Adam A. Frye Sr. (1962 – 2023)

Ken Kohls, Chris Eagan

On June 22nd, 2023 the Chandra family lost one of its most beloved and valued members with the untimely passing of Adam A. Frye Sr. Adam's sudden passing has shaken the Ground Operations Team to its core, and he will be deeply missed.

Adam was born in Dayton, Ohio to Eugene R. and Frances Irene (Doan) Frye. His brother, Eugene Frye Jr., described a young Adam as a person with great curiosity—someone who was always taking things apart and putting them back together. This describes Adam perfectly, even as an adult, as he was constantly tinkering with one contraption or another. After graduating high school in 1980, he spent a few years working in the civilian sector before enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1987. Over eleven years Adam served his country with great honor. During his time on active-duty, Adam would be able to experience two exceptional—and completely different—career fields. For the first half of his service time, Adam was an aircraft maintenance technician; in this role, he would eventually be deployed to the United Kingdom at a remote support base during Operation Desert Storm.

At about the halfway point of his service he took advantage of an opportunity to cross train into a new field for enlisted members. This led him to become a Space Systems Operator, where he initially served at Falcon Air Force Base (now Schriever Space Force Base) outside Colorado Springs, CO. Adam quickly became a major factor in establishing enlisted members as ground and satellite operators. His knowledge, leadership, and commitment to the job elevated him to become one of the first enlisted instructors teaching new recruits to operate some of the most advanced satellite systems in the world. Adam was a key player when the Air Force decided to move the training squadron from Falcon AFB to Vandenberg AFB in California. Not only did the Air Force rely on Adam for logistics in moving the teaching operation to California, but he was also responsible for ensuring instruction in Colorado continued and that there were no gaps in training. While stationed at Vandenberg, Adam would continue to work on and improve the curriculum for the Defense Support Program, the US Air Force's satellite early warning system. His contributions led to the certification of hundreds of satellite operators, ensuring the continued operational capability of the entire constellation of satellites. While performing his duties and raising a family, Adam made a commitment of self-improvement and found the time to earn his BS in Organizational Management from the University of LaVerne.

In 1998, Adam made another bold career move. Deciding to leave active-duty service, he secured a job with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on the Chandra project as a member of the Ground Operations Team. After his certification as an operator, he was quickly moved into the Telemetry Control lead position in 1999. In that position, he would go on to create countless standard operating procedures for the team and set the groundwork for how our operations would be carried out. Adam's dedication to the project and his outstanding leadership earned him the privilege of becoming the Ground Operations Team manager in 2006. Adam was an exceptional manager that was able to find the balance between friendship, mentorship, and leadership. He always provided opportunities and encouragement for the team to continue improving their knowledge and skills to further their careers. One to never have someone else do something he wouldn't do himself, he went on to continue his education, earning his Master's in IT Project Management from Villanova. Adam excelled at working with the diverse groups in the Chandra project. Whether he was talking to an engineer, a scientist, an operator, or an administrator, he was able to work collaboratively with just about anyone.

Adam sitting at a table; his face rests on his right hand, which is in turn supported by his arm on the table. He has a white mustache, thin glasses, and the hints of a smile on his lips.

Adam A. Frye Sr.

During his leisure time, Adam loved cooking, grilling, and spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed his weekends on the Cape, camping, and fixing cars. He was a bit of a handyman that seemed to own every tool in existence.

Adam is survived by his wife Mary E. (Smith) Frye and his children Danielle O'Brien (Nathan), Chelsea McKinney (Raphael), Preston Frye, Hillary States (Kyle), Henry Smith (Selena), and Adam "AJ" Frye, Jr. (Ema). He also leaves behind his grandchildren, Connor, Georgianna, and Frances; his siblings, Eugene Frye, Jr. (Laura) and Debbie Leach (Steve); sisters-in-law Janet Glennon (Michael) and Patty Jardine (Frank); and a plethora of nephews and nieces.

We will miss Adam's strength of character, his wonderful sense of humor, his love of food, and his commitment to his family and to the Chandra mission.