APL Colloquium

May 24, 2004

Colloquium Topic: The Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation – A Member’s Perspective

Following the accident that involved the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia last year, NASA initiated a technical investigation. Commander Johnny Wolfe from the Navy's Strategic Systems Programs was a member of the investigation team. He will present an in-depth look at what goes into a technical investigation of this magnitude and the events, decisions and findings -- both technical and programmatic -- that preceded the shuttle catastrophe on February 1, 2003.

Colloquium Speaker: CDR Johnny R. Wolfe Jr.

CDR Johnny R. Wolfe Jr., USN received his Bachelor's degree in Marine Systems Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, and a Master's degree in Applied Physics from the Naval Postgraduate School. He made five strategic deterrent patrols aboard the USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN 644) while serving as the Assistant Weapons Officer, and he has served as the Lead Systems Engineer on the Ballistic Missile Defense Office (BMDO) joint skunkworks project run by the USAF at Kirtland AFB. In 1996, he was assigned the duties of Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) Liaison to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (C4I) where he served as the Assistant for Submarine Communications and Special Operations communications integration. CDR Wolfe assumed the duties of Assistant Head, Missile Engineering Section in December of 1998. In July 2000, he was assigned to the Program Management Office, Strategic Systems Programs (PMOSSP), Sunnyvale, CA, where he served as the Head, Technical Division through September 2003. During this tour, he was assigned additional temporary duties as a technical investigator for the Columbia Accident Investigation Board where he served as the lead for foam loss testing and on orbit impact analysis. In October 2003, CDR Wolfe returned to SSP Headquarters and assumed the duties of Deputy Chief Engineer for the program. In April of this year, CDR Wolfe assumed the duties of Branch Head, Fire Control and Guidance.