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For release: 03/04/04
Release #: 04-030  

John Chapman named chief engineer of the Space Transportation Directorate at NASA's Marshall Center

Photo description: Chapman

John S. Chapman has been appointed chief engineer for NASA's Space Transportation Directorate at the Marshall Center, where he will be responsible for the engineering and technical aspects of the directorate's activities, including advanced propulsion and vehicle system research and design. Chapman also has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service, the personnel system that covers most top managerial, supervisory and policy positions in the federal government.

Photo: Chapman (NASA/MSFC)


John S. Chapman has been named chief engineer of the Space Transportation Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville , Ala. The directorate is responsible for the development of advanced space transportation, launch vehicle systems and propulsion systems, including Earth-to-orbit and in-space propulsion technologies, and provides propulsion and engineering expertise to NASA's Space Shuttle program.

In assuming this new position, Chapman also has been designated to the federal government's Senior Executive Service — the personnel system that covers most of the top managerial, supervisory and policy positions in the executive branch.

Chapman will be responsible for all engineering and technical aspects of the directorate's activities, including new propulsion and vehicle systems, propulsion research and vehicle systems analysis and design. He also will be responsible for tracking the technical performance of the directorate's project activities, including system reliability and system component design and construction.

"I am excited to be working the technical aspects of current and future space transportation and propulsion systems," Chapman said. "The technologies NASA is researching and developing within the Space Transportation Directorate are the future of space exploration, and could enable us to travel faster and farther throughout our Solar System — and beyond it."

Chapman joined the NASA team in 1980 as an associate engineer responsible for writing computer programs to analyze Solid Rocket Booster hardware. He has held several management positions, including chief engineer for the Booster and deputy project manager for all three 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 Shuttle projects. He has served as technical assistant to the director of the Space Transportation Directorate since October 2001.

Prior to joining NASA, Chapman 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 Project.

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 U.S. Army.

Chapman, who grew up in Spartanburg , S.C. , earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1973 from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta . He has participated in various executive-level training courses, including Harvard University 's "Promoting Innovation and Organizational Change."

Chapman is the co-author of three 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.

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