Named Space Shuttle Propulsion Chief Engineer At NASA's
John S. Chapman has been
named Space Shuttle Propulsion Chief Engineer with the Engineering
Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
In the newly created position, Chapman will provide engineering
and technical leadership for the Space Shuttle's propulsion
elements -- the External Tank, the Solid Rocket Boosters and the
Reusable Solid Rocket Motor and the Main Engine - and for the
Propulsion Systems Engineering and Integration Office.
In his position, he will work to ensure close communication
between the projects and endorse sharing solutions and "best"
manufacturing and development practices to improve the technical
depth of the propulsion elements.
The chief engineer position was created in response to the
Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report following the loss of
the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew in February 2003. The
position adds strength to NASA's engineering and safety support and
is part of NASA's effort to improve its culture.
The Engineering Directorate at Marshall provides technical
insight and leadership of all Space Shuttle Propulsion Development
and production activities. It also supplies technical support to a
multitude of International Space Station payloads - cargo - and
Chapman leads a group of 14 engineers, including the chief
engineer for each propulsion element and for the engineering and
integration office. They are accountable for tracking the technical
performance of the Space Shuttle propulsion element activities,
including system reliability and system component design and
Chapman joined the NASA team at the Marshall Center in 1980 as
an engineer responsible for writing computer programs to analyze
Solid Rocket Booster hardware. He has held positions in the Space
Shuttle Program of progressively increasing responsibility,
including chief engineer for the Solid Rocket Booster and deputy
project manager for all three Space Shuttle solid propulsion
projects -- the Booster, the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor and the
Advanced Solid Rocket Motor.
Chapman also has served as deputy project manager for the
Shuttle External Tank Project and business manager for each of the
four Marshall Center Space Shuttle Propulsion elements. In October
2001, he was named technical assistant to the director of
Marshall's Space Transportation Directorate; he became chief
engineer for the directorate in February 2004.
Prior to joining NASA,
Chapman (right) spent almost seven years in private industry.
Working first for Northrop Services and then for D.P. Associates,
both of Huntsville, Chapman performed engineering studies on the
early development phases of the Space Shuttle, including providing
technical and project software for the Solid Rocket Booster
In 1979, he joined Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville,
where he worked in the defense industry field-testing laser-based
missile guidance systems for the US Army.
Chapman is the co-author of seven technical publications. He
also has received numerous NASA honors and awards, including the
NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1988 for his work as business
manager of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project.
The son of Hugh Chapman and the late Jean Chapman, he was reared
in Spartanburg, SC. A graduate of Spartanburg High School, he
earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Georgia
Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 1973.
Chapman currently resides in Madison, AL, with his wife Cindie
and two teenage sons.