Atlanta, February 10, 2006 Engineering consulting firm SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI) announces that astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao has joined the firm as an affiliate and technical advisor. Dr. Chiao will assist both the Advanced Concepts and Engineering Economic divisions of SEI on a non-exclusive basis. His general expertise of American and Russian space technologies and operating processes will assist in the firm's designs of future space exploration concepts and associated research on the commercialization of space.
"Dr. Chiao's extensive space flight experience will support SEI in envisioning the future direction of space, both in terms of new advanced concepts and the potential pivotal role of emerging, entrepreneurial space companies," said Mr. A.C. Charania, Senior Futurist of SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. "We are pleased to be able to call Dr. Chiao a valuable colleague, for both his practical capabilities and engaging experience."
Astronaut Leroy Chiao (or Jiao Lizhong in Chinese pinyin), Ph.D. recently left NASA following a successful fifteen-year career with the agency. A veteran of four space missions, Dr. Chiao most recently served as Commander of Expedition 10 aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He has logged over 229 days in space - over 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA, or spacewalks). A native English speaker, Dr. Chiao also speaks Russian and Mandarin Chinese. He has worked closely with Japanese, Russian, and European astronauts and their affiliated space agencies. He is a specialist in all facets of US and Russian EVA hardware and operations, and is EVA-certified in US and Russian spacesuits, tools, and training programs. A fully trained Space Shuttle Mission Specialist and Space Station Commander, Dr. Chiao is also a fully-certified copilot of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
After being selected as a NASA astronaut in 1990, Dr. Chiao flew his first mission aboard STS-65 Columbia, on July 8th, 1994, becoming the 196th NASA Astronaut to fly in space and the 311th human in space. On STS-72 aboard the Endeavour in January of 1996, Dr. Chiao became the first Asian-American and ethnic Chinese to perform a spacewalk. On STS-92 aboard Discovery, Dr. Chiao was the EVA/Construction Lead for this mission and totaled 13 hours and 16 minutes of EVA time in two space walks. During the 13-day flight, the crew attached the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 to the International Space Station (ISS) using Discovery's robotic arm and performed four space walks to configure these elements.
Dr. Chiao was the Commander and NASA Science Officer of the 10th mission to the International Space Station. Expedition-10 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz TMA-5 on October 14, 2004 and docked with the ISS on October 15, 2004. During his six and a half month stay aboard the station, Dr. Chiao performed numerous tasks including 20 science experiments and two repair and installation space walks, using the Russian "Orlan" space suit, totaling almost 10 hours of EVA time on this flight. During this mission, Dr. Chiao also became the first person to ever cast a vote from space in a United States presidential election. Expedition-10 concluded its successful mission on April 24, 2005 with a safe landing in Kazakhstan. With this mission, Dr. Chiao became the first Asian-American and ethnic Chinese Mission Commander.
Leroy Chiao earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1987, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and joined the Hexcel Corporation in Dublin, California. He worked for Hexcel until 1989, during which time he was involved in process, manufacturing, and engineering research on advanced aerospace materials. He worked on a joint NASA-JPL/Hexcel project to develop an optically correct, polymer composite precision segment reflector, for future space telescopes. He also worked on cure modeling and finite-element analysis. In January of 1989 Dr. Chiao joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, where he was involved in processing research for fabrication of filament-wound and thick-section aerospace composites, where he developed and demonstrated a mechanistic cure model for graphite fiber/epoxy composite material. An instrument-rated pilot, Dr. Chiao has logged over 2,600 flight hours in a variety of aircraft and spacecraft.
More information can be found at the SEI website: www.sei.aero.