2002 MAPLD International Conference
Kossiakoff Conference Center
The Johns Hopkins University- Applied Physics Laboratory
11100 Johns Hopkins Road
Laurel, Maryland 20723-6099
September 10-12, 2002
Allan J. McDonald, the Director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time of the Challenger accident, was at a computer console in the Launch Control Center at the Kennedy Space Center, 28 January 1986, on the day of the Challenger launch.
Mr. McDonald will speak on his involvement in attempting to delay the launch of the Challenger and the lessons learned from his experiences with the media, the Presidential Commission and the U.S. Congress investigating the accident.
Mr. McDonald retired as Vice President and Technical Director for Advanced Technology Programs at ATK Thiokol Propulsion in August 2001. Mr. McDonald was the Director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time of the Challenger accident in 1986 and later the Vice President of Engineering for Space Operations during the redesign and requalification of the solid rocket motors in the return to flight program for the U.S. Space Shuttle. He held various engineering and management assignments during his 42-year career at Thiokol.
Mr. McDonald received a BS degree from Montana State University in Chemical Engineering in 1959, an MS degree in Engineering Administration from the University of Utah in 1967, and an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Montana State University in 1986. He is a member of several technical and honorary societies and is a 1992 elected Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is a past-Chairman of the Utah Section of AIAA, the AIAA Solid Rocket Technical Committee, the AIAA Space Transportation Technical Committee and was a member of the International Academy of Astronautics Advanced Propulsion Working Group and the International Astronautics Federation Space Propulsion Committee and Space Transportation Committees. He received numerous awards in recognition of his professional activities, most notably, the Utah Engineer's Council Utah Engineer of the Year and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges selection for the Distinguished Centennial Alumnus of Montana State University in 1987, the NASA Public Service Medal, NASA Astronauts' Silver Snoopy Award, and Design News Special Achievements Awards in 1988, the AIAA Wyld Propulsion Award in 1993, and he was awarded a medal from the Propulsion Commission of the Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics of France in 1996. He is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering and Who's Who in the World. He served on the College of Engineering Advisory Boards for Utah State University and Montana State University, was a member of the External Advisory Board to the Center for Simulation of Advanced Rockets (CSAR) at the University of Illinois and a Director of the Rocky Mountain NASA Space Grant Consortium. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Orbital Technologies Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin and a Distinguished Lecturer for AIAA.
Mr. McDonald has been issued several patents related to solid rocket propulsion and pyrotechnic systems. He has published over 70 technical papers and made numerous presentations to various technical societies and universities. He has authored and/or co-authored papers on solid propulsion systems and technology and environmental issues related to rocket launches that have been presented in the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, Brazil, Russia, and Australia. He has made presentations on the Challenger Accident and redesign of the solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle to many Colleges of Engineering and several AIAA Sections throughout the United States.
Last Revised: February 03, 2010
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