|Mr. Cristofano is the Payload Carriers Program Manager. He reports to the Director of the Kennedy Space Center. Mr. Cristofano has held this position since February, 1994. In this capacity he is responsible for the overall management of the KSC Payload Processing and Support, Spacelab, Hitchhiker, Flight Support Systems, and Get Away Special Programs.
Mr. Cristofano was born in Canton, Ohio, on January 5, 1934, and grew up on Long Island, New York. He entered the United States Air Force directly from high school and served honorably from August 1952 to August 1956. After completing his military service, Mr. Cristofano attended California Polytechnic State University and graduated in March 1961 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He continued his education while working for NASA and in 1973 completed a Master of Science Degree in Systems Management at Florida Institute of Technology. Later in his career he completed a fellowship at MIT in the Advanced Study Program.
Mr. Cristofano began his aerospace career in April 1961 as a test engineer at Boeing's Hazardous Test Site, Marysville, Washington. His primary duties were in research and development testing of cryogenic fluids as rocket propel- lants. He was transferred to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1963, to help develop the Saturn V Booster and its static fire test stands. In 1965, Mr. Cristofano accepted a position as Lead Fuel Cell Test Engineer with North American Aviation, Downey, California. His primary responsibilities included Apollo Spacecraft final acceptance testing prior to its shipment to the launch site.
Mr. Cristofano’s career as a NASA employee began in 1966 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. His first assignment was as a propulsion engineer in the Launch Vehicle Operations Directorate for the Saturn V/Apollo Program. He remained as a member of the launch team through the successful com- pletion of the Apollo Program - including Skylab and Apollo- Soyuz missions. In 1975, Mr. Cristofano served as the KSC Upper Stages and High Energy Payloads project manager. In this position, he helped develop the first vertical payload processing concepts and facilities for Space Shuttle missions. Mr. Cristofano also worked closely with the Department of Defense in developing the Inertial Upper Stage and with the American and European science communities in integrating high energy spacecraft into the KSC ground processing flow.
In 1983, Mr. Cristofano moved to NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, to support the Shuttle Centaur program, first as a systems engineer and later as Program Manager. Following the Challenger accident in 1986, Mr. Cristofano headed a team to develop alternate methods to launch the high energy planetary missions such as Galileo, Ulysses, and Magellan. A plan was baselined with all missions successfully launched. In 1986 he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service.
In September 1987, Mr. Cristofano served as the Deputy Director of the Unmanned Launch Vehicles and Upper Stages. In this position he was designated the deputy study manager to develop a mixed fleet concept to satisfy the civil community's space transportation requirements. The study recommendations were accepted and are being used today.
In 1989, Mr. Cristofano served as the Director, Shuttle Carrier Systems Division. In this position, he directed changes in the program to move it from a caretaker status to a fully operational capability. Then in February 1992, Mr. Cristofano was appointed Director, Payload Operations Division. The main objective of this new position was to infuse the Shuttle Carrier Systems and Spacelab program experience into the Space Station operations and utilization planning. Following this assignment, he was designated the Payload Carriers Program Manager and he holds this position at the present time.
Mr. Cristofano’s accomplishments have earned him many notable awards. He received the Presidential Meritorious Executive Award in 1993, the Exceptional Service Award in 1988, the Space Flight Awareness Silver Snoopy Award in 1987, and Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award in 1970.