David Wolf - Doctor of Engineering

May 2014  


David Wolf

David Wolf 
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Dr. David Wolf, a 28-year NASA veteran and astronaut, has spent 168 days in space and conducted seven spacewalks over four separate missions including Space Shuttles Columbia, Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavor as well as the International Space Station, Russian Space Station MIR, and Spacelab. Prior to being selected as an astronaut, he led teams producing medical research instrumentation for spaceflight, including novel state of the art technology for three-dimensional tissue engineering. Wolf's initial work at NASA stemmed directly from his research while at Purdue in medical ultrasonics. A medical doctor, electrical engineer, and inventor, Wolf has been awarded 17 U.S. patents, received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal, and was named the NASA Inventor of the Year.  

Wolf served as chief of the Astronaut Office Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Branch for much of the Space Station assembly, leading the team responsible for the development, test, and execution of spacewalks to build the International Space Station (ISS).

As part of the Medical Sciences Division at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Wolf was responsible for development of the American Flight Echocardiograph, utilized in space for investigating cardiovascular physiology in microgravity. He served as chief engineer for design of the Space Station Medical Facility as well as the ‘Space Bioreactor,' a tissue engineering and cancer research biotechnology program. This technology is now utilized on earth for “state of the art” three-dimensional tissue culture. 

Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1990, Wolf became the senior "Spacewalk" instructor astronaut and has conducted spacewalks in both Russian and U.S. spacesuits. Wolf completed cosmonaut training in Star City, Russia, and flew a 128-day "long duration" mission on the Russian Space Station, MIR. The training and mission were conducted in the Russian language and overcame 3 total vehicle power failures, loss of vehicle attitude control, life support system failures, and an airlock failure to repressurize, going on to conduct a full suite of microgravity research and paving the way for the ISS. Consulting at all levels of NASA management, Wolf has been engaged in recovery of the ISS from multiple critical failures, spaceflight strategic policy, and program tactical execution. 

Wolf considers the Hoosier state his home on earth. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he is a graduate of North Central High School, Indiana University (School of Medicine) and Purdue University (School of Engineering). The recipient of awards and special honors from these schools, he has also been granted an honorary doctorate from Indiana University.

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