Full colour portrait of NASA Astronaut David Wolf.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. Wolf is currently assigned to the crew of STS-127, ISS Assembly Mission 2J/A, that will deliver the Japanese-built Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM-ES) to the International Space Station in June 2009. The mission will include five spacewalks. Dr. Wolf also serves as Chief of the Astronaut Office Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Branch. His team is responsible for development, test, training, and conduct of spacewalks for the International Space Station assembly, maintenance, and emergency repair. As a long term member of the Astronaut Office management team, determining spaceflight strategic policy through tactical mission implementation, his demonstrated leadership reflects heavily in current methodology for spaceflight preparation and execution. Dr. Wolf, and his associated teams, are engaged in engineering and operations development for return to the moon and Mars expedition programs. Performing International negotiations and directing asset allocations, Dr. Wolf is known for innovative solutions, consensus building, team development, and perception of critical trends. Combined with his ability to identify key information, from incomplete data, he is routinely called upon to determine critical courses of action, and determine fiscal priorities, for both technical and management matters. Having been challenged with some of the most difficult situations space has to offer, he is an active mentor, assuring the next generation of spaceflight professionals. As a professional public speaker, and concise communicator, Dr. Wolf is routinely called upon to communicate NASA accomplishment and goals to external institutions. His multidisciplinary experience (science, engineering, medicine) in combination with forward vision, is effective in promoting congressional relations and justifying funding acquisitions. Dr. Wolf places high priority on efforts to inspire this country’s next generation of leaders.
Dr. Wolf has logged 158 days in space over three separate missions, including a long duration stay on the Russian MIR space station. He has conducted 4 spacewalks utilizing both the American and Russian spacesuits logging over 23 hours of extravehicular activity.
In 1983, Dr. Wolf joined the Medical Sciences Division, Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. He was responsible for engineering development and spacecraft avionics integration of the American Flight Echocardiograph for investigating cardiovascular physiology in microgravity. This utilized detailed knowledge of power systems, ultrasonics, video systems, digital design, RF interference isolation, and fabrication methods. Upon completion he was assigned as chief engineer for design of the Space Station medical facility, directly responsible for multidisciplinary team management, requirements definition, system design, spacecraft systems integration, project schedule, functional and safety verification, and budgetary authority. In 1986 he was assigned to direct development of the Space Bioreactor and associated tissue engineering and cancer research applications. This utilized unique gravitational controlled fluid mechanical conditions in combination with molecular biology based bioprocessing
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techniques to achieve enhanced in-vitro tissue engineering technology, now considered “state of the art.” He was responsible for intellectual property positioning to assure private sector utility. This resulted in multiple successful technology transfers resulting in commercial companies, royalty production, and broad availability of this technology for use on Earth. Dr. Wolf built and led this highly diverse team to accomplish unique innovations which are today responsible for important advancements in the emerging field of tissue engineering, and merging it with nano (micro) technology. In addition to applying his particular technical expertise in the design of real time computer process control systems, communications, bioprocessing, physiology, fluid dynamics, and aerospace medicine, Dr. Wolf exercised leadership methods consistent with the most visionary of leading edge multidisciplinary teams. In these roles it has been necessary to overcome incompatibilities between private sector companies, and governmental agency restrictions, to bring about mutually advantageous technology exchange. His demonstrated precise judgment and capacity to appropriately act, often with necessarily incomplete information, is a component distinguishing him for current assignment as an active Astronaut, in a leadership role, responsible for bringing about institutional change to meet evolving demands, within allocated resources.
Selected as a NASA astronaut in January 1990, Dr. Wolf became qualified for space flight in July 1991. His technical assignments have included Orbiter vehicle processing and test at Kennedy Space Center (1991-1992) and spacecraft communications (CAPCOM) (1994-1995). He is expert in Extravehicular Activity (Spacewalk), Spacesuit design, and Rendezvous navigation. Other qualifications include Robotic Manipulator System (Robot Arm) operations, On-orbit systems repair, computer networking, and as Shuttle re-entry flight deck engineer. He was Capsule Communicator for the first (and third) Shuttle-Mir rendezvous, a milestone Space Shuttle achievement.
Dr. Wolf trained and lived at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, in preparation for his long-duration stay aboard Spacecraft Mir. The space mission and training were conducted completely in the Russian language. In addition to achieving mission ready Cosmonaut status, Dr. Wolf served to build international partnerships, contributing critical groundwork for today’s International Space Station Program. This experience was utilized by NASA to optimally incorporate the most advantageous components of the diverse spacecraft programs.
OTHER EXPERIENCE: As a research scientist at the Indianapolis Center for Advanced Research from 1980 to 1983, he developed digital signal and image processing techniques for enhanced medical ultrasonics. This technology applied pulse compression technology producing "state of the art" high-resolution medical ultrasonic images. While at Purdue University, he developed novel doppler signal demodulation techniques, extending the range velocity product limitations, of conventional pulsed doppler systems. He separated honorably, after 17 years with the Indiana Air National Guard, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as a USAF senior flight surgeon (1982-1999). Dr. Wolf has flown in numerous military tactical exercises, as a mission ready weapons systems officer (F4 Phantom, models C, D, E), including several multinational events and two tactical ocean crossings. He has logged over 2000 hours of flight time, is currently qualified in the T-38 Talon, and enjoys flying competition aerobatics in his Christen Eagle experimental biplane.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-112 Atlantis (October 7-18, 2002) was an International Space Station assembly mission during which the crew delivered and installed the 28,000 pound S-1 Truss (first starboard truss) onto the International Space Station (ISS). This provided major components of the International Space Station permanent cooling, communications, and structural components. As lead spacewalker (EV1) he was responsible to lead the EVA team in assuring success of this ambitious on-orbit spacecraft construction activity. Notably, unusual real time adaptability, to overcome a complete Shuttle robotics arm failure, was demonstrated during a critical systems activation spacewalk. He also served as rendezvous navigation specialist, entry flight deck crew, and multiple orbiter sub-system specialist. Mission duration was 10 days, 19 hours, and 58 minutes during which he performed 3 spacewalks totaling approximately 18 hours.
On September 25, 1997, Dr. Wolf launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis, as part of the STS-86 crew, to the Russian Space Station, MIR. He performed on-board spacecraft engineer and scientific research scientist duties on this 128 day mission. Accomplishments include demonstrating advanced microgravity tissue engineering techniques, electromagnetic levitation platform capability, colloid behavior, Radio-tracer studies of altered human erythropoetic function, and human microgravity physiology studies. It was required to recover from multiple failed spacecraft systems, including atmospheric life support, three total power system failures, loss of attitude control, primary computer system failure, humidity separation system loss, and airlock loss. Emergency ingress, from a spacewalk in the Russian ORLAN spacesuit, was required due to airlock hatch failure. The training and mission were conducted in the Russian language. His return to Earth was aboard Shuttle Endeavour (STS-89) on January 31, 1998.
STS-58 Columbia (Oct 16-Nov 1, 1993) was a dedicated Spacelab life sciences research mission (14 days). This spaceflight was a key milestone in a 15 year Academic and Governmental collaboration resulting in an extensive understanding of human physiological adaptation to space and return to Earth. Dr. Wolf was responsible to work along side leading Academic investigators to enable this mission, conduct the flight, and interpret results. The team conducted neurovestibular, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, and musculoskeletal research, revealing fundamental human physiology otherwise masked by earth gravity. This information plays a pivotal role in enabling more extensive human exploration of Space.