8th Annual Outstanding Electrical & Computer Engineer Awards

"The goal - improve life on earth. The dream - step beyond our home planet. Creativity, leadership, ethics and motivation pave the road."

David A. Wolf, M.D.

Astronaut
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

David A. Wolf is the most recent ECE alumnus to go into space. Following graduation from Purdue in 1978, Wolf enrolled in Indiana University Medical School, became a flight surgeon for the Indiana Air National Guard and logged more than 500 hours aboard the F-4. He received his medical degree in 1982 and in 1983 accepted a position at the Johnson Space Center. He applied for astronaut training in 1984, 1985, and 1987, all without success. While earth-bound, he was involved in constructing a bio-reactor for culturing human tissue outside the body. He submitted his fourth application for astronaut training in 1989 and was officially admitted in 1990. He spent a year in training at the Johnson Space Center, learned to fly a supersonic jet, and studied shuttle systems ranging from life support to navigation.

In 1993 he participated in a 14-day space shuttle mission which was recognized as the most successful spacelab flight yet flown. On this mission he served as crew medic, designated spacewalker, and maintenance man for the Life Sciences Module. His major project was a study of how the human body adapts to zero gravity. More recently he spent a four-month tour on board the Space Station Mir conducting scientific experiments on tissue growth and applying his engineering education to help repair the Russian craft during a spacewalk.

Wolf holds 13 U.S. patents for tissue engineering technology. He received the NASA Outstanding Engineering Achievement Medal in 1990 and was named NASA inventor of the year in 1992.