John D. Olivas

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NAME: John D. Olivas (Ph.D.)

NASA Astronaut (Mission Specialist Candidate)


PERSONAL DATA: Born May 25, 1966 in North Hollywood , California , but considers El Paso , Texas to be his hometown. Married to the former Marie K. Schwarzkopf, also of El Paso , Texas . They have 3 children. Recreational interests include running, weightlifting, hunting, fishing, surfing, and mountain biking. His parents, Juan and Carmen Olivas, reside in El Paso , Texas . Her parents, Donald and Dorothy Schwarzkopf also reside in El Paso , Texas .


EDUCATION: Graduated from Burges High School , El Paso , Texas , in 1984; received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas-El Paso in 1989; a masters of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston in 1993 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering and materials science from Rice University in 1996.


ORGANIZATIONS: American Society of Materials International (ASM International), Texas Registered Professional Engineer.


AWARDS: Three U.S. Patents (pending); Four NASA Class One Tech Brief Awards (1997 and 1998); Five JPL-California Institute of Technology Novel Technology Report Recognitions (1997 and 1998); Pan American Institute Scholarship Award (1995); NASA ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Award (1995); Rice University Scholarship (1994); Dow Life Saving Award (1992).


EXPERIENCE: After graduating in 1989, Olivas worked until 1994 for the Dow Chemical Company in Freeport , Texas . While there, he was a mechanical/materials engineer responsible for performing equipment stress/failure analysis for the operating facilities. After completing his masters degree in 1993, Olivas pursued his doctorate while supporting engine coating evaluations for C-5 maintenance operations at Kelly Air Force Base. In the Summer of 1995, he supported the Crew and Thermal Systems Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center , evaluating materials for application to the next generation Extravehicular Mobility Unit. Upon completing his doctorate, in the Spring of 1996, he moved to Los Angeles , California , and was offered a senior research engineer position at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena , California . His research included the development of tools and methodologies for nondestructively evaluating microelectronics and structural materials subjected to space environments. He was promoted to Program Manager of the JPL Advanced Interconnect and Manufacturing Assurance Program, aimed at evaluating the reliability and susceptibility of state-of-the-art microelectronics for use in future NASA projects. Additionally, he was the JPL lead for the NASA Safety Reliability and Quality Assurance Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) program investigating applications of NDE to microelectronics applications. Through his career, he has authored and presented numerous papers at technical conferences and in scientific journals and is principal developer of seven inventions.


NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. Astronaut Candidate Training includes orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Olivas is currently assigned technical responsibilities within the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office. He serves as lead for the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator Robot, Mobile Transporter and Mobile Base System.


JUNE 2000