Astronaut Charlie Camarda

uniphi Space Agency

Astronaut, Speaker, Research Engineer, Professor, Senior Executive, Consultant

– United States Astronaut, Retired – Space Shuttle Mission STS-114, the Return-to-Flight Mission following the Columbia Accident. Lead teams to identify the cause of the accident and flew several inventions to aid in on-orbit repair of the Orbiter in the event of another debris strike. Logged 333 hours in space.
– Director of Engineering at JSC who stood up at the Flight Readiness Review of STS-121 and said we should not fly and was immediately reassigned.
– Identified Critical Problem with the RCC wing leading edge of his vehicle post flight, conducted research to prove it was a critical systemic problem and forced the program to stop flying and changeout 12 RCC leading edge panels with similar anomalies.
– 46-Year NASA Veteran, Senior Executive and Advisor for Innovation and Engineering Development
– Author of over 60 technical papers in areas of hypersonic vehicle structures, high-temperature heat pipes, advanced thermal protection systems, composite structures, engineering design, optimization, etc.
– Inventor with over 9 patents and recognition by Industrial Research Magazine for the IR-100 Award for one of the Top Technical Innovations in the United States
– Founder/CEO of The Epic Education Foundation and the Epic Challenge Program to Transform Education and to plug the leaky STEM pipeline
– Created the Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design (ICED) Methodology to rapidly conceive and mature innovative solutions to complex problems

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Dr. Charles Camarda retired from NASA in May 2019, after 45 years of continuous service as a research engineer and technical manager at Langley Research Center (LaRC), an Astronaut and Senior Executive (Director of Engineering) at Johnson Space Center (JSC), and as the Senior Advisor for Innovation and Engineering Development at LaRC.

He was selected as an Astronaut Candidate in 1996 and flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-114, NASA’s Return-to-Flight (RTF) mission immediately following the Columbia disaster. He was responsible for initiating several teams to successfully diagnose the cause of the Columbia tragedy and, in addition, develop an on-orbit, wing leading edge repair capability which was flown on his RTF mission and all successive Shuttle missions until the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Dr. Camarda is a research engineer, an inventor, author, educator, and internationally recognized expert and invited speaker on subjects related to engineering, engineering design, innovation, safety, organizational behavior, and education. He has over 60 technical publications, holds 9 patents, and over 20 national and international awards including: an IR-100 Award for one of the top 100 technical innovations; the NASA Spaceflight Medal, an Exceptional Service Medal; the American Astronautical Society 2006 Flight Achievement Award, and he was inducted into the Air and Space Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Dr. Camarda is the Founder/CEO of the Epic Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation seeking to democratize education for learners at all levels and he is the President of an aerospace nonprofit engineering and education consultancy, Leading Edge Enterprises LLC.

Organizational Involvement Includes:

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) – Associate Fellow
  • Explorers Club – Fellow
  • Association of Space Explorers – Lifetime Member
  • Engineering Academic Advisory Council Member – NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Board Member – iQ4 Software Development Company
  • Adjunct Professorship – NYU, University of South Australia,
  • University of Eastern Finland, University of Texas Arlington

Awards & Honors Includes:

  • Return-to-Flight Award
  • IR – 100 Award
  • NASP Outstanding Performance Award
  • Polytechnic University Sesquicentennial Medal
  • NASA Spaceflight Medal
  • George Washington University President’s Medal
  • American Astronautical Society 2006 Flight Achievement Medal
  • Two NASA Honor Awards – Engineering Achievement Medals
  • NASA Space Act Award
  • George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) Hall of Fame
  • Air and Space Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Hall of Fame
  • Over 21 additional NASA performance and innovation awards

Speaking Topics Include:

General Topics: Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Innovative Engineering Design, Psychological Safety, Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, STEM outreach, Learning Analytics, Safety, and Organizational Transformation

Specific Topics:

  • NASA’s Return-to-Flight Following the Columbia Accident
  • Psychological Safety, Leadership, and Critical Thinking – Lessons Not
  • Learned Following the Columbia Accident
  • Space Shuttle Design and Lessons Learned
  • Transforming Education – Killing Three Birds
  • High-Performing Teams – How to Create, Nurture, and Lead Teams in a Complex World
  • How to Transform a Failing Organization – It’s All About the Culture
  • A New Strategy for Innovative Engineering Design
  • Failure is Not an Option… It’s a Requirement – How to Fail Smart, Fast, Small, Cheap, Early, and Often
  • Rapid Concept Development Using a Research Set-Based Design Approach
  • Epic Challenges – Sustaining Humans in Deep Space, on the Moon, and Mars