A native of Dublin, Georgia, Dr. Robert Ellerston Shurney served in World War II before earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering from Tennessee State University in 1962.
Shurney came to MSFC in 1962 and was assigned to the Mass Properties Branch. Later, he transferred to the Human Factors, Man/Systems, and Integration Branch. In 1967, he held responsibility for the MSFC Aircraft Zero-G Simulation Program where he worked on the Lunar Roving Vehicle program. Also served as the program manager and coordinator for KC-135 Aircraft Zero-G Simulation Requirements working closely with the Skylab missions, even developing the waste control system for that program. Shurney published several NASA Technical Memorandums and Papers related to microgravity research for national scientific journals.
Throughout his career, Shurney received several awards including the Lunar Flight Award, the Apollo Achievement Award, and the Skylab Achievement Award. He also received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for effective and dedicated coordination and conduct of the MSFC KC-135 Reduced Gravity Program in 1986. In 1986, Shurney also earned a PhD in Physics from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California. After twenty-eight years working with NASA, Shurney retired in 1990.