Center Snapshot - John Stadler
Josh and John Stadler. Image above: Josh and John Stadler at Exploration Day at Busch Gardens. John was running the Orion tent.
Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

By: Denise Lineberry 


John Stadler and wife Karen are proud of their children. Their son, Josh, is a senior at Poquoson High School and hopes to study engineering at Virginia Tech, where his father received his master’s in Aerospace Engineering.

Their daughter, Rachel is a freshman at Poquoson High School and also plans to study science and engineering.

Josh and Rachel have attended many "Take our Children to Work Days" at NASA Langley with their father.

"They have always thoroughly enjoyed themselves," Stadler said.

This year, all civil service and contractor employees have the opportunity to bring their daughter, son, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson or neighbor to NASA Langley on Thursday, August 14.

Josh was also able to attend the Exploring with NASA camp this summer and learned even more about the type of work done at NASA Langley. "It was a great program and helped him confirm that he wants to study engineering," Stadler said.

Rachel was able to attend a luncheon with Center Director Lesa Roe for the art calendar contest winners. Rachel accompanied her friend, Jessica Evans. The luncheon was followed by a tour of NASA Langley.

A few years ago, Stadler and his family vacationed in Rome. "It was an amazing place to visit," Stadler said. "You can walk into buildings that are over 2,000 years old, see spectacular works of art in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. Then there is the Colosseum, completed in 70 AD, and built without the use of cranes and backhoes - incredible."

Stadler knows a few things about architecture of a different type.

"Chris Hostetler, Dave Winker and I were the original architects of the CALIPSO Mission. I’m very proud of its success and the science data it is gathering," he said.

In 1983, John Stadler began working at NASA Langley as a co-op. He was hired at Langley in 1985, immediately following his graduation. "I have been here ever since," Stadler said.

Stadler is the chief engineer for the Orion Launch Abort System.

He enjoys his work because "we get to solve unique and technically challenging problems that nobody else has ever solved," Stadler said. "It is particularly satisfying to see data from Earth-observing satellites that you have built being used to better our understanding of the Earth and climate change."

Stadler wanted to be an astronaut from the age of 6. "I even applied when I first started working here at NASA Langley, but my eyesight was not good enough," he said.

But his fascination with space and motivation to be involved in spaceflights progress did not end there.

"I have been very lucky and have worked on a variety of small scientific instruments and satellites through my career, including two instruments that flew on the Space Shuttle and three satellites launched on Delta II launch vehicle," he said.

Stadler added, "Also, working for two years in the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) helped me gain experience and understand the human spaceflight side of NASA."

His career has influenced his children to discover more about science and engineering on their own. Their trips to NASA Langley have developed those interests. And as Stadler explained, "Let’s face it, space is cool."