Banquet Speaker

Dr. John D. “Danny” Olivas is a former NASA astronaut and presently the Special Advisor to the Dean of the College of Engineering and an Adjunct Professor in the department of Metallurgy and Materials Science at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Dr. Olivas is the founder of the Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research which focuses on risk assessment, reduction and mitigation in commercial space flight. The center presently conducts research in the areas of orbital debris monitoring, tracking, modeling and characterization, with UTEP researchers in place at NASA Johnson Space Center. Areas of focus also include hypervelocity impact studies and oxygen enriched studies.

In addition, Dr. Olivas has overseen the loan of over 2000 pounds of artifacts from the Columbia disaster. These artifacts serve as a research base for the continued forensic analysis of the debris, uncovering numerous previously uncharacterized entry environmental effects on common aerospace alloys. These findings have been resourced as part of the present day efforts to return human space flight to American soil, by government and private organizations.