Ive always considered myself a space cadet,” says Jeff Woytach, an aerospace engineer at NASA since 1983 and who also works independently at Space Systems Consulting LLC. He’s on the board of Black River Astronomical Society and shares his galactic love for the universe through outreach.

Growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he lived a few miles up the road from an Apollo flight director, Glynn Lunney. “From the time I was in fifth grade, I would write to him and he would always respond and send me NASA fact sheets, lithographs and publications,” says Woytach, who lives in LaGrange where he can “see a lot of stars.” He still has all of these artifacts, plus a collection at home that has been described by visitors as a cosmic museum.

Lunney’s information helped inform a senior thesis while Woytach was finishing a degree in aerospace engineering at Penn State University.

Woytach has contributed to space agency projects and information systems hardware launches on space shuttles. He also was an ascent trajectory lead for two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellite launches and performs extensive community outreach. The latest includes providing systems engineering support to NASA’s Psyche mission to visit an asteroid believed to be composed of metal.

He has worked on nine pieces of hardware for the International Space Station during his career. And he was the first chief engineer for the development of Space Environments Complex at NASA Glenn’s Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky. SpaceX’s Dragon test occurred there.