Spaceflight Now

STS-114 Mission Specialist 5
Charles J. Camarda
Posted: December 19, 2004

Credit: NASA
PERSONAL DATA: Born May 8, 1952, in Queens, New York. Married to Melinda Miller. Together, they have a total of four children. Charlie enjoys racquetball, running, and weightlifting. His parents, Ray and Jack Camarda, reside in Queens, New York.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, Jamaica, New York, in 1970; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1974; a master of science degree in engineering science from George Washington University in 1980; and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990.

ORGANIZATIONS: Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

AWARDS: NASA Certificates of Recognition (12); Sustained Superior Performance Awards (2); Special Achievement Awards (2); Technology Commercialization Awards (2); Space Station Program Team Excellence Award; NASA Group Achievement Award; NASA Superior Accomplishment Award; NASA Honor Award; Research and Development 100 Award from Industrial Research Magazine for one of the top 100 technical innovations in 1983 - A Heat-Pipe-Cooled Sandwich Panel.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Upon completing his B.S. degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, Camarda began work for NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, in 1974. He was a research scientist in the Thermal Structures Branch of the Structures and Materials Division and was responsible for demonstrating the feasibility of a heat-pipe-cooled leading edge for Space Shuttle by analysis, laboratory experiments, and aerothermal testing in Langley's 8-foot High Temperature Tunnel. He conducted analytical and experimental research in heat pipes, structural mechanics and dynamics, heat transfer, and numerical optimization for aircraft, spacecraft, and space launch vehicles.

While at Langley, Camarda earned his masters' degree from George Washington University in Engineering Science with emphasis on mechanics of composite structures at elevated temperature and his doctorate degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with emphasis on the development of advanced modal methods for efficiently predicting transient thermal and structural performance.

In 1989, Camarda was selected to lead the Structures and Materials Technology Maturation Team for the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) program, which was responsible for maturing materials and structures technologies necessary to enable the development of an airbreathing hypersonic vehicle capable of horizontal take-off to orbit.

Camarda was selected to head the Thermal Structures Branch (TSB) in 1994 with responsibility for a research engineering staff, two major focused programs (the high-speed research (HSR) and reusable launch vehicle (RLV) programs), and several structural test facilities including the Thermal Structures Laboratory. Some of the primary responsibilities of the TSB are the development of durable, lightweight metallic thermal protection systems (TPS), advanced leading edges for hypersonic vehicles using carbon carbon material and heat pipes, reusable cryogenic tank systems, and graphite-composite primary structure for RLV.

Camarda has received over 21 NASA awards for technical innovations and accomplishments. He also received a Research and Development 100 award from Industrial Research Magazine for one of the top 100 technical innovations of 1983 entitled "Heat-Pipe-Cooled Sandwich Panel." He holds 7 patents.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Dr. Camarda reported to the NASA Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch. More recently he served as Expedition-8 back-up crew. Camarda is currently assigned to the crew of STS-114. He will serve as MS-5 on the Return To Flight mission during which the crew will test and evaluate new procedures for flight safety and Shuttle inspection and repair techniques.