Operations leading 450+ USAF instructor pilots flying four aircraft types at six different airbases, Deputy Air Component Coordination Element at Kabul Afghanistan, ISAF Senior Airfield Authority and USAF forces Commander at Kandahar Afghanistan, and senior staff advisor to four separate 4-star USAF MAJCOM commanders. Farris’ military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Unit, and National Defense Service medals.

After retiring from the USAF, Farris led a multi-national team that operated and maintained Morón Airbase, Spain in 2012. He subsequently led the team that operated and maintained McMurdo Station, Antarctica under contract to the National Science Foundation in 2015. In 2016, Farris returned to NASA JSC as a contractor and led efforts to plan, coordinate and execute the POSIDON WB-57 high altitude airborne research mission in Guam.

Farris retired to long-distance hiking, traveling, volunteering and home renovation projects in 2017 and splits time between the Nueces Canyon and Austin areas. His two daughters, Amanda and Lindsay, and two granddaughters, Addyson and Olivia, live near Dallas. He is eagerly anticipating the birth of another granddaughter to spoil this August.