NASA official to discuss Columbia disaster and agency's return to flight

by William G. Gilroy

William F. Readdy, associate administrator of NASA’s Office of Space Flight, will deliver the first talk in the University of Notre Dame’s 2003-04 Distinguished Engineering Lecture Series at 12:50 p.m. Nov. 7 (Friday) in the DeBartolo Hall auditorium. Titled “Engineering Challenges in Human Space Flight: NASA’s Path from Columbia Recovery to Return to Flight,” his talk is free and open to the public.p. During his presentation, Readdy will discuss the engineering challenges of human space flight, its incredible successes and its tragic failures, including Apollo 1 and the Challenger and Columbia shuttles. He also will address the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report and the path NASA has charted for a smarter, stronger and safer flight program.p. A former astronaut and veteran of three space shuttle missions, including commanding a docking mission to the MIR Space Station, Readdy is responsible for the Johnson, Kennedy, Marshall and Stennis Space Centers, as well as for the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Space Communications and Space Launch Vehicles programs.p. Before joining NASA’s space flight office, he was the program manager in charge of upgrading the space shuttle fleet, with special emphasis on advanced technology infusion and path finding for future reusable space launch vehicles. Prior to that, he served as a naval aviator and test pilot in the U.S. Navy and a NASA research pilot and astronaut at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.p. Readdy earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, with honors, from the U.S. Naval Academy and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He also is an associate fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a member of the Association of Space Explorers and the Explorers Club. His honors include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, three NASA Space Flight Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and other unit and service awards.p. The Distinguished Engineering Lecture Series exposes students to engineers who have achieved at the highest levels in their specific fields. Speakers from various disciplines are featured throughout each academic year to give students an overview of the diverse opportunities available in engineering and to provide them with a better understanding of the role of engineering in society and the impact they, as engineers, can have.

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