Astronaut Biography: Danny Olivas
NASA astronaut Danny Olivas poses for an official portrait.
Credit: NASA.

NAME: John D. Olivas (Ph.D., P.E.) "Danny"
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born in North Hollywood, California and raised in El Paso, Texas. Married and has 5 children. Recreational interests include running, weightlifting, hunting, fishing, surfing, and mountain biking.

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

AWARDS: Six U.S. Patents; Four NASA Class One Tech Brief Awards; Five JPL-California Institute of Technology Novel Technology Recognitions; The University of Texas-El Paso Distinguished Alumnus, HENAAC Most Promising Engineer, McDonald's Hispanos Triunfadores Award, NASA ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Award, Dow Life Saving Award.

EXPERIENCE: After graduating with his undergraduate degree, Olivas worked for the Dow Chemical Company as a mechanical/materials engineer responsible for performing equipment stress/failure analysis for the operating facilities.

Upon completing his master's degree, Olivas pursued his doctorate while supporting engine coating evaluations for C-5 maintenance operations at Kelly Air Force Base. He also supported the Crew and Thermal Systems Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center, evaluating materials for application to the next generation space suits.

Upon completing his doctorate, he received a senior research engineer position at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and worked in 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. Throughout his career, he has authored and presented numerous papers at technical conferences and in scientific journals.

NASA EXPERIENCE: NASA selected Olivas in 1998. Astronaut Training included 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.

From 1999 to 2002, he was assigned technical responsibilities within the Robotics Branch as lead for the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator Robot and the Mobile Transporter.

From 2002 to 2005 he was assigned to the EVA Branch and supported the research effort focused on developing materials, tools and techniques to perform on-orbit shuttle repair. In 2006, he served as lead of the Hardware Integration Section of the Space Station Branch, responsible for ensuring proper configuration and integration of future station modules and visiting vehicles.

Olivas is assigned to the crew of STS-117 targeted for launch in 2007. STS-117 will deliver the second starboard truss segment to the International Space Station with the third set of U.S. solar arrays, batteries and associated equipment. Olivas is scheduled to perform two space walks in connection with the deployment of the truss segment.

Last updated: February 2007

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