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Michael Finneran
For release: May 2, 1996
(804) 864-6121
RELEASE NO. 96-032


NASA Langley engineer and Virginia Beach resident Charles J. Camarda is among 35 people that have been chosen for astronaut training.

Camarda will report to Johnson Space Center in Houston on August 12 to begin a period of training and evaluation as a mission specialist. After about a year of training, he and the other astronauts will receive technical assignments within the Astronaut Office to prepare them for shuttle flight assignments.

Camarda is head of NASA Langley's Thermal Structures Branch, whose work includes helping develop and test materials and structures that would be used in the X-33 program, which is developing a next-generation spaceship called the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).

The RLV program teams NASA and industry to produce a lower-cost, quicker-turnaround space vehicle. An RLV would use a single permanent "fuel tank" to fly into space and back without the need for disposable solid-rocket boosters such as those on the space shuttle.

Camarda was born in New York City on May 8, 1952, and earned a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1974. He received a master's degree in engineering science from George Washington University in 1980 and earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990.

This year's astronaut class includes 10 pilots and 25 mission specialists candidates chosen from more than 2,400 applicants. The group is the largest since the first class of space shuttle astronauts, also totaling 35, was named in 1978.

Camarda is available for interviews by calling Michael Finneran in the NASA Langley Office of Public Affairs at (757) 864-6121.


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