NASA astronaut Charles Camarda, who flew on the space shuttle Discovery in July 2005 and was involved in investigating the 2003 Columbia space shuttle accident, will speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder Feb. 21.

Camarda, now deputy director for advanced projects for NASA’s Safety and Engineering Center at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will talk about his work in helping determine the cause of the Columbia disaster, as well as developing new technologies to ensure the safety of future shuttle flights. His talk, part of the annual K.D. Wood Colloquium Series, will be held at noon in the Discovery Learning Center at CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The talk is free and open to the public. The Discovery Learning Center conference room seats 120, so early arrival is recommended.

Camarda flew on Discovery’s 2005 “return to flight” mission following a two and one-half year hiatus after Columbia broke apart over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003. The crash, which killed all seven astronauts on board including CU-Boulder alumna Kalpana Chawla, is believed to have been caused by a piece of foam insulation that broke off a propellant tank and damaged the left wing of the craft.

Camarda and his fellow astronauts successfully tested several new technologies on the July 2005 mission, which will be discussed during the CU-Boulder talk.

Camarda was born in Queens, N.Y., and received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the Polytechnical Institute of Brooklyn in 1974. He began working at NASA’s Langley Research Center after graduation and received his master’s degree from George Washington University in 1980 and his doctorate in aerospace engineering from Virginia Polytechnical Institute in 1990. He was selected as director of engineering at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in December 2005.

To date, 16 astronaut-alumni from CU-Boulder have flown in space, and a 17th, Steve Swanson, is slated to make his first flight in March 2007.

Contact: Jim Scott, (303) 492-3114 or (303) 818-7495 (cell)